Aluminum machining is a vital process in several manufacturing industries. It is a process utilized in small, custom projects as well as in large-scale manufacturing. It is helpful to know a little about the different machining methods for aluminum if you are in any manufacturing business.
It is essential to understand that the term CNC, or computer numerical control, does not distinguish the physical action that will occur. It is a term that is used to describe the operating method. It means that the tool is computer numerical controlled versus manually controlled by a human.
This type of machining is capable of producing complex and highly technical results to exact specifications. Computer numerical control eliminates human error found by manually manipulating either the raw material or cutting tool.
The vast majority of aluminum machining that occurs is CNC machining. Many mechanisms are controlled with CNC. Milling, drilling, and turning, are all conducted via CNC machining. There are even horizontal and vertical CNC band-saws. Some CNC machining tools feature a different number of axis, two, three, four, five, or six.
The more axis the machine has, the more mobility it has. For example, in a five and six-axis machine, the table and tool rotate in all directions independently. This means that the part does not have to be taken out and repositioned, eliminating the time it takes to load and recalibrate the part.
An extremely delicate and precise form of aluminum machining is electrical discharge machining or EDM. There are those who do not like to use this machining method on aluminum, as it does not conduct enough electricity. However, it is an available method that has unique applications possibly required in a custom, or very small, aluminum part.
There are numerous methods and applications available when it comes to machining aluminum.
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