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What Is CNC Programming And Why Is It Used In Precision Machinery?

There are many different kinds of programming languages, ranging from the popular Java language to lesser known CNC programming languages. A CNC, or computer numerical controlled, programming language is a simplistic language that is commonly used to guide precision machinery such as milling and lathe programming. They are usually based off a Cartesian plane, in that the programming can guide the machine according to a set of coordinates from the origin point.

This is an important language, because without it, many of the precision machines used in the labor side of businesses would not be as accurate and large-scale manufacturing would begin to show some slight errors in the products. There are several CNC programming books available for the people who want to learn about how to program this way, but it is a language that is rarely used outside of machinery these days.

Certain computer programming classes still use CNC programming books to introduce students to the concept of CNC programming, but because it is pretty much only used in the current world for precision machinery, it is not widely taught. In the early 1950s, however, the large computers of the time period were programmed with a form of CNC programming based on paper that had holes punched in a certain order.

The order of the holes would determine what the computer would do. This has since been replaced with modern programming, but there are some old computers that still exist that use CNC programming.

The original numerical control machines used manually punched-in paper to "program" a machine by giving it a set of instructions based on the holes punched in the paper. A man by the name of John Runyon created the first computerized punched-in paper to control one of the original numerical control machines.

The Air Force later standardized a language that could be used with any numerical control machine, which was accepted in June of 1956, the birth of computer numerical controlled languages.

Even though it is an old concept, there are still CNC programming books available for companies that program precision machinery. We have moved past punched paper and on to traditional programming methods, in which a microprocessor in the machine is directly programmed. The language is based off a Cartesian plane, which can direct the machine to any point on that plane precisely. Without CNC programming, many of our current precision machines would not exist, or at least be not as precise.


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