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CNC machines
CNC mills use computer controls to cut different materials. They are able to translate programs consisting of specific numbers and letters to move the spindle (or workpiece) to various locations and depths. Many use G-code, which is a standardized programming language that many CNC machines understand, while others use proprietary languages created by their manufacturers. These proprietary languages, while often simpler than G-code, are not transferable to other machines. CNC mills have many functions including face milling, shoulder milling, tapping, drilling and some even offer turning. Standard linear CNC mills are limited to 3 axis (X, Y, and Z) which allows for 2.5D machining, but others may also have one or more rotational axes which allow for advanced 3D machining[3]. Today, CNC mills can have 3 to 6 axes.
 
Lathes are machines that cut workpieces while they are rotated. CNC lathes are able to make fast, precision cuts, generally using indexable tools and drills. They are particularly effective for complicated programs designed to make parts that would be infeasible to make on manual lathes. CNC lathes have similar control specifications to CNC mills and can often read G-code as well as the manufacturer's proprietary programming language. CNC lathes generally have two axes (X and Z), but newer models have more axes, allowing for more advanced jobs to be machined.
 
Plasma cutting involves cutting a material using a plasma torch. It is commonly used to cut steel and other metals, but can be used on a variety of materials. In this process, gas (such as compressed air) is blown at high speed out of a nozzle; at the same time an electrical arc is formed through that gas from the nozzle to the surface being cut, turning some of that gas to plasma. The plasma is sufficiently hot to melt the material being cut and moves sufficiently fast to blow molten metal away from the cut.
 
Electric discharge machining (EDM, wire EDM, sinker EDM), sometimes colloquially also referred to as spark machining, spark eroding, burning, die sinking, or wire erosion, is a manufacturing process in which a desired shape is obtained using electrical discharges (sparks). Material is removed from the workpiece by a series of rapidly recurring current discharges between two electrodes, separated by a dielectric fluid and subject to an electric voltage. One of the electrodes is called the tool electrode, or simply the "tool" or "electrode," while the other is called the workpiece electrode, or "workpiece."
When the distance between the two electrodes is reduced, the intensity of the electric field in the space between the electrodes becomes greater than the strength of the dielectric (at the nearest point(s)), which electrically break down, allowing current to flow between the two electrodes. This phenomenon is the same as the breakdown of a capacitor. As a result, material is removed from both the electrodes. Once the current flow stops (or it is stopped – depending on the type of generator), new liquid dielectric is usually conveyed into the inter-electrode volume, enabling the solid particles (debris) to be carried away and the insulating properties of the dielectric to be restored. Adding new liquid dielectric in the inter-electrode volume is commonly referred to as flushing. Also, after a current flow, a difference of potential between the two electrodes is restored to what it was before the breakdown, so that a new liquid dielectric breakdown can occur.
 
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