How Does a CNC Machine Work?

You might be wondering how does a CNC machine work. Before you can answer this question, you must know what it is, how it is set up and how it works. CNC machines are also referred to as computer numerical control machines (CNCs). They are a great tool for manufacturing various types of parts and are very versatile. Some of them are capable of running lights-out, which means that they can be operated automatically.



A CAM system is a computer program that incorporates machining operations into a CNC program. Typically, this system generates a tool path for a model, which is a series of coordinates for the machine to follow when cutting a material. CAM software will determine which orientation is best for the part and will generate a toolpath accordingly. The CAM system can also identify stock, set initial work coordinates, and specify the material type and tools that will be used.

Direct Numeric Control

One common question people ask about CNC is whether it is possible to run long programs on a DNC machine. DNC machines run programs from their hard drive, and can have a limited program length. Because this is the case, many high-speed CNC machines use special commands. If you are interested in running long programs, you should consider purchasing a CNC machine with long-programming capabilities. However, many CNC machines do not have this option, and you should check with your manufacturer to find out the exact capabilities of your CNC machine.


Programming CNC machines involves the use of G-code, a language that is used to control the movement of a computerized machine. A G-code consists of a list of commands that are used to make a particular piece of hardware. These commands are then used in conjunction with XYZ coordinates to direct the machine to perform specific operations. These commands are usually grouped into blocks called G-codes, each of which specifies an operation to be performed on the machine.

Water jets

CNC machines with water jets can produce a variety of different cuts. One-dimensional water jet cuts are the simplest and most common. Operators feed the workpiece into the cutting tool, which releases water and debris on the opposite side. These water jets can be made with either pure water or an abrasive material. These machines also have the advantage of eliminating the taper typically associated with water jet-cut parts.


Automated process of CNC machine begins with measuring and recording the tool condition. During the machining process, the tool must be within tolerance and the correct tool position is required in the toolchanger. If a tool fails to meet the required tolerance or is out of position, it is locked out from further machining. A report is generated, which lists the amount of tool wear, compensation of three axes in each program, and the number of locked-out tools. It can also show if there are changes to the tools such as short delivery or machine malfunction.

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