Since we are dealing with machines that do work for us, we need to control those machines somehow. We need to control them for safety reasons as well. If you give a machine improper commands it can easily get out of control and cause harm to you or the part you are machining. We want to give good commands to our CNC machines, at the right times so they are not “out of control”.
The language that these machines use is called GCode G-code has been around since the early 60’s. There are a number of variations of G-code, but most are very similar to one another. See the previous section for a sample of G-Code.
We need a computer to interact with our CNC Router. Our computer will send signals to our CNC machine. In-between our computer and our CNC machine sits a controller. A controller converts commands into signals that are used to control the motion of our machine.
As these signals are sent out of the controller, they go to either stepper or servo motors. This is how we create motion. These cnc motors drive our various axis on our machine. While we are moving our axis, there is generally a cutting tool of some sort removing material. This is the machining process coupled with CNC.
Here is a brief description of the two types of motors generally used in CNC:Stepper motors:Simple designEasyGenerate torque at low rpmDo not know their position in relation to the program
Servo Motors:Generate torque at high RPMsGenerally need gearing of some sort to be effectiveMore sophisticatedCan maintain their relative position, thus, they can be more accurate
CNC Machine ControlsControllers generally stand alone near the CNC machine. They act as a translator between your cnc control computer and your machine. Generally, they add quite a bit of cost to a CNC machine as well. Controllers can cost anywhere from $1000-$20,000 or more depending on their sophistication.
CNC Community Site:If you need more information about CNC, click over to http://www.CNCInformation.com You can join for Free and you get two free CNC ebooks. One is a GCode Quick Guide and the other is the CNC Info Site eBook. You also get access to the Free Video Series…Image to CNC Art when you join the community.