The term numerical control is a widely accepted and commonly used term in the machine tool industry. Numerical control (NC) enables an operator to communicate with machine tools through a series of numbers and symbols.
NC which quickly became Computer Numerical Control (CNC) has brought tremendous changes to the metalworking industry. New machine tools in CNC have enabled industry to consistently produce parts to accuracies undreamed of only a few years ago. The same part can be reproduced to the same degree of accuracy any number of times if the CNC program has been properly prepared and the computer properly programmed. The operating commands which control the machine tool are executed automatically with amazing speed, accuracy, efficiency, and repeatability.
The ever-increasing use of CNC in industry has created a need for personnel who are knowledgeable about and capable of preparing the programs which guide the machine tools to produce parts to the required shape and accuracy. With this in mind, the authors have prepared this textbook to take the mystery out of CNC – to put it into a logical sequence and express it in simple language that everyone can understand.
The milling machine has always been one of the most versatile machine tools used in industry (Fig. 5). Operations such as milling, contouring, gear cutting, drilling, boring, and reaming are only a few of the many operations which can be performed on a milling machine. The milling machine can be programmed on three axes:
• The X axis controls the table movement left or right.
• The Y axis controls the table movement toward or away from the column.
• The Z axis controls the vertical (up or down) movement of the knee or spindle.