What is CNC Cutting?
CNC Cutting is a subtractive manufacturing technology that uses computer-controlled tools to remove areas from solid matter. This process is used to selectively cut various materials such as steel, aluminum, wood, and some plastics.
Choosing the Right CNC Cutting Materials
Low Carbon Steel
Low carbon steel is a cost effective, yet strong material that can be easily cut, bent, and welded. Because of its high level of demand, low carbon steel is widely produced, making it a relatively affordable material. The cost effectiveness and excellent mechanical properties allow low carbon steel to be used across a wide range of industries for numerous purposes.
Common applications: outdoor fire pits, automotive parts, and industrial machinery.
Aluminum is a metal with good strength-to-weight ratio, low thermal and electrical conductivity, low density, and natural weather resistance.
Common applications: aerospace, light weight brackets, and marine environments.
Stainless Steel is a metal alloy with high ductility, wear, and corrosion resistance that can be easily welded, polished, and machined.
Common applications: decorative wall art, food production, and automotive parts.
Plywood is a versatile man-made woodworking material. CNC allows for precise plywood cuts which is integral in many applications, such as the construction of furniture.
Common applications: toys, arts & crafts, furniture construction, and interior design.
MDF, or medium-density fibreboard (MDF), is generally denser than plywood which leads to less expansion and contraction.
Common applications: cabinets, shelves, speaker boxes, and decorative art.
Acrylic is a durable, clear form of plastic. It is an extremely versatile product with high machinability and good thermal properties.
Common applications: custom signage, displays, and architectural models.
Choosing the Right Method
CNC Plasma Cutting
A computer-directed plasma torch is used to cut electrically conductive materials.
Strength: Most affordable cutting method
Weakness: Less accuracy compared to laser or waterjet, larger heat affected zone
Related Materials: Steel, aluminum, stainless steel, brass, copper
CNC Laser Cutting
A continuous cut is produced by moving the laser cutting head over the work piece with the use of a CNC gantry system.
Strength: Excellent cut edge quality, can cut a wide variety of materials
Weakness: More expensive than plasma cutting, not capable of cutting thick metals
Related Materials: Steel, Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Plywood, Acrylic
CNC Waterjet Cutting
Waterjet cutting uses an ultra-high pressure stream of water to carry an abrasive grit. The abrasive does the cutting through a mechanical sawing action, leaving a smooth, precision cut surface. Waterjet is the most versatile process, because it is able to cut almost any type of material. However, it is a very slow, expensive process when compared to plasma on most metals.
Strength: Ability to cut almost any material with a quality finish, no heat affected zone
Weakness: Slow production time, more costly compared to other CNC cutting methods
Related Materials: Metals, plastics, ceramics, virtually any material except tempered glass
How It Works
CNC cutting is simple with our easy 3 step process:
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