CNC Metal Cutting Machine Complete Guide 2021

What is a CNC metal cutting machine? What issues need to be considered when purchasing or customizing metal CNC machine tools? In this article, we will introduce to you all aspects of metal CNC machine tools in detail. Hope that after reading this article, you can find the most suitable metal CNC machine tool and processing method for you.

What is a CNC metal cutting machine?

Computer numerical control metal cutting methods mainly include laser, flame, plasma, and etc cutting methods. Among them, fiber laser and plasma metal cutting machines are the most popular. According to the optimized cutting program provided by the CNC nesting software, automatic, high-efficiency and high-quality cutting can be realized. CNC metal cutting represents modern high-tech production methods. Metal cutting CNC machine tools are the product of the combination of advanced computer numerical control technology and cutting machinery. Compared with traditional manual cutting, metal cutting CNC machine tools effectively control and improve the cutting quality and cutting efficiency.

Application

Used in sheet metal processing, aviation, aerospace, electronics, electrical appliances, subway accessories, automobiles, machinery, precision accessories, ships, metallurgical equipment, elevators, household appliances, gifts, tool processing, decoration, advertising, metal processing, and other manufacturing and processing industry.

Mainly used for cutting metal materials such as carbon steel, silicon steel, stainless steel, aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, galvanized sheet, pickling sheet, aluminum-zinc sheet, copper, and so on.

fiber laser metal cutting display
Fiber laser machine cutting metal display
Fiber laser cutting metal
round tube cutting
fiber laser cutting metal

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How many types does a CNC metal cutting machine Have?

What is the CNC router machine?

There are many types of CNC metal cutting machines. Among them, some metal CNC machine tools can cut and engrave non-metallic materials, and can also process some metal materials (mainly soft metals). Aluminum is environmentally friendly and beautiful and is widely used in many industries. Therefore, you need a good metal CNC machine tool to cut aluminum. For example, ATC CNC routers, five-axis CNC machining centers, CNC milling machines, and other metal CNC machine tools can cut soft metal materials.

ATC CNC Router with C Axis and Duo Aggregate
CNC router machine

What is the CNC metal laser cutting machine?

As we all know, metal laser CNC machine tools are metal CNC machine tools that use laser technology to cut metal. The emergence of the CNC metal laser cutting machines can be described as a technological revolution in the field of metal processing. The laser metal cutting process has the characteristics of fast speed, good accuracy, high flexibility, and a short production cycle, which can bring high benefits to manufacturers. Therefore, the metal laser cutting machine is a good choice for metal processing manufacturers.

At present, there are two mainstream CNC metal cutting machines using laser technology on the market. They are CO2 laser cutting machines and fiber laser cutting machines. Although the CO2 laser cutting machine can realize CNC metal cutting, its processing efficiency is relatively low. In contrast, when performing CNC metal cutting, such as CNC steel cutting or CNC aluminum cutting, the efficiency of the fiber CNC metal laser cutting machine is 200% higher than that of the CO2 laser cutting machine. In addition, the optical fiber CNC metal laser cutting machine can cut more types, thicker and larger metal materials. Therefore, the CNC laser metal cutting machine mentioned in this article mainly refers to the optical fiber CNC metal laser cutting machine.

CNC sheet metal fiber laser cutting machine
CNC fiber laser cutting machine

What is the CNC plasma cutting machine?

A plasma metal cutting machine is a machine that uses plasma cutting technology to process metal materials. Its working principle is to use the heat of the high-temperature plasma arc to melt or evaporate the metal part at the incision of the workpiece. The momentum of the high-speed plasma is then used to remove the molten metal to form an incision.

Plasma metal cutting machine is one of the most popular metal cutting CNC machine tools in the world. In addition to cutting soft metals, such as CNC aluminum cutting, plasma metal cutting machines can also cut various hard metals. For example, this metal cutting CNC machine tool can realize CNC steel cutting, CNC stainless steel cutting, and CNC titanium cutting. It can be used in conjunction with different working gases to perform plasma cutting on non-ferrous metals such as copper, zinc, titanium, and nickel. In addition, it can also cut irregular-shaped metals, such as square and round metal tubes. Plasma metal cutting machine has the advantages of fast cutting speed, smooth cutting surface, small deformation, etc., which is suitable for thin metal cutting. Plasma metal cutting machines are widely used in industries such as automobiles, locomotives, pressure vessels, chemical machinery, nuclear industry, general machinery, engineering machinery, and steel structures.

CNC Flame Plasma Cutting Machine
CNC plasma cutting machine

What is the CNC flame cutting machine?

Flame cutting is a common method for rough machining of steel plates. Flame cutting is gas cutting. Traditionally, acetylene gas is used for cutting. Later, propane was used for cutting. Natural gas cutting now occurs. Due to its abundant natural gas reserves, low price, and no pollution, it has become the first choice for flame cutting. Natural gas flame cutting generally adds natural gas additives to produce a new type of flame cutting gas. Flame cutting with this gas can make the cutting effect better, improve the cutting efficiency, and reduce the cutting cost.

Flame cutting is the oldest thermal cutting method. The thickness of the metal it cuts ranges from 1 mm to 1.2 meters. However, when the thickness of the low carbon steel plate you need to cut is less than 20mm, other cutting methods should be used.

Flame cutting uses the high temperature generated when iron oxide burns to cut carbon steel. The design of the flame cutting torch provides sufficient oxygen for burning iron oxide to ensure a good cutting effect.

The low cost of flame cutting equipment is the only economical and effective method for cutting thick metal plates, but it has its shortcomings when cutting thin plates. Compared with plasma, the heat-affected zone of flame cutting is much larger, and the thermal deformation is also larger. In order to cut accurately and effectively, the operator needs to have superb skills to avoid thermal deformation of the metal plate in time during the cutting process.

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What is the cost of a CNC metal cutting machine?

The price of CNC machines ranges from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars for complex machines, which obviously depends on the size, complexity, and function of each machine.

Sometimes, auxiliary tools and important equipment parts must be manufactured separately, although some complete CNC machine packages may contain the most necessary components for the production of basic materials.​​​

In order to make a budget for manufacturing high-quality metal CNC machines, you need to have a basic concept, that is, how much you can spend on the machine as the main cost. We will provide you with some examples of different CNC machines and their costs.

What affects the cost of CNC parts?

The price of CNC machining parts depends on the following aspects:

Processing time: The longer it takes to process a part, the more expensive it will be. Machining time is usually the main cost driver for CNC.

Start-up costs: These are related to CAD process planning and are important for small batch production. The cost is always fixed.

Material cost: The cost of bulk materials and the difficulty of material processing greatly affect the overall cost of CNC.

Other manufacturing costs: When you design parts with special requirements, you may need special tools, stricter quality control, and more processing steps (at lower processing speeds). Of course, this will have an impact on the total manufacturing time and price.

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How to reduce CNC machining costs?

People new to Metal CNC might think that the high degree of automation involved will result in parts that are fast, cheap, and easy to produce.

In fact, the cost of simply owning and operating a CNC machine tool means that the cost passed on to you as a customer can skyrocket rapidly. In order to reduce costs, you can take the following suggestions.

  • Reduce material costs

If you want to machine a part, you certainly need to decide what it will be made of. Many excellent materials with unique properties, such as ABS, PEEK, and stainless steel, can be processed in very different ways.

Generally, you should simply choose the cheapest material that meets your design requirements. However, if you are designing medical equipment, you may be forced to use more expensive materials such as stainless steel due to biocompatibility.

  • Reduce setup time

The setup time includes CAM programming and machine setup and part fixtures. It is usually referred to as non-recurring engineering cost, which usually accounts for a large part of the machining cost in the prototype design stage and should be minimized as much as possible.

  • Reduce processing time

The last aspect of cost savings is the actual time required to machine the part. If your functional requirements allow you to use material flexibility, then choosing the easiest to process should save money.

Generally, harder materials require longer processing times due to the risk of damaging the tool, but there are exceptions to this rule.

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How to buy a CNC metal cutting machine?

  • Assess your production needs and capabilities

First of all, you need to figure out your company’s production capacity, output, etc. So you can consider whether it is worth buying a CNC metal cutting machine or using an outsourced metal cutting service.

  • Consider configuration requirements

Next, if you plan to purchase a CNC metal cutting machine, you need to consider the required configuration requirements according to your processing needs.

  • Choose a qualified manufacturer

Third, you must choose a qualified manufacturer. Since metal laser cutting machines are so expensive, we need to make every penny worth the money. Therefore, comparisons must be made between metal cutting machine manufacturers. I recommend choosing a manufacturer with good production qualifications, good product quality, and high customer satisfaction.

  • Sign a contract with the manufacturer

Last but not least, after you have negotiated with the manufacturer on all matters concerning the purchase of the machine, be sure to sign a contract or agreement. This contract will stipulate the rights and obligations of both you and the manufacturer. It will detail such as total price, delivery time, and after-sales service. The contract helps protect your rights.

Conclusion

All CNC metal cutting machines adopt CNC control, and they all have the characteristics of flexibility and efficiency. But they have some differences in working principle, cutting accuracy, machine price, and application. Therefore, before choosing a metal cutting machine, it is very important to understand your processing needs and the required precision.

Fiber laser cutting machines and CNC plasma metal cutting machines are the most popular. Industries that require high precision such as precision instruments, automobiles, and aerospace can choose fiber laser cutting machines. CNC plasma tables are also widely used in automobiles, chemical machinery, engineering, and other metal processing industries.

FORSUN CNC provides a variety of models of fiber laser and plasma cutting machines. In addition to the above two, there are many other models of metal cutting machines with different functions. For more information, please contact me now!

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