CNC Machine

A CNC machine or a laser cutter machine is an electro-mechanical device that uses programming inputs to manipulate machine shop tools. In short, the machine generates prototypes from a digital file – as a 3D printer would and in layman’s terms it’s just a process that uses computer software to run a machine automatically.

CNC Routers on digital instructions – in the form of Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) or Computer Aided Design (CAD) – to transform stock material products into finished material products. These programs are essential to help the machine fabricate the designs, as while they don’t do the hard work themselves, they do lay out the planning and procedure process.

The Sign-making process.

So, what use are CNC machines to you? Basically, our in house CNC routing and cutting allows us to produce a vast quantity of difference custom pieces, all from a huge selection of high grade materials. Anything from woodworking, to plastic fabrication, to metal fabrication (eg. Aluminium, timber, etc.) is fair game for a high quality CNC machine. This in turn ensures that our signage solutions meet the high-performance, industry lead equipment specifications that can’t be found just anywhere. But don’t trust our word on it, let us walk you through the process a little.

Firstly, we custom make specialised and bespoke engraved signs with our in-house CNC router. The process begins with a two dimensional design ran through CAD software. Within this specialised software we can manipulate and define the shape, size, and layout of different lettering and graphical elements; this results in a finished design for the engraved signs. After that it’s as simple as printing out copies of the finished design with a few test runs to ensure that the layout and size of the finished item meets the clients specifications.

Once the layout has been sorted, we move over to a more physical piece of the process. Programming the CNC machine code to match our specifications – mainly by defining the size and depth of the cutting path – we set the machine off to cut up the shapes required for our design. This is where things like fabricated, 3D, and flat cut lettering comes into play. After that it’s a simple matter of placing the material, clamping it in, and pressing start. The rest is up to the CNC machine. Depending on the design we may have to step in occasionally, sweeping away waste material and the like to prevent an interruptions.

Then, just like that, the CNC machine has done its job. All that’s left is to remove the material, get on with the rest of the signage process, and eventually start sign fitting. Whether that be shop fitting, office signage, POS (Point of Sale) displays, 3D machining, or any number of other applications, the CNC machine is the building blocks of what we do here.

How does it all work?

Multiple tools are used to make the desired cuts. CNC Machines mostly combine these tools into cells that allow the machine to operate. While the more basic, low cost machines move along two different axis, the more advanced and expensive machines will move across 3: the x,y, and z-axis. Another benefit of the higher cost CNC machines is their ability to move rotationally around these axis; this manipulation allows for less user input, and a more fully automated system. This automation is what allows precise cuts that would otherwise be impossible without the aid of a machine.

Now, even after all of this there’s another important distinction that has to be made between CNC machines; Conventional, or Novel? Well, as with most things, the answer is entirely situational. Both require computer based software, both are more precise than their manual counterpart, and both are able to mass produce machine parts. However, novel machines are more geared towards specialisations, utilised for particular parts, and can use different mediums for the actual physical act of cutting.

Conventional technologies are thing like, drills, lathes, or milling machines – the most common CNC machine around. Novel technologies are the electrical/chemical counterpart, like laser cutting machines, oxygen-fuel cutting machines, plasma cutting machines, or even water-jet cutting machines.

In short, the difference lies in the fact that conventional tech is physical, tried, and tested. Whereas novel is technological, new, and specialised.

One of the best features of CNC Machines is also just how versatile they are. No matter the project, CNC Machines offers wide variety of materials, including: wood, fibreglass, foam, plastics, aluminium, copper, brass, steel, and titanium, to name a few.

Invariably, CNC machines are also going to be compared to 3D Printing due to both performing similar tasks. And – as we said previously – the differences are highly situational, taking into account things like cost, complexity, and economic factors. The biggest benefits of CNC machines lie in the sheer variety of materials that can be manipulated to create specific parts and pieces. Almost anything can be used here, whereas only certain materials have been adapted for 3D printing.