When you think about CNC machining, aerospace and automotive industries probably come to mind. But the uses of a CNC machine go far beyond those familiar sectors—into an inventor’s shop, an artist’s studio, or even the farthest reaches of space.
CNC machining is an incredibly versatile manufacturing process that is compatible with a wide array of materials. Once you include hybrid technology with additive capabilities, the possibilities are endless. Here are just a few of the unconventional uses of CNC routers that we at Diversified Machine Systems get excited about.
We’ve come so far from the days of inventors in a garage, sweating over the same prototype for years on end. Today, you can take a product from concept to mass production in a shorter period than ever—and CNC machining is vital to that acceleration.
CNC machines are perfect for rapid prototyping. With the ability to make precise programming changes on the go and to see the results in real time, manufacturers can design and develop new products more efficiently than ever. Small batches also become feasible, allowing manufacturers to try out multiple iterations without wasting materials. Every year we see new products that wouldn’t have been possible without the use of rapid prototyping with CNC machines.
We’ve already written about the fine art of Dom Riccobene, who uses a DMS Freedom Machine to create 3D models of stunning landscapes. His recent topographical map of the Mars landing site at the Jezero Crater and his Mt. Taranaki sculpture continue to show off his craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Riccobene isn’t the only artist whose creativity found expression through a CNC machine. There are many successful creators who use routers to enhance their craft. San Francisco artist Andrew Kleindolph makes unique sculptures that merge traditional materials with LED lights, using digital fabrication processes to bring his creations to life. Indian artist Ruchika Grover designs sculptures that are cut into stone and other natural materials with CNC routers.
When we think about the tools of an artist, CNC machines might as well be listed alongside more conventional tools like an easel or paintbrush. Even beginners are putting their routers to good use, pinning their creations on Pinterest boards and hanging them on the walls of their homes.
It’s common knowledge that CNC machines are heavily employed in aerospace sectors, but you might be surprised to find out how many NASA projects use them. On March 11 the most powerful telescope in outer space sent its first images back to earth. The James Webb Telescope is a feat of engineering, and its complex network of unfolding mirrors and solar panels is famously sensitive. If even the smallest thing had gone wrong in its construction, billions of dollars would have gone to waste—not to mention the scientific discoveries that would have been lost.
As NASA was building this precise instrument, they turned to a CNC machine for the manufacturing of its 18 hexagonal mirrors. These mirrors, which are made of ultra-lightweight beryllium, will be used to see deep into outer space. A CNC router can be used to make a humble sign on the side of the road, but its precision can also be trusted with the most delicate instruments in the known universe.
There’s no limit to the surprising uses of a CNC machine. Diversified Machine Systems works with a large variety of businesses that never cease to amaze us with their ingenuity. We work with companies as diverse as Ford and Cessna, Nordam and Brentwood. People use our routers to make cars and planes, kitchenware and 3D topographical art, and even things we haven’t heard of.
What would you like to make? The right CNC machine can make your idea into a reality.