What is a Coordinate Measuring Machine for a CNC Machine?

A coordinate measuring machine (CMM) is a key piece of equipment in CNC machining, essential for accurately determining the geometry of a part. A CMM uses a contact probe to pinpoint discrete points on a part’s surface. It then calculates the probe’s displacement from an origin point, specifying its position in the XYZ axes. A CMM is invaluable in a CNC machining service because it can precisely measure 3D dimensions, record data, and capture complex GD&T features.

Enhancing precision in CNC machining

Simpler product designs of the past allowed for the use of conventional milling machines to meet dimensional tolerance and accuracy. But as designs grew more complex, the demand for precise quality control increased, leading to the creation of the CMM in 1959. Today, the CMM is vital in CNC machining services for its precise data, ensuring parts meet exact design specifications.

Today’s coordinate measuring machines often incorporate non-contact technologies like lasers and cameras to further enhance measurement precision. Typically, CMMs are gantry or bridge types featuring a spherical contact point at the probe’s tip. These machines are pivotal for three-dimensional measurements of mechanical parts, automotive components, and 3D prototypes.

Beyond quality control, CCMs are also useful in reverse engineering. A CNC machining service employs a CMM to meticulously scan an existing prototype. This scan captures its precise dimensions, which are then translated into a detailed 3D CAD model. With this model, technicians can create accurate replicas using 3D printing or further CNC machining—a method particularly valuable for reproducing parts that are no longer in production.

Choose the right CNC machining service.

For precision, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness in manufacturing prototypes and end-use parts, it’s essential to partner with a CNC machining service equipped with advanced tools like CMMs. Contact HLH Proto for a quote and learn how our CNC machining service—backed by state-of-the-art CMM technology—can bring your designs to life with impeccable accuracy.


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