Using 2D CAD to Design and Manufacture CNC Products

There are two types of CAD (Computer Aided Design) software for CNC products design and manufacture. Firstly, 2D design software allows the designer to design shapes with very limited three dimensional properties. But please do not underestimate the designs that can be achieved through 2D software.

  1. The design is drawn using software such as TechSoft 2D Design. At first appearance this software looks rather basic but, depending on the skills of the designer, quite complex designs can also be produced.
    The example shown below is a simple block of material with initials.

2. When the design is complete the drawing will be processed. This will convert the drawing into a detailed series of X, Y and Z coordinate combinations. Processing must take place before the CNC machine can cut the design from material.

When the CNC machine shapes the material the cutter follows the coordinates, in sequence, until the shape has been manufactured.

3. Most CAD/CAM software allows the designer to test the manufacture of his/her design on a computer rather than actually making it. This saves time and materials. Testing designs is carried out using ‘simulation’ software (Boxford use ‘CAD/CAM Design Tools’ software). When the design is run through simulation software the computer displays the manufacturing on the screen. It also checks whether or not the design can be manufactured successfully. Many designs have to be altered before they can be made by a CNC machine.

After all the testing and improvements to the design, it can finally be manufactured on a CNC machine.

1. Draw a flow chart showing the stages of designing a 2D product and it’s manufacture on a CNC machine.

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