CNC Machining History and Evolution

Prior to CNC, the machine tools used to cut stock were controlled manually. The principles behind CNC machining are long-standing and evolved as technology grew. Here is a brief timeline of the evolution of CNC machining.

1751: With the beginning of industrialization came one of the first machines that attempted to execute more precise operations than previous handcrafted techniques. A machining technique that involved turning the machine with the metal frame was invented.

 The 1940s: The first NC machines were built. These early machines relied on concepts of programmable logic, where the code was manually entered into a data card and fed into the system. This method is called “punched tape.”

1949: John Parsons began research to improve aircraft with stiffened skins. MIT professor J.F. Reintjes and his team began an experimental milling machine.

1952: During the Cold War, automation became important. In 1952, Richard Kegg (and MIT) created the first CNC milling machine called the Cincinnati Milacron Hydrotel.

1958: Kegg filed for a patent for the Motor Controlled Apparatus for Positioning Machine tool.

1967: The concept of computer-controlled machining began to gain traction.

1972: Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Machining began which prompted important developments in CNC machining.

1976: The first year of 3D Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Machining.

1989: The rise of modern CNC machines as CAD and CAM software-controlled machines become industry standard.

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