CNC stands for Computer Numerically Controlled, and refers specifically to the computer control of machine tools for the purpose of manufacturing complex parts repeatedly. Many types of tools can have a CNC variant:

  • Lathes
  • Milling machines
  • Grinding wheels
  • Drills

In a production environment, all of these machines may be combined into one station to allow the continuous creation of a part involving several operations.

CNC machines are nowadays driven directly from files created by CAD packages, so an assembly or part can go from design to production without any intermediate drawing work being required.