For the average person who has little knowledge of engineering or manufacturing, precision machining can be a tricky process to understand. Here we’ll explain what it is and why it’s used in a way that everyone can understand.
Precision machining is part of the fabrication process where parts are created by removing certain areas of a material such as aluminium, steel, bronze, graphite and glass to create detailed and complex items. This can include hollowing out a solid shape or simply cutting slots. Another way to look at it is to compare the process to that of a stone mason carving a statue. You start with a large solid object before chipping, cutting and polishing it until you reach the desired result. In short, if an object consists of parts, it was made through machining.
Quality precision machining means following extremely accurate and specific blueprints made by either CAD (computer aided design) or CAM (computer aided manufacturing) programs and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines. The programs produce complex 3D diagrams or outlines that are used to manufacture items such as tools, machines, winches or any other objects. By using CNC machines, the process of machining is much more controlled and accurate and therefore helps to achieve better results when machining metals. These days, it’s the use of these programmes throughout the process that help make machining so precise and accurate. As computers are used throughout the process in the design stage and the machining stage to create extremely detailed and accurate items and parts, the element of human error is removed.
Precision machines use different methods to shape material but they all use at least some sort of basic cutter technology. This usually involves milling, boring and turning but recent technological advances have seen the introduction of lasers and water cutters. Laser cutters work by heating or melting the material until it forms the correct shape whereas water cutters direct a high pressure jet that slices through leaving behind a high quality finish without damaging the structure. The items that are created through precision machining are used in countless fields throughout the world including shipping and aeronautics.
Now we know what precision machining is and how it works, but what sort of items does it actually produce? Cars, planes, ships, alarm clocks all have parts that have been produced by precision machining. Machining creates the threads for nuts and bolts, plumbing fittings are usually machined as are high pressure valves and computer parts among-st other things. These specialist industries require uniformity and quality with all their products and this can only be achieved through precision machining.