Numerical Control was first developed in the late 1940’s and the early 1950’s by John T. Parsons along with Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was built to assist in the post war manufacturing effort. From there, aircraft parts were becoming more complicated and needed a level of accuracy, which human operators couldn’t achieve.
At the beginning, machines were hard-wired, and soon instructions were provided through the punched tape in 1952. After five years, NC machines were being set up in metal working production settings all over the US. In the middle of 1960s, the NC technology was serving a dominant role across the industry.
In 1980, the majority of machine programs were stored on an aluminum tape or punched paper. From the 1970s to 1980s, the development of microprocessor technology has made it possible for a computer to be linked to NC machines with the help of cables, which leads to the term CNC.
Basically, numerical control is a method for controlling machines instead of a particular kind of machine. CNC machines were built for a machining metal. They were adapted for other industries like plastics, foam, fabric, and wood just to name a few. All of those machines have featured in common that includes machine tool, controller, program (instructions).
On the other hand, wood routers are different from their metalworking cousins because they aren’t subjected to the same forces of vibration and load. Furthermore, they spin a lot faster, around 24000 rpm and have bigger work tables; around 5’x20. Another difference is that they don’t need the same level of precision. Metalworking applications normally need much greater accuracy and tighter tolerances compared to machining wood.
In 1968, Mr. Isao Shoda states to have created the very first NC router in the globe and he displayed it the International Osaka Fair. Moreover, in the beginning of 1970s, the rise of the first CNC showed in the aerospace industry. In the late of 1970s, NC drilling machines were the very first to show in the wood industry. CNC routers were utilized by the aerospace industry to cut complicated patterns out of pieces of aluminum. Boling the aluminum sheet to its table surface was a long process.
In the early 1980s, the expert engineers at Thermwood came up with the concept to draw air via the big butcher blocks created of Balsa wood. Given that Balsa woods enables air to pass freely through the end grain, they were able to add a high flow vacuum to grasp the aluminum sheets down devoid of the help of a mechanical fastener.
Nowadays, CNC machines are an omnipresent part of the entire manufacturing process. Improved performance and new functionality are being established each day that will offer CNC an ever increasing responsibility for the success of the industry.
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