Essential CNC

Engineer working on a computer in the office.

“Essential CNC Machines” provides a comprehensive introduction to computer numerical control (CNC), which uses numerical data to control a machine. CNC machines rely on a system of three linear and three rotational axes in order to calculate the motion and position of machine components and workpieces.

A machine control unit controls and guides the movements of the machine tool. This class also describes PTP positioning, which moves to the end position before the tool begins to cut, and continuous path systems that can move a tool along two or more axes at once and cut during the movement. Additionally, closed-loop systems provide feedback, while open-loop systems do not.

"CNC machines are used to make a variety of products using a number of different processes. With proper training, a human operator can use CNC machines to make accurate parts with decreased risk of error. "

Skills covered in this courses are:

  • Describe how CNC machines have
    benefited modern manufacturing.
  • Describe the origin of CNC machines.
  • Identify common methods of CNC movement.
  • Identify different varieties of CNC machines.
  • Explain the role of axes in the Cartesian coordinate system.
  • Identify positive and negative movement along machine axes.
  • Describe rotational axes and movement.
  • Describe contouring movements.
  • Describe the role of the machine control unit.
  • Distinguish between point-to-point positioning and continuous path movement.

Meet Your Instructors

Neil Gershenfeld-fablab-bhutan-MIT

Prof. Neil Gershenfeld

Center for Bits and Atoms. Massachutes Institute of Techolology

Sherry Lassiter

Director, Fab Lab International Outreach Program,
Center for Bits and Atoms, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tsewang Lhundup

Fablab Bhutan

David Cool

Fablab Specialist

Amanda Ghassaei

Fablab Specialist, Center for Bits and Atoms.
Massachutes Institute of Techolology

Sam Calish

Fablab Specialist, Center for Bits and Atoms.
Massachutes Institute of Techolology


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