CNC (Computer Numeric Control) is a machining method used to manufacture precision parts in a number of different materials such as wood, metal, plastic, glass and so on, unlike the predecessor method, manual joinery, which requires the use of manual tools and methods to achieve the same result.
CNC machining is a popular and preferred method of joinery as it boasts many pros over the dated manual method. This article is here to detail the pros and cons to using a CNC machine and why it is our chosen method of joinery.
Increased accuracy - Using the CNC machine provides a level of precision that cannot be replicated by hand. These machines will consistently provide accurate replicas of any required piece or part without wavering.
Continuous production - Machines, unlike people, can be used continuously without breaks. With the CNC machine, you can produce piece after piece for as long as you desire. This in turn equates to a higher level of efficiency than manual methods.
Safer - A CNC machine requires one person to manage it from a safe distance, resulting in minimal to no accidents and injuries. This a big deal when compared to the hazards of manual joinery.
Cost effective - Although a CNC machine is quite expensive up front, you will be able to save more in the long run due to a high level of accuracy and precision, resulting in less waste. Additionally, a CNC machine only requires a single operator who has had sufficient training - degrees are not required.
Next level technology - CNC machines are able to create complex designs that no manual method could duplicate, thus allowing you to venture out into a multitude of design possibilities.
Initial cost up front - As mentioned above, CNC machines are costly. Having the money to invest in one of these machines may set you back a bit.
Size - CNC machines are big machines. Making sure you have the space before investing in one is vital.
Manual machining takes great skill but with today's technology, it has become much more unreliable, time consuming and essentially, an unnecessary method that companies can't afford to use. Whilst this method is still valuable when crafting one off, bespoke items either as a hobby, or for woodworking, the CNC Machine otherwise trumps the manual method when all factors are considered.