CNC Vertical Machining Center

How Does a CNC Machine Work?

Jun 05, 2023

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines have transformed the process of manufacturing intricate and precise components in modern manufacturing.

These sophisticated marvels combine the power of automation, advanced programming, and precision engineering to transform raw materials into finished products with remarkable accuracy. Get ready to explore this technological breakthrough as we take you through the journey of CNC machines. In this article, we will unravel the intricate mechanisms, delve into the programming magic, and uncover the precise steps involved in the operation of these fascinating machines.

Computer Numerical Control

What Is a CNC Machine?


Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines represent a leap into automation, driven by computer systems executing pre-programmed sets of precise instructions, in stark contrast to traditional machinery that relies on manual control through hand wheels, levers, or solely mechanical automation via cams. CNC machines introduce the power of technology to revolutionize the manufacturing process. These advanced machines epitomize the fusion of computer proficiency and mechanical precision, offering enhanced efficiency, accuracy, and versatility in various industries.


Basic Components of a CNC Machine

Basic Components of a CNC Machine

1. Input Devices

The CNC machine relies on specific devices to input the part program for its operation. Among the commonly used input devices are flash disks, compact discs, punch tape readers, magnetic tape readers, and various modern data transfer components. Given that the CNC system operates under the guidance of a specialized control system, effective coordination between the pre-programmed data and the designated system is crucial. This ensures seamless integration and synchronization, allowing the CNC machine to execute tasks accurately and efficiently.


2. The Machining Component

This advanced system possesses remarkable precision and enables the fabrication of final products. It contains both the cutting spindles and the control systems governing the machining components. As an integral element of CNC machine parts, the processing unit operates in accordance with pre-programmed computer-aided control logic.


3. Machine Control Unit

The CNC system lies a pivotal logic control panel of significant importance which comprises a data processing unit (DPU) and a control loop unit (CLU). The DPU element serves the purpose of efficiently receiving and deciphering the programs. After being translated into machine language, the interpolator, situated on the DPU, computes the precise positions of the cutting spindles. Once interpreted, the decoded data is transmitted to the CLU in the form of electrical signals. Subsequently, the machining components of the device are set into motion based on the relayed signals.


4. Machine Tool

Every CNC machine tool is equipped with both a sliding table and a spindle, which collectively oversee the regulation of position and speed. The machine table operates under the control of the X and Y axes, determining its movement in horizontal and vertical directions. Conversely, the spindle is governed by the Z axis, dictating its motion along the vertical axis.


5. Driving System

The driving system of a CNC machine encompasses amplifier circuits, drive motors, and ball lead screws. The MCU (Microcontroller Unit) transmits signals about each axis's position and speed to the amplifier circuits. Subsequently, the control signals are amplified to activate the drive motors. These activated drive motors, in turn, initiate the rotation of the ball lead screw, thereby adjusting the position of the machine table.


6. Feedback System

This system incorporates transducers that serve as sensors, commonly referred to as a measuring system. Within this system, position and speed transducers are employed to constantly monitor the precise position and speed of the cutting tool at any given moment. The MCU receives signals from these transducers and utilizes the disparity between the reference and feedback signals to generate control signals. These control signals are instrumental in rectifying any errors in position and speed, ensuring optimal accuracy and performance.


6. Display Unit


A monitor showcases a CNC machine's programs, commands, and other pertinent data.


So, How Does a CNC Machine Work? 

The Computer Numerical Control machining process starts with CAD software designing the necessary parts. This 3D model acts as the base for calculating the required dimensions and properties of the final product. While some CAD software packages include CAD-CAM solutions, others require the use of designated CAM software. If utilizing CAD and CAM software from the same product family, no file translation is needed. However, if using different software, one must import the CAD file to proceed.

The Computer-Aided Manufacturing software plays a pivotal role in preparing the model for the entire fabrication process. Initially, it thoroughly examines the model to identify and rectify any errors. Subsequently, it generates a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) program that serves as a blueprint for the physical part's fabrication. This program comprises a series of coordinates that guide the cutting head throughout the manufacturing process. The third step entails the selection of appropriate parameters, including cutting speed, voltage, RPM (Revolutions Per Minute), and more.

These parameters are determined based on the part's geometry and the available machinery and tooling. The final step involves the software determining the optimal nesting for parts in relation to the raw materials, which involves checking orientation and placement to minimize waste. After calculating this information, it is translated into M-code and G-code, which are machine-readable instructions that allow the machinery to execute the plan.



What is CNC Machining?

CNC Machining

This process is commonly known as subtractive manufacturing, and this is because the material is eliminated rather than added. The CNC machining process begins with a material in the form of a solid block known as a blank. The CNC machine removes the excess material by utilizing high-speed cutters. This shapes and sculps the blank into the desired finished product. CNC machining encompasses several automated processes, including milling, turning, grinding, routing, drilling, and more.


1. Milling

Milling is an operation characterized by the rotation of a cutting tool. As the milling tool interacts with the workpiece, it efficiently eliminates chips, thereby shaping the material. This versatile fabrication method offers exceptional accuracy and precise tolerances, making it suitable for various materials. Moreover, milling is known for its swiftness, allowing for efficient production times. One of the significant advantages of milling is its capability to fabricate intricate and complex parts, providing manufacturers with tremendous flexibility and versatility in their production processes. Examples of milling CNC machines are;

● CNC Milling Cutting Drilling and Engraving Vertical Machining Center YS-770

● CNC Machining Center Engraving Machining YS-760B

● Engraving and Milling Machine Center CNC Machining Center YS-870A

● CNC Engraving and Milling Machine Center YS-870B

● CNC Horizontal Boring Machining Center YSBD-130/20T

● Horizontal Boring Machining Center CNC Machining Center YSBD-130/8T

2. Turning

Turning, as opposed to milling, represents an operation where the cutting tool is brought into contact with the rotating workpiece to remove small portions of metal, commonly referred to as chips or swarf. This process enables high accuracy, mainly when applied to suitable limits and fits the system. Turning serves as a valuable method for shaping cylindrical components, offering precise control over dimensions and surface finishes.


3. Grinding

CNC grinding machines employ a rotating grinding wheel to eliminate material, aiming to achieve a high-precision finish for metal parts. The primary objective is to attain exceptional surface quality with remarkable accuracy. As a result, grinding is commonly utilized as a finishing operation rather than a means of creating the final piece directly from raw materials.


4. Routing

CNC routers and CNC milling machines share some similarities in their functionality. Both utilize a rotating cutting head as a key component. However, the primary distinction lies in the types of materials they are capable of cutting. Routers excel at cutting softer materials, excluding metals, which do not necessitate extremely precise cuts. This is due to their relatively lower power output compared to milling machines. On the other hand, routers boast higher speed, enabling them to manufacture parts in a shorter timeframe.


5. Drilling

In machining, there is a distinction between milling equipment and drills when it comes to hole production. While milling tools feature cutting edges distributed around the periphery of the cutting head, drills solely rely on the tool's tip to create a hole. The key disparity lies in the cutting mechanism employed by these tools. Milling tools feature cutting edges positioned along the periphery of the cutting head, while drills utilize the tool's tip to bore a hole. Computer numerical control (CNC) drilling machines are widely employed to streamline and enhance the process. These automated systems ensure heightened precision and cost-effectiveness in hole production. Examples of drilling CNC machines;

● Best CNC Drilling & Tapping Center Machine YST-600

● CNC Drilling And Tapping Machine YST-700

● Drilling And Tapping Machining Center YST-800


Advantages of CNC Machines

1. Increased Accuracy

CNC machines have the ability to attain significantly high levels of precision compared to conventional manual machining techniques. This advantage stems from the computerized control of CNC machines, enabling them to execute exact movements with exceptional consistency. As a result, this heightened precision contributes to producing superior-quality goods and mitigating material wastage.


2. Enhanced Personnel Safety

CNC machines separate machinery from human involvement, effectively mitigating potential risks that may arise otherwise. These machines can work autonomously, thereby reducing any accidental incidents to ensure the safety of individuals. In fact, modern CNC machines possess remarkable capabilities, including the ability to switch tools automatically. Even when alterations are required in the design, they can be initiated by simply modifying the software, eliminating the need for direct interaction between humans and machinery.


3. Increased Productivity

CNC machines have higher productivity compared to conventional machining methods. They can operate continuously for extended durations without requiring manual interruption. Moreover, CNC machines can often be programmed to work on multiple parts concurrently, further augmenting overall productivity levels.


Maintaining CNC machines

Despite their intricate and accurate nature (with precision up to 0.0001), CNC machines necessitate simple yet vital maintenance procedures. Any damage to these machines can be a costly error that no workshop can bear. While the entire list of maintenance protocols is lengthy and exhaustive, reviewing and understanding the fundamentals for their proper upkeep is essential. Here are some of the CNC maintenance tips you should focus on;


● Coolant

The rapid movement of tooling in machining processes generates heat, posing a risk to both the parts being machined and the tools themselves. Maintaining appropriate levels and concentrations of coolant to prevent damage and deterioration is crucial. Insufficient coolant can rapidly degrade machined parts and tooling, emphasizing the necessity of proper coolant management.


● Cooling Oils

Spindles operate at high speeds, often exceeding 10,000 RPM, generating heat as a result. However, potential thermal issues can be effectively mitigated by implementing an appropriate cooling system. By ensuring the presence of an efficient cooling mechanism, temperature-related challenges can be easily averted. Additionally, temperature sensors enable prompt detection and notification of abnormal conditions, allowing for timely intervention and maintenance.


● Lubrication

In the majority of machinery, the application of oil or grease is essential to ensure smooth operation. Moving parts tend to become dry and require lubrication to minimize undesirable wear and tear. Similarly, CNC machines necessitate replenishing various fluid levels, including hydraulic fluid. However, excessive fluid consumption indicates that the machine may be encountering an issue warranting attention and investigation.


● Clean Surfaces Often

If left unattended, shop grime accumulates and can pose problems. To maintain a clean and conducive working environment, it is essential to wipe down all surfaces regularly; if left unattended, shop grime can accumulate over time. Maintaining a hygienic and efficient workplace necessitates comprehensive cleansing of all surfaces, encompassing windows, doors, lights, handles, and other applicable areas. By doing so, visibility is ensured, a good grip is maintained, and an overall sense of cleanliness is achieved, promoting an optimal working atmosphere.




CNC machines have revolutionized the manufacturing world with their intricate mechanisms, precise movements, and advanced programming. From the initial digital design to the final product, these machines work in perfect harmony, transforming raw materials into extraordinary creations with astonishing accuracy. As we conclude our expedition into the internal mechanisms of CNC machines, we anticipate having gone through the captivating functions of technology, precision engineering, and creativity that underpin the crucial role of these machines in modern-day manufacturing.


Leave A Message

Leave A Message
If you are interested in our products and want to know more details,please leave a message here,we will reply you as soon as we can.