A Glossary Of Machining Terms

Author: Affinity Manufacturing Ltd. | | Categories: Automation Parts , CNC Machining , Production Machining


Every industry has its own language and terms. These words and phrases can be confusing to anyone who is not part of the daily operations of a specific industry, and the CNC machining business is no exception.

To help you understand the terms, acronyms, and phrases regularly used when dealing with CNC technology and machining custom solutions, Affinity Manufacturing Ltd. has created this handy reference guide. Here you’ll find valuable information allowing you to comprehend and communicate your manufacturing needs effectively.

CNC machining
CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining refers to an automated manufacturing process where automated tools and programmable software are used to control the movements of the machine.

In the context of CNC machining, the axis refers to the planes of motion. CNC machines are commonly 3-axis for the XYZ planes. However, machines with more than three axes are becoming increasingly popular for more complex designs.

CAD, which stands for Computer-Aided Design, is a type of software and file format genre that encompasses the use of computers to help in the digital design process for parts that are to be machined.

Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) refers to the use of software to control machining and manufacturing tools.

Anodizing is a process in which a metal surface is converted into a durable, corrosion-resistant, anodic oxide finish by coating the metal with an oxide layer. It is commonly done to further protect against corrosion, restrict scratches, and enhance the aesthetics.

A fixture is an apparatus used in the manufacturing industry used to secure work in place during the manufacturing process, commonly custom-made to secure a specific part.

Milling is the process of machining where rotating cutting tools are used to shape and remove material from a workpiece. It is one of the most common processes for machining custom parts with precise tolerances.

A lathe is a machining tool that works by rotating a workpiece at fast speeds around a stationary cutting tool to symmetrically shape and remove material from a workpiece.

A Jig is a custom-made tool used to locate a workpiece and guide the motion of cutting tools/ other parts. Like the fixture, they are primarily used as an agent of support to increase accuracy and efficiency.

In the context of CNC machining, the setup refers to the preparation of a machine tool and machine. It is one of the most critical steps in the CNC machining process, which encompasses mounting the workpiece, mounting the necessary tools, jigs, and fixtures, and selecting the proper speeds, feeds, depth of cut, and coolants.

ISO 9000
ISO 9000 is a family of quality management systems that encompass a set of internationally recognized quality assurance and quality management standards. It is an indicator of various quality management principles (QMP) such as customer focus, leadership, and relationship management.

NRE costs
Non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs refer to one-off expenses that are required when starting a new product development project. At the beginning of a project, they are applied as one-time charges that cover expenses related to the setup of a new part, such as programming costs or custom jigs and fixtures.

Surface grinding
Surface grinding is a finishing process that leads an abrasive wheel back and forth over a workpiece, removing small amounts of material with each pass. The process is used to smoothen out workpiece surfaces by removing the oxide layer, as well as other impurities on the surface.

A Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) is a machine that measures the geometries of a particular object, including geometric dimensions and tolerances (GD&T), by detecting various points on the surface with a probe.

If you’re looking for CNC machining solutions, reach out to the experts at Affinity Manufacturing Ltd. We have been serving the industry since 2000. With a focus on customer satisfaction, we are privileged to be an integral part of our customer supply chain. Engineers, businesses and supply chain professionals partner with us to have their parts manufactured to the highest quality, competitively priced and always on time.

Get in touch with us today! 

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