Journalists, right?

Does anyone else cringe when they see a news article about CNC, and they insist on saying, “CNC, or Computer Numerical Control)”. CNC as a term is so much more useful than what the acronym says. Imagine if they said, “The software is delivered via DVD, or Digital Video Disc…”. I get that they are reaching an audience that doesn’t know what CNC is, but when they talk about the google pixel, they are trying to reach people who don’t know what a google pixel is. We should just assume that CNC is it’s own term, and it no longer means Computer Numerical Control (or whatever it used to mean, I’ve already forgotten).

/rant. I feel better.

I’m not sure what your rant is… CNC does mean Computer Numeric Control… and a large number of people in the world don’t know that yet.

It’ll probably be a few more years before the description gets dropped as the hardware becomes more user friendly.

Honestly, CNC and 3D printing is still a really niche market. There’s a few products that are trying to bridge the gap from advanced user to more of a commodity, but not a lot of people have bought in to them yet.

It wasn’t until half the people in the US had a DVD player in their living room before I remember no longer seeing the acronym spelled out in articles.

Yeah, but who cares what it stands for? It’s not like it’s useful information. The 3D printer is controlled by a computer. Numerically. So is my car and my fridge. CNC means a robot router. There, now you jnow what a CNC is, no need to give you a history lesson on the name.

It does seem like they are not using it correctly as you said everything is numerically controlled now. The expanded version has very little to do with its actual function. That just means we need to give it a more suitable name!!! Routerbot, skillrouter, roborouter, my hands shake to much so I made this thing, RoboMill, robo saw, garage dirtifier, chip maker 5000, carve-o-tron, cut-o-matic. I suck at names.

I have way more of a problem with the whole router vs mill. “Oh it’s only a CNC router, not even close to a mill”…That to me is 100% semantics. If it is not I want a extremely clear definition to what point one becomes the other, 10,000lbs? Do not tell me one uses a spindle and one has a router as that is the most stupid definition I see repeatedly regurgitated my armchair…nevermind, this is your rant thread not mine.

A mill is capable of turning grain into flour.


I don’t think anyone I’ve said “CNC” to has known yet. Although today at Lee Valley (a woodworker’s wallet’s worst enemy) the guy took one look at the panel I had brought (measuring for magnetic attachment solution) and said “you carved that on a CNC”. To which I proudly responded “Yes, a machine I made from scratch!” ; )

A mill also turns logs into lumber which a CNC can turn into projects

I’ve known the term CNC since the 80’s, as I understand it it evolved from NC you could say NC evolved from “punch card”.(a machine that was controlled from a punch card)
Woolen mill.
Cotton mill.
Lace mill.
And then there’s the Weaving Shed, you wouldn’t get one of those sheds in your back yard.

What is Lumber, is it something to do with my bum.( Lumbar region or is it someone walking slowly)
What is Google pixel.
I see a big difference between a CNC router and a CNC mill, strength and precision.


Meaning? Tiny “mills” are used to make PCB’s. they are precise but only technically strong for there size, or intended purpose. So can we say the MPCNC is a wood mill and a metal router? Semantics.

I really don’t care what people call them I just dislike someone trying to tell me it is not one it is the other, there is no qualification for that statement. If either term comes out of my mouth I am not implying it means anything other than it cuts stuff. I actually avoid using either statement because of this.

[attachment file=77531]

There are cars (>2 wheels) and motorcycles (=2 wheels), clear difference. Some argue that 3 wheels are either (as do the laws). I think most ended up calling things that look like motorcycles with 3 wheels trikes, and ones with a cab on them tiny cars. We are in the 3 wheel zone.


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I see a big difference between a CNC router and a CNC mill, strength and precision.

That was left short on purpose you can’t alter history, from personal experience (letting the cat out of the bag here) the forerunner of the Wadkin UX CNC router was the Wadkin UX/B overhead router and the forerunner of that was the Wadkin UR pin router, the CNC was sold into may different industries from kitchen draw/door manufacturing to Aerospace although they were sold for aluminum machining I wouldn’t expect them to be used for say machining mag wheels or engine parts for those parts a Haas CNC milling M/c would be more suitable.
They were custom made, drill heads, tapping heads, tool changer, multi axis, it goes on and on, they became more of a machining center but the origins were still a router.

Does it really matter what people call it, it doesn’t distract from you excellent design.


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As to not ruffle feathers I will stick to “CNC platform”.

Can I stir the pot a bit? Do people think less of the resulting pieces (I guess art pieces in particular) if they think “a machine did it” without any real understanding of the skill required to generate the code that controls the machines let alone the original thought?

Why not Ryan, that is your right and it is evolution.

Kelly D, these days I don’t think the general public have any comprehension of how anything is made.

Personally I don’t think a M/c can ever replace say a wood carving by a master, particularly if you can put your hand on the piece and feel his/her chisel strokes (that sounds a bit dodgy).


You can never replace the amount of love that goes into something made by hand. Even more dodgy now…

I think that is a grey area. Omri form the from page, does not mass produce his creations. So it takes a relatively equal amount of skill to make them. Only when you start duplicating like rabbits does it lose it’s “specialness” in my opinion.

After the hours (and hours) that have gone into this hybrid chainsaw/CNC carved masterpiece I’ve found myself deep in thought about it. I think not. It I can see how people would think less of it. But just because they don’t know I guess.

And you’re right on the one-offs. They DO have more value no matter what. But I have all the files…I could run another. And another. And…

I have to explain CNC to a lot of people and the ones that know what it is look at me like a wizard when I tell them I built my own CNC. People do seem to lose respect for my work when I tell them is was done on a CNC. They think I simply tell it what I want and a finished product comes out. Did people look at the first carpenters to use power tools as less of a craftsman?

CNC platform or just CNC is exactly what I call it in my head. I just hate when articles write out the (arcane) acronym.

Yes, they did (and sometimes still do).

I don’t think there’s an article about CNCs that doesn’t have at least one comment that “CNC is not woodworking”. But if you watch New Yankee Workshop, you see him using every single power tool, table, jig, computer… to get the job done effectively. Then you see guys like Christopher Shwartz (sp?) going the opposite way and using lee valley hand tools and hand saws 100 years old. People will judge. But anyone that’s actually taken a project from idea to finished knows that the work the CNC did was just as much art, and just as much of an entire process as the milling (lumbar), designing, sanding, finishing, etc. It’s a different process, but it’s still woodworking.

3D printing with wood filament… I draw the line there :slight_smile:

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This was a worth while thread. I will try and remember CNC platform when it comes up. If I am asked for a definition it will be for what I think a CNC platform is. Not what a"CNC" machine is.