A Quick Guide to Preparing a CAD File for CNC Machining

23 August 2022

Numerous manufacturing businesses maximise manual machining as part of their core operations. Manual machining, after all, allows them to customise metal materials without requiring expensive tools and machines.

But keeping the operational expenses low does not always yield high revenues and productivity levels. Manual machining may not even be efficient for bigger production since it would require multiple employees to get everything done. And since workers must directly process the workpieces, they might be exposed to injury risks as the tools can be sharp.

Businesses, therefore, are now adopting computer numerical control (CNC) machining to carry out vital machining processes such as milling, turning, grinding, drilling, sawing, and finishing. This type of machining, however, can only be fully maximised once CAD files are present.

CAD and CAM Integration to CNC Machining

The potential of CNC machining can only be enjoyed fully once it has been integrated with computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) solutions. CAD intends for the general design and modification of digital prototypes and models, while CAM is meant to control the movement of the machines or tools that will be used for producing parts and products. The combination of these two makes CNC machining not only cost-effective, but also fast, reliable, consistent, and accurate.

One good thing with CAD-CAM solutions is they can maintain manufacturing accuracy despite producing products repeatedly. Errors generated by CNC machines with CAD-CAM integration are almost nowhere to be found since the utilised software used by this integration already knows what to do with the data provided by the CAD files. The accuracy and precision then minimise material waste, improve project turnaround time, and increase productivity.

Preparing the CAD Files for CNC Machining

And speaking of CAD files, CAD-CAM solutions maximise these files in making CNC machining effective. Through these files, they can pinpoint all the design specifications, the nature of tools need, all defined tool paths, and the logical workflow of the machine components. These files will then simplify the CAM process, generating high-quality products in a very short time.

When creating CAD files, engineers have to maximise CAD software to generate 3D designs. With the right software, they can modify their designs by utilising topological optimisation features as well as simulation add-ons to come up with varying design versions. They can likewise input geometric data to create shapes.

Some software, alternatively, can convert 2D images into 3D design files. This feature lets engineers generate blueprints out of the objects conveniently instead of starting from scratch.

Once designs have been generated, they must be saved into a format that would allow CNC machines to understand. Doing this allows the machines to know how and when they need to move, cut, rotate, and do other things.

Technical Drawings Must Also Be Generated

Technical drawings, ultimately, must also be generated so that people who will be controlling the machines can have a guide about the part’s views, cross-sections of features, and notes. These drawings would contain critical dimensions or features of a part, tolerances, threads indication, finishing preferences, and construction lines. Involved personnel can use these drawings as a preference when inspecting the machined part.

For more information about CAD and other things about CNC machining, you can contact us at Aero Spec Engineering. We are the experts in Precision Engineering and CNC Machining.



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