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  • Writer's pictureMako Precision

Brief CNC History

CNC Machine w/ paper tape reader

CNC or Computer Numerical Control is a concept that leads back all the way to the late 1940’s just after World War II when a man named John Parsons developed a system to control machining equipment by feeding it punched cards with holes corresponding to coordinates. Starting in 1949, Parsons joined the U.S. Air Force at an MIT laboratory to further develop what was to become numerical control. In the 1950’s more advanced machinery become available and although it was a step in the right direction many companies didn’t purchase them due to the hefty cost which in todays money would come in at just over £1.5m.

As numerical control technology moved into the 1960s and 1970s, a familiar form of a CNC machine that most would recognize today started coming together. Digital technology then became involved, and automation in production processes became more efficient than ever before. Today because of how advanced computers are, it’s more common than ever to find CNC machines in all industries.

Currently, many CNC machine shops make use of Distributed Numerical Control (DNC), which allows a programmer to control several CNC units from a central computer. Many CNC interfaces are built around user-friendly software which means less training is required for staff.


Mako Precision Engineering Ltd.



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