What are the Most Common Types of CNC Machines?

Posted by Brad Roberson in CNC Machining and Machining on Mar 30, 2022.

CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining refers to a machine’s programmable feature, allowing the machine to perform numerous functions with minimal human control. CNC machining is a range of subtractive manufacturing processes where material is removed from a workpiece to produce a finished component.

A CNC machine runs on computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software. The CAD software designs the models and assemblies that the CAM software translates into toolpaths and G-code that drive the CNC machine’s tools to turn those designs into physical parts.

Roberson Machine Company has over 20 years of experience operating CNC machines. Get a free quote for your next manufacturing or prototyping project today. Contact us or give us a call at 573-646-3996.

The 5 Most Common Types of CNC Machines

There are five common types of CNC machining services performed by five different types of CNC machines. They are:

  1. CNC Turning Machines/Lathes
  2. CNC turning is a process where material is held in place in a chuck and rotated while a tool removes material to create the desired shape. The CNC lathes or turning machines have tooling mounted on a turret which is computer controlled. The more tools that the turret can hold, the more options that are available for complexities on the part. CNC turning machines and lathes are highly accurate and are repeatable. They can create internal and external features on a component including drilled holes, bores, broaches, reamed holes, slots, tapping, tapers, and threads.

  3. CNC Milling Machines
  4. CNC milling machines use cutters to shape a workpiece. These machines are able to rotate multi-point cutting tools while holding a source material stationery. We utilize multi-axis CNC machining, adding dynamic layers and possibilities to your CNC machining needs. Milling machines are highly accurate and suitable for a wide range of materials — including metal, plastic, glass, and wood — and produce a variety of customized parts and products.

  5. CNC Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM)
  6. EDM involves creating or cutting a specific shape within a certain material using electrical discharges. This electrode-driven process is often referred to as spark erosion. Roberson Machine Company specializes in wire EDM, with the ability to cut any conductive metal.

  7. CNC Laser Machines
  8. Laser machines/engravers are often used for part marking or decoration. The machines utilize a pointed router with a laser to heat material, causing it to melt or vaporize to create a cut.

  9. CNC Plasma Cutting Machines
  10. The process of plasma cutting involves the cutting of material using a plasma torch. These torches can reach up to 50,000 degrees. This method only works with two-dimensional shapes and is most commonly used to cut steel and other forms of metals.

The CNC Machining Process | Roberson Machine Company

All of the most common CNC machines operate off of the same four-step process:

  • Designing a CAD model
  • Using CAM software, converting the CAD model into a CNC program
  • Setting up the CNC machine
  • Executing the particular operation — turning, milling, EDM, lasering, cutting

We built our business on knowing our customers and what they need. If you are looking for a dependable, responsive CNC machining company that delivers on time and within the agreed budget, we have the capability to get the job done no matter the size or speed of your project.

Roberson Machine Company can show you the benefit of using CNC machines, and, better yet, we can show you which machine is best suited for your project. If you want to find out more about us, or if you just want to kick around ideas, give our experienced team a call at 573-646-3996. Contact us here or feel free to request a quote.


Brad Roberson / 

Brad Roberson is one of the owners of Roberson Machine Company. Please feel free to contact us to receive a quote or ask any questions you may have.

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