What is CNC?

CNC Technology quickly explained

Whether in production, training or in the workshop, CNC technology is used everywhere. But what is CNC technology? What does CNC stand stand for and what do CNC machines actually do? We tell you shortly and quickly what CNC machining and G-Code are all about. Because today, CNC technology is no longer used only in CNC production or carpentry but with the DIY CNC router in the living room at home as well.

What does CNC mean?

The abbreviation CNC stands for "Computerized Numercial Control" and describes controlling a machine tool with the help of a computer. CNC technology developed from NC technology, in which machine tools were operated using punch cards in the 1960s. From the mid-1970s on, CNC workpieces could be processed automatically. Thanks to CNC, several axes could now be controlled quickly, accurately and simultaneously. This way, CNC manufacturing made the production of workpieces much more efficient and precise.

In short:

  • Control of a tool machine via the computer
  • Automated processing of workpieces


What are CNC machines?

A CNC machine is a computer-controlled machine tool, such as a CNC router, a CNC lathe or a CNC milling machine. CNC routers can feature up to ten machining axis and are among the most used machine tools around the world. Thus, CNC mills can be found in tool and mold making, as well as in carpentry, woodworking and model making. Depending on the manufacturer and model, CNC machine tools can be equipped with a variety of different CNC accessories. This way, they can be converted into a CNC router, a 3D printer, a laser or a tangential knife.

In short:

  • Computer-controlled tool machines
  • Feature up to ten axis
  • Extendable with CNC accessories

What is G-Code?

G-code is machine language that a machine operator uses to tell a CNC controlled machine how it should move and which tasks it should perform. The G-code consists of a sequence of number-letter combinations. While the G-code for CNC machine tools used to be programmed manually, it is generated mostly exclusively with CAD / CAM programs today. Afterwards, the G-code is read in by the CNC control software and transmitted to the CNC machine.

In short:

  • CNC machine language
  • Tells CNC machine how it should move
  • Is generated with CAD / CAM programs

What are the advantages of CNC?

CNC enhances productivity greatly. A CNC program that has been once been written and saved can always be reloaded and processed. Additionally, the CNC files can be changed quickly and easily. CNC production is not only highly precise, the perfectly accurate results can be reproduced again and again. No matter if individual or serial production, even complex CNC workpieces can be produced efficiently with CNC. In the industry, the workshop, in school or at home.

In short:

  • Highly precise and repeatable results
  • Efficient individual and serial production
  • Even complex workpieces possible

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