Before computers ruled the world, inventors painstakingly took years or almost half their lives to perfect most technological innovations. But today people use milling machines to shape and mold different materials into prototypes, parts, or small models for perfecting a design. In the last 50 years, with the invention of computers and technology, milling machines have now been formed into CNC mills or computer numerical control mills. These machines are far more advanced than the milling technology it replaced and gives inventors a new set of capabilities on making creative projects or forging prototypes. As a result of the inventiveness and innovation of tools like this, the “Maker” generation has given rise to a new faction of people rising to the top of success in our times. Their entrepreneurial contributions and independence enables a product to go from idea to reality, sometimes overnight. Exploring this new generation and how CNC mills assist in the success they are reaping so greatly.
From NC to CNC: a new generation
NC machines were the mills used to create prototypes and elaborate designs for the last 50 years. Invented during the 1940-50s by John T. Parsons and perfected by MIT, these machines were operated by foot pedal and could function with one tool at a time. These were a great improvement from how prototypes were assembled in the past however; it wasn’t enough to keep up with the trend of technological progress. In the last decade these machines have far surpassed the capacity of these former machines. They operate on an x, y and z level axis that allows for 3-D sculpting and a wider range of movability for the tools. In addition to a wider range of motion, two to eight tools can simultaneously be changed without human assistance. This invention has been attributed to the “maker” generation, which evolved daily based on discontent with the ordinary and the outdated machines they had to deal with.
The New Industrial Revolution
Inventions such as CNC milling machines are an example of the ingenuity enriching our lives today. Used for educational, vocational, artistic and a myriad of other purposes, engineers and small businesses now create prototypes efficiently in-house to continue creating more innovations for the future. These activities have given a new voice to the entrepreneurial spirit inside each of us to solve problems and make life more proficient. This occurred as a result of the recent financial woes of 2008. As young adults graduated college and searched for jobs as a security blanket, many institutions and corporations turned them aside. High unemployment, a spirit of creativity unmatched by past generations, and an increased access to information via the internet pushed this generation to become creators. CNC milling machines became a large part of this revolution because of the freedom, autonomy, and success in product development it allowed for small businesses. Although it is an expensive investment, the benefits of owning one far out weigh the cost. It is perfect for the makers of this generation who are impatient for success, and can utilize these tools to bring the future into today.
Society has come a long way from the ancient ties of using jagged metal and rocks to create masterpieces and prototypes. As a result of a new generation of opportunist, technology has soared and offered advancements geared at success. Although some tools invented such as CNC machines have high price tags, the benefits give a new level of satisfaction to the “maker” generation. Designing prototypes, models and small business products to revolutionize our lives, this generation will take us into a new century of modernization and ingenuity.