What is a CNC?
 
If you’re new to the world of CNC (or computers) then the technical nature of a lot of the information can make it seem like a difficult subject to unlock. In this section of the website we’ll aim to help you understand the basics of CNC

The term “CNC” is a generic term which can be used to describe many types of device, this would include plotters, vinyl cutters, 3D printers, milling machines and others. CNC stands for Computer Numerically Controlled and basically means that the physical movements of the machine are controlled by instructions, such as co-ordinate positions that are generated using a computer.
The term “CNC Machine” is typically used to refer to a device which uses a rotating cutting tool which moves in 3 or more axes (X, Y and Z) to cut-out or carve parts in different types of materials. The information on these pages will focus on what are typically referred to as “CNC Routers” although it would be applicable to most CNC milling and engraving machines too.
The image to the right shows a typical CNC setup with labels for some of the key components and also an indicator showing the 3 axis of movement (X, Y and Z) and their directions in relation to this particular machine. This is just one example and it should be noted there are many other types, sizes, ratios and configurations of CNC too.

What can I make with a CNC?
 
CNC’s are incredibly versatile and allow you to cut a variety of different types of product and materials. The exact abilities of a machine will vary with size, rigidity and power. Typically most CNC Routers can cut soft and hard wood, plastics, other composites and non-ferrous metals.

CNC users range from hobbyists who build their own machines through to large companies with industrial equipment costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. With the right software a CNC can make a huge selection of things, for example Vectric customers use them to make the following:

Signage, custom furniture, plaques, trophies, chocolate & cookie molds, awards, folk-art, toys, wall-hangings, plates & bowls, lithophanes, memorials, cabinets, doors, boxes, clocks, religious carvings, panel goods, architectural millwork & moldings, picture frames, mantels, archways, prototypes, remote control vehicle parts, face plates, heirloom gifts, military awards, education projects, movie & theatre props, coasters, chests, bottle totes, pool cues, rustic carvings and many other applications.
 
What are Laser Cutting Machines?
 
There are some types of laser cutting machines in use today , they are CO2, Fiber, What we are offerring now mainly are CO2 laser and Fiber laser cutting machines. Co2 laser cutting machines were one of the first gas lasers and are the most common variety of laser cutting machine. They offer an excellent power input output ratio, as efficient as 20 percent. Fiber lasers are solid state and use a crystal as a lasing medium. They cut steel and other alloys in the metal working industry.
 
Laser Cutting vs. Mechanical Cutting
 
Laser cutting machines are distinct from traditional mechanical cutters. Since the laser never makes physical contact with materials, there is little to no wear on the equipment, and there is less opportunity for the material to become contaminated. Laser cutting machines also cut metal with higher precision than that of mechanical means.

In mechanical cutting, there is usually a wide heat affected zone that can cause material warping from time to time. Thanks to laser cutting machines, the heat affected zone is kept small, thus reducing the possibility of warped material. Although laser cutting offers numerous advantages, it also consumes a very high level of energy, making it more difficult for a conventional

Benefits of Laser Cutting Machines
 
Laser cutting machines offer a substantial number of benefits for consideration when selecting a cutting device. Besides its advantages over conventional mechanical cutting, laser cutting is a quiet process. Safety is also important and, as a result, most laser machines are fully enclosed to prevent accidents.

Lasers are equipped with computer touch screens, so workers can plot out design alterations for prototypes and large part runs. The lasers progress quickly because of high feed rates and equipment speed. Workers can also cut multiple jobs in one run by storing inventory on site.
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Laser Cutting Machine Considerations
 
While exceptional for cutting non-ferrous, carbon steel, steel, stainless steel, laser cutting machines typically do not function well on highly reflective metals, like copper and aluminum. Since these metals easily reflect the lasers light and also absorb its heat, highly-powered beams are required to cut them.

When piercing, laser cutting machines create slightly tapered holes. due to the hole entry being slightly larger in diameter than the exit.

Since laser cutting melts the material in the beam’s path, metal can harden in the puncture, especially in heat treated material. While this may be beneficial for some applications, this issue can be detrimental to those requiring further work, like threading.

What are Foam Cutting Machines?
 
Grace foam cutter is a computer-controlled device used to cut any shape in expanded and extruded foams. The hot wire moves in the Y and X planes thanks to microstepper motors controlled by the PC. This allows for a great cutting quality and high cutting speeds.

The precise mechanisms and perfect electronic control of motors movement enable the operator to cut any shape, as long as its thickness corresponds with the thickness of the material. There is also the option of designing and cutting a few different outlines of the same project which results in very attractive 3D shapes. Lathe is irreplacable in column cutting and we also designed the CNC router and foam cutting machine combined machine for foam carving and cutting.
 

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