Today, CNC lathe training and CNC milling training are each synonymous with a successful career in CNC machining. These two methods are vastly used (and highly valued) in the ever-evolving manufacturing industry – and, as a result, are important steps to launching a CNC operator career.
As manufacturing has become more modern and high-tech, Computer Numeric Control (CNC) has been integrated with a variety of new technologies, processes, and machines. One of these machines is called a CNC lathe. A CNC lathe is used for an array of production processes involving metalwork. Another piece of equipment, called a CNC milling machine, is the most widely used device in the CNC field. Needless to say, anyone pursuing a career in CNC machining today needs to have some fundamental knowledge of, and experience working with, both CNC lathes and mills.
What exactly are CNC lathes and CNC mills? Here, we will break down some of the ins and outs of these machines, why they are so important, and how you can get trained in no time through a reputable CNC machining program.
Computer numerical controlled machinery has truly progressed the manufacturing industry over the years. And like other CNC machines, CNC lathes have become a major part of modern manufacturing today. Thanks to our tech-obsessed world, where everything is being made faster and more efficiently, CNC lathes have replaced older, traditional production lathes, like the multi-spindle. In fact, some view lathes as the only universal CNC machine tool, since a lathe can produce all of the parts needed for another lathe. And, in case you’re wondering what the heck a lathe is – a lathe turns the workpiece in a spindle, while a fixed cutting tool approaches the workpiece to slice chips off of it.
CNC lathes are so versatile, they can be used by many different industries such as aerospace, automotive, electronics, firearm manufacturing, sporting equipment, and more. Some examples of items created with a CNC Lathe include:
- Dining room furniture
- Gun Barrels
- Hockey sticks
- Houseware items like plates & bowls
- Musical instruments
A CNC lathe is designed to use modern versions of carbide tooling and processes. A part can be designed for customization, and the machine’s tool paths are programmed using the CAD or CAM processes. The resulting coded computer file can then be uploaded to the CNC machine, which will automatically produce the desired parts for which it was programmed to design.
CNC milling plays a different, but very important role in manufacturing. The milling process is much like that of drilling and cutting. In fact, it can accomplish many of the same operations performed by cutting and drilling machines. Just like drilling, milling uses a rotating cylindrical cutting tool. But a milling machine cutter is able to move along multiple axes, and can create a variety of shapes, slots, and holes. The machine operator can also move the milling tool in different directions, unlike the single axis motion of a drill.
Nearly every type of material that can be drilled or cut can be machined by a CNC mill, but most of the work it is used for is metal. A CNC mill operator must carefully select the proper machine tools for each material in order to avert potential problems, just as it is with traditional drilling or cutting. One must consider things like the hardness of the work-piece material, and the rotation of the cutting tool, before beginning the machining process.
Anyone interested in pursuing a career with CNC machining will, of course, need to learn how to work these modern machines. The best path to take is by earning your certificate or associate degree from a reputable CNC machining program, like the one at Goodwin College. Because according to a recent survey from the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, on-the-job training is rarely offered in critical, job-specific, technical skills like CNC operation.
Students looking for the right program to launch them into a career in CNC should look for a career-focused college that offers hands-on training with state-of-the-art milling and lathe equipment. This is the best possible way to prepare for work in a real-life manufacturing setting – by practicing it beforehand! If you pursue CNC machining training at Goodwin College (whether at the certificate or degree level), you can expect to receive a combination of classroom instruction and first-hand operation of industry equipment. CNC students can look forward to training on modern CNC 3-axis milling and turning machines. This is vital to gaining the knowledge and machining experience needed to work in the industry upon program completion.
Are you interested in pursuing CNC lathe or milling training in Connecticut? As a leading manufacturing and machining school in Connecticut, Goodwin College has an array of flexible CNC machining programs to meet your needs. Learn more about the CNC operator school at Goodwin College online or call 1-800-889-3282 for more information.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.