Why is CNC Machining Essential to the Robotics Industry?

Written by Abigail    2022-10-18

Nowadays, robots are everywhere - working in movies, airports, food production, and even in factories that build other robots. Robots have many different functions and use, becoming more common in the industry as they become easier and cheaper to manufacture. As the demand for robotics increases, robot manufacturers need to keep up, and one primary method of manufacturing robot components is CNC machining. Keep reading, and you'll learn more about standard robot components, the suitable materials for robots, CNC machine definition, and why CNC machining is vital to robot manufacturing.


Image Source: waykenrm

Part 1. What are advantages of CNC Machining in Robotics?

Since you already know what is CNC machine. We will introduce the advantages of CNC machines in robotics.What CNC machine can do? On the one hand, CNC machining enables the production of parts with speedy delivery times. Almost as soon as you have your 3D model ready, you can start manufacturing components with CNC machines. This allows for rapid iteration of prototypes and quick delivery of custom robotic parts for specific applications.


Another advantage of CNC machining is its ability to manufacture parts precisely to specification. This manufacturing precision is essential for robotics, where dimensional accuracy is key to building high-performance robots. Precision CNC machining can maintain tight tolerances of +/- 0.015mm, and such carefully crafted parts allow the precise and repeatable motion that robots are known and valued for.


Surface finish is another reason to use CNC machining to produce robotic parts. Interacting parts need low friction, and precision CNC machining can produce parts with surface roughness as low as Ra 0.8 μm and even lower with post-treatment operations such as polishing. In contrast, die-casting (before any finishing process) typically produces surface roughness closer to 5 μm. Metal 3D printing produces a much rougher surface finish.


Finally, the material used in the robot is ideal for CNC machining. CNC machining and robot is a perfect match.Robots must steadily move and lift objects, which requires solid and hard materials. These necessary properties are best achieved by machining certain metals and plastics, as described in the Materials section below. In addition, robots are often used for customs purposes or small production runs, which makes CNC machining a natural choice for robot components.


Image Source: lcr4


Part 2. What kind of robot parts does CNC Machining make?

Maybe you know that robotic machine is a big trend. With so many possible functions, many different types of robots have evolved. There are a few main types of robots that are commonly used. Articulated robots have a single arm with multiple joints, which many people have seen before. There are also SCARA (Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm) robots, which can move things between two parallel planes. Sara has a high vertical stiffness because they move horizontally. Delta robots have joints at the bottom, keeping the arm light and able to move quickly. Finally, gantry or Cartesian robots have linear actuators that move at 90 degrees to each other. Each of these CNC robots has a different construction and different applications, but there are typically five main components that make up the robot machine.


Robotic arms


Robotic arms vary significantly in form and function, so many different components can be used. However, they have one thing in common: their ability to move objects or perform operations on them - unlike human arms! The different parts of the robot arm are even named after ourselves: the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints rotate and control the movement of the parts in between. The structural components of a robot arm need to be complicated and robust so that they can lift objects or apply forces. CNC machining is the right choice because of the materials used to meet these requirements (steel, aluminum, and some plastics). Smaller parts, such as gears or bearings in joints, or parts of the housing around the arm, can also be CNC machined.




End-effectors are accessories that attach to the end of the robot arm. End-effectors allow you to customize the functionality of your robot for different operations without having to build an entirely new robot. They can be grippers, grabbers, vacuums or suction cups. These end-effectors typically have CNC machined components made of metal (usually aluminum). One of these components is permanently attached to the end of the robot arm. The actual gripper, suction cup or other end-effector (or array of end-effectors) fits into this component so the robot arm can control it. This setup with two different components makes it easier to swap out different end-effectors so that the robot can be adapted to different applications. You can see this in the diagram below. The bottom disc will be bolted to the mating component on the robot arm, allowing you to connect the hose that operates the suction cup to the robot's air supply.




Every robot needs motors to drive the movement of its arms and joints. The motors have many moving parts that can be CNC machined. Typically, motors have some machined housing for the power supply and a machined bracket to attach to the robot arm. Bearings and shafts are also often CNC machined. Shafts can be machined on a lathe to reduce the diameter or on a milling machine to add features such as keys or slots. Finally, the gears that transfer motor motion to the robot joints or other parts can be CNC machined by milling, EDM or hobbing machines.


The controllers


The controllers are the brain of the robot. It does what you think it will do - it usually controls the precise movement of the robot. As the robot's computer, it takes input from sensors and modifies the program that controls the output. This requires a printed circuit board (PCB) to house the electronic components. This PCB can be CNC machined to the desired size and shape before the electronics are added.




As mentioned above, sensors receive information about the robot's surroundings and feed it to its controller. The sensors also require a PCB that can be CNC machined, and in some cases, they are mounted in a CNC machined housing.


Image Source: get-it-made


Part 3. CNC Machining Services at Wenext

Wenext provides CNC machining services that might be your best choice if you want a high-performing robotic machine. You can upload your file on Wenext. We will check your need and quote the price for you. Also, we will check your design online for free. Our customer success manager will be with the customers shortly after the file is uploaded to the website to ensure the file is makeable. We can make perfect workpieces and deliver them to you as soon.



Please feel free to try instant quoting on our website or contact us at hello@wenext.com if you are interested.

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