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Hi! An Lee is here.

It’s difficult to get rid of prejudices, however hard we try. We have a lot of different “presets” in our mind, which are placed there by the internet, the words of others, or previous experience. Today, I will discuss myths about CNC machines that people have!

What is CNC

Let’s remind ourselves: what does the term “CNC” mean?

The CNC machine is a computer numerical control machine that uses computer software to regulate the motion and functionality of devices that are capable of cutting, carving, or engraving materials.

The main advantages of CNC machines in comparison with traditional equipment are:

  1. High-precision of work;
  2. Guaranteed repeatability of products;
  3. Ability to process 24/7;
  4. Fast switch from one process to another.

So, what kind of prejudices do we have about this kind of equipment?

Myth 1. The machine is fully automatic

This myth about CNC machines is similar to Ymir. It gave birth to many others.

Some think that the machine is so independent that it will do all the work itself, and all you have to do is turn it on. But that’s not the case.

The machine is not Ymir, and goods won’t appear from it on their own while it sucks electricity from the socket.

You still have to install the material and set the settings. And to set them, you need to think about: what material, what power, and what sequence of actions should the equipment process so it doesn’t ruin the workpiece? However, the machine will give you precision and production speed if you set it up correctly.

Myth 2. Anyone can work with the CNC machine

The first derivative of the previous myth. Since it’s so automatic and smart, anyone can work with it, right? Right?

Partially, yes. Anyone can learn to work with CNC machines. Modern machines have many useful tools: preview, operation time calculation, editors, inductive sensors, and tool sensors. But all of these still remain tools for your more convenient work. A good machine in the hands of an untrained person won’t work wonders because it simply follows commands.

There are also many nuances in material processing that can only be learned through personal experience or by watching videos and reading articles.

Myth 3. It’s easy to work on the CNC machine

Some router machines are quite something. You could spend weeks delving into the variety of milling cutters. And what about a metal cutter? Its operation depends on the working gas selected based on the type of metal you’re cutting, and the pressure is adjusted according to the material thickness. There are many aspects to consider, and you’ll have to learn them all. Assembling and fine-tuning a CO2 laser machine can also be a bit challenging.

CNC certainly simplifies the work, but it doesn’t make it a walk in the park.

Myth 4. CNC machines will replace people

Recently, many people have been in a panic that machines will supplant all of us, and this concern has not spared CNC machines either. But, as we’ve already discussed, it’s clear that this type of equipment is far from completely eliminating the need for human hands.

Myth 5. CNC can do anything

CNC can indeed process nearly all materials. However, not all capabilities will be available in just one machine (unless it costs as much as a rocket). That’s why we have equipment specifically designed for processing non-metals or metals, first and foremost. There are lasers, and there are router machines. There are cutters, and there are markers. Each serves a different purpose.

Ultimately, a specialist deeply knowledgeable in their field is more valued than a “universal” worker with superficial knowledge across all areas. The same applies to machines. Want to cut professionally in both metal and wood? You’ll need to have two machines.

Myth 6. You don’t need to watch the CNC machine

If you step away from the machine while it’s cutting acrylic, and if your settings happen to be wrong, resulting in the acrylic catching fire, what are the chances that, upon smelling smoke, you can extinguish the machine before it sustains significant damage?

I don’t think you’d want to find out the answer to that question.

When working with certain materials, especially those that are easily flammable, it’s crucial not to leave the machine unattended, especially if you’re encountering them for the first time. Sometimes, it’s necessary and even advisable to adjust cutting settings directly during the operation to achieve the most precise results. So don’t leave it alone!

Myth 7. Design limitations

As we often say, the only thing limiting your work is your imagination. Yes, software may have its boundaries or functions it can’t perform, but this should be considered when choosing equipment. Don’t expect a regular CO2 laser cutter to perform super 3D wood cutting. However, you can demand such capabilities from a router with a rotary device!

Some people use machines for creativity! Laser equipment is even used in high-fashion design, where shapes can be extremely intricate. So, a machine isn’t just capable of cutting squares.

Myth 8. It’s environmentally unfriendly

Concerns about environmental impact are valid, but almost any production process will inevitably generate some waste or consume electricity.

CNC laser machines have the wonderful ability to vaporize material at the cutting point. Therefore, the amount of waste generated is significantly less compared to traditional processing methods.

Additionally, CNC machines have features such as automatic nesting of parts on the stock sheet, which helps save material and avoid unnecessary waste.

Myth 9. It’s difficult!

In contrast to the myth that anyone can operate a machine, there’s a belief that CNC equipment is complex (cue any meme like Thanos’s “Impossible!”). However, there are manuals, instructional videos, and training services available to help beginners understand.

Wattsan provides support to its customers and assists them in learning how to operate the equipment. You won’t be left alone with it!

Moreover, thanks to modern technology, many processes are visualized. The interfaces of CNC control software such as Ruida, FScut, EzCad, and others are user-friendly and not overwhelmingly complex.

Myth 10. You’ll have to set it just once!

Nope.

You’ll set up the perfect optical path for your CO2 laser cutter, then you’ll have to clean the mirrors, and the whole setup is thrown off. Time to readjust!

And this point isn’t just about maintaining the machine. Over time, the laser tube will exhaust its lifespan, and its power will diminish. Therefore, you’ll need to adjust the settings for cutting or engraving as usual.

The situation is generally similar with metal cutters or CNC routers. You can save settings that you’ve adjusted for specific materials and load them into the system, but sometimes corrections will be necessary. After all, the same-thickness plywood sheet can be cut differently depending on the batch or supplier.

“Buy a CNC machine,” they said. “It’s easy to use,” they said.

Conclusion

  1. A CNC machine is a computer numerical control machine that uses computer software to regulate the motion and functionality of devices.
  2. The main advantages of a CNC machine over conventional equipment include its high precision in task execution, repeatability of produced items, 24/7 operation capability, and quick switching between projects.
  3. There are a lot of myths about CNC machines, but the majority of them are wrong or just partially true.
  4. Although the machine is automated, that doesn’t mean it will do absolutely everything for you. The CNC machine is primarily a tool.
  5. A lot depends on the operator’s skills, not just the equipment. If you don’t know how to operate the machine effectively, it won’t work wonders.

CNC machines may seem complex, but they’re not. Everything is possible, and with the right determination, you can learn!

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