Machining & Manufacturing Vocabulary
Read our manufacturing glossary for definitions of terms used in the manufacturing, engineering, and CAD software fields:
2D (Two-Dimensional) – A part design where the Z value of all internal holes and cutouts are
3D (Three-Dimensional) – A part design where Z values vary or edge effects (rounded edges, chamfered edges, sloped walls, or side grooves) are selected or more than one view is used.
Axis – A principal direction along which the relative movements of a tool or workpiece occur. Three linear axes, occurring at 90° angles from each other, named X,
CAD – (Computer Aided Design) The use of computer applications that allow you to design mechanical parts and other items.
CAM – (Computer Aided Manufacturing) The use of computers to assist in manufacturing.
CNC – (Computerized Numerical Control) The computer control of machines that fabricate custom parts.
Creep – The deformation of a part over time when under constant stress.
Fillet – In mechanical engineering, a fillet is a rounding of an interior or exterior corner of a part design.
Friction – Mechanical resistance of motion between two surfaces.
G-Code – The industry standard programming language that controls a CNC machine.
Machining Center – Machine tools that are capable of automatically repeating operations such as drilling, reaming, tapping, milling, and boring multiple faces on a workpiece.
Machine Tool – A power-driven machine used to form or shape metal and other materials.
N/C – Numerical Control – The technique of controlling a machine or process by using programmed command instructions provided by coding.
Nudge – The process of moving a line a fixed small distance across the screen using the arrow keys on the keyboard.
Pitch – The nominal distance between centers of repetitive shapes.
Polyline – A line having several segments. For example, a rectangle is a polyline with four segments.
Roughness – A measurable degree of non-smoothness of the surface related to the height of the peaks and valleys.
Set Screw – A threaded fastener typically used to lock a sleeve, collar or gear on a shaft. Set screws are normally headless. Set screw points can have various shapes including cups, cones, ovals, flats and more.
Shank – The section of a bolt between the head and the threads. Sometimes refers to the section of a cutting tool that is held.
Snap – The process of moving one line so it exactly meets a key point on another line.
Static friction – The friction between two surfaces having no
Tangent – Two curves or lines that are parallel at the point where they meet.
Toolpath – The path that a cutting tool travels to remove material to create a shape.
Torque – A measure of twisting force applied to a fastener, shaft or
Tolerance – The acceptable variation in measurement.
Z Axis – The third dimension that cannot directly be shown in a flat drawing. The distance out from the drawing towards yourself.
External Thread – A thread formed on the external surface of a cylinder (e.g. a screw).
Flank – The flanks of a thread are the straight sides that connect the crest and the root.
Major Diameter – The diameter of an imaginary cylinder that just touches the crests of an external thread or roots of an internal thread.
Minor Diameter – The diameter of an imaginary cylinder that just touches the roots of an external thread or crests of an internal thread. Also called Root Diameter.
Pitch (threading) – The nominal distance between two adjacent thread roots or crests; or between the centers of other repetitive shapes.
Right-Hand Thread – A screw thread that is tightened by rotating clockwise when viewed from the head. Most screws are
Rolled Thread – A thread formed by plastic deformation of a rod instead of cutting. Most fasteners are formed this way.
Shoulder Screw – A screw with an unthreaded portion used for more precise and secure locating or as a bearing surface such as in a pulley.
UNC/UNRC – Unified National Coarse is a thread form with a
UNF/UNRF – Unified National Fine is a thread form using a finer pitch than UNC. It is used when a higher tensile strength is needed than the coarse thread series; when
UNEF/UNREF – Unified National Extra-Fine is a thread form using a finer pitch than UNF. It is used for the same reasons that UNF is used over UNC but for even more stringent requirements.
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