Why Were CNC Machines Invented? History, Evolution & Advantages 

CNC Machining is a popular manufacturing process nowadays. On the other hand, you should know about the history of CNC and why it is so important. What did people think about the products or tools made by machines in past decades? In this article, we will learn about Computer Numerical History and CNC machining evolution over the years.

What is CNC Machining?

CNC Machining (Computer Control Numerical) is a process of manufacturing in which a computer interacts directly with a machine using some computer codes for manufacturing a machining product. CNC has tools like drills, mills, and lathes, which directs the computer program to continuously chip away at the workpiece. CNC machines are used to shape, cut, and create different parts and prototypes.

History of CNC Machine:

When you look back at the history of CNC, CNC machining did not start as many people think it did because when you say or see the CNC machine today, you will expect it a computerized, but it wasn’t computerized when this machine was invented. In this section, you will introduce yourself to machining history and its evolution.

First CNC Machine:

In 1949 the first machine was invented, and its founder was James Parsons. James was a computer explorer and worked on an Air Force research project. He worked on how to give an aircraft better skin by producing helicopter blades.

James Parsons used an IBM 602A multiplier to calculate airfoil coordinates or helicopter. Then he used a swiss jig borer to store data into a punching card. All this information is then sent to all the helicopter blades and aerospace industry manufacturers. And this was considered the first CNC Machine. James Parsons received the Joseph Maria Jacquard Memorial Award for his work in the machining industry.

Development of CNC Technology

1. 1952-1958:

Using a CNC machining technique was developed in the 18th century. In 1751 turning, the machine with a metal frame was invented. In 1952 the first CNC milling machine was designed. Richard Kegg collaborates with MIT to develop this milling machine. Five years later, Cincinnati Milacron Hydrotel filed a patent for “Motor Controlled Apparatus for Positioning Machine Tool”. Commercially this is the birth of this technology. In that era, there was too much need for efficient machines and weapons productivity.

2. 1967-1972:

CNC machining has become famous and recognized by many machine manufacturers worldwide. This credit goes only to Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided-Machining (CAM), which were developed in 1972. The insertion of CAD and CAM in CNC machining led the machining industry to enormous development. However, these two were not looked on a significant part of the manufacturing process.

3. 1976-1989:

3D Computer-Aided-Design and Computer-Aided Machine were involved in CNC machining in 1967. And then, in 1989, these two CAD and CAM became the most standard part of the CNC machines industry.

Present CNC Industry:

Day by Day, we are heading toward the unique evolution of CNC machines. Starting from the simple computer control machine with a punch card to the software pattern machine is magical. Because of this software-powered machine, the CNC machining industry has become significantly faster, more precise and more accurate.

Pros of Some CNC Machines

CNC has many advantages in various industrial applications like aerospace, medical, military, and electronics.

1. High Precision Process:

Today, most industries need tools and products with high precision manufacturing processes. Aviation is the top industry for this type of requirement. They don’t let their machines come with low quality and precision because they deal with the country’s defence system.

2. Producing Parts With Accuracy:

Accuracy is another advantage of CNC machining. The programming controls and codes in the CAD file allow it to make precise and accurate CNC machining parts. You don’t have to worry if there are more extensive components for pieces fitting into it because they will safely fit into each other.

3. Very Fast Production:

CNC machines give total production with a quick result because all the process is automated in CNC machining services. CNC also delivers quality with high-speed production. CNC machines don’t need a break, which is the main advantage of their speed production.

4. Cost Effectiveness:

CNC machines are significantly cost-effective. Traditional and old machined need one operator per machine to control, but CNC-type devices need fewer machinists. Only one highly skilled CNC machinist can operate many devices at one time.

5. Depletion in Energy Consumption:

The CNC machines benefit industries like oil and natural gas, aerospace, automotive, petrochemicals, etc. Because these industries are well known to be energy-intensive. CNC machines empower them to be efficient and precise while not consuming limited resources like energy or labour.


CNC Machines have a very quirky history. CNC developed from one punch card to a software-based machine. CNC machines are the best and one of the top manufacturing processes that corporate its benefits for many industries.

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