Home » CNC Technology Brings New Era of Stone Fabrication
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology has made its mark on stone design and fabrication, providing numerous benefits to those who take advantage of its capabilities. With computers controlling the machines, stone fabricators produce intricate inspiring creations with exact precision once thought impossible or too costly to achieve. As a result, architects and designers are expanding their creative limits and experiencing many benefits, including:
Despite CNC’s benefits, many design professionals hold misperceptions about the process. Chief among the misconceptions is that CNC is only used for granite slabs. It’s often difficult to imagine a computer-controlled machine handling a large block of stone and producing the result of a finely trained sculptor with a chisel in hand. Quite the opposite, CNC machines can accept both slabs and cubic stones of all sizes with ease, depending on the type of machine the fabricator chooses. Not all fabricators with CNC capability will have the machine capacity to manufacture cubic shapes.
Another misperception is that the CNC process isn’t budget friendly. Although CNC technology is advanced, it’s not cost-prohibitive. Historically, large-profiled stone components and cubic free-form shapes were labor intensive to produce. Today’s designs, in most cases, begin as a digital project in one of the many CAD or digital design tool software packages. Using this “master model” format, the fabricator realizes lower costs since much of the drafting work required for the old manual method is eliminated. What’s more, CNC achieves a very fine tolerance, reducing the need for multiple or follow-up processes. Fabrication and lead time are reduced and custom designs are easier on the budget.
Realizing CNC benefits to projects, designers are choosing the technology for many high-profile projects across the country. From East to West Coast, these projects showcase examples of intricate stonework, shaped with precision.
For this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design decorative porcelain and marble tile modernize an outdated living space in New York. We also see how Italian Porcelain tile contributes to a multi-purpose residential building. Finally we feature our Mosaic and decorative tile roundup.