What Is CNC Machining Software?

- Apr 14, 2018 -

CNC machining software is an operator’s program interface for controlling industrial fabrication machinery.  CNC is the abbreviation for “computer numerical control.”  A machine is uploaded with instructions on how to fabricate a product based on its precise but purely numeric description.

With the invention of solid state electronics and the era of exponential miniaturization it ushered, starting around 1950, component parts of commercial products required correspondingly small tolerances in precision.  It was far too cumbersome to control the machinery to fabricate such detailed components manually with levers and cams.  The first numerically controlled machines read a paper tape punched with holes encoded to represent their spatial positioning and to control with servo motors their precise movement.

Modern CNC machining, which has revolutionized large scale manufacturing, remains essentially the same in principle.  The instructions that control a machine are stored on a computer’s spinning magnetic hard drive or static digital flash drives.  The fundamental operation of most machines have not changed, and therefore, the set of instructions has not either.  The most significant changes have occurred in the CNC machining software.

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