The reason why people evolved from apes is with our hands, but they ca n’t rely on hands alone, so they must have tools to assist them. Think of human ancestors who are really smart. In order to use tools to process more easily, the machine tool’s earliest prototype tree lathe was born, about 2,000 years ago.

Two thousand years ago, the prototype of the machine tool

As a prototype, it is still relatively rough, and everyone knows it by looking at the picture. When operating, step on the ferrule under the rope with your feet, use the toughness of the branch to rotate the workpiece, use the stone or shell as a knife, and cut the article along the bar.

    In the 13th century, bicycle lathes appeared

    In the 13th century, the prototype of the machine tool was also developing. You ca n’t always hang on the tree. At this time, you can use a foot pedal to rotate the crankshaft and drive the flywheel, and then drive it to the main shaft to make it rotate. Elastic rod lathe, but the operation principle is exactly the same except that the tool is made of real metal.

    1395 Stick rod machines appeared in Germany

    Just step on the pedal at this time, pay attention to the wooden bar on your head, and rely on it to bring power up and down

    Very clear etching, the prototype of the machine tool at this time is mainly used to process wood

    After talking about Europe, let’s talk about China. In the same period, the Ming Dynasty published a strange book called “Gonggong Kaiwu”, which recorded the various technologies of the Middle Ming Dynasty and before. After reading it, you can know what “the wisdom of the ancients” was.

    This book also describes the structure of the grinder. Here, the principle similar to the European medieval pedal machine is used. The metal disc is rotated by the pedal method, and the jade is processed with sand and water.

    Grinder structure images in China’s technological encyclopedia written by Song Yingxing (1600-1660) in 1637,Use jaws to cut jade. Look at the familiar foot pedals, which are already replaceable jaws (knives).

    Zhatu images in China’s technological encyclopedia written by Song Yingxing (1600-1660) in 1637,Use jaws to cut jade. Look at the familiar foot pedals, which are already replaceable jaws (knives).

    Percussion chart in China’s technological encyclopedia written by Song Yingxing (1600-1660) in 1637,You can see the punches on the table on the right. The sizes and models are all available. Look at the size of the jade material to choose the right tool.

    Chapter Maps in China’s technological encyclopedia written by Song-Yingxing (1600-1660) in 1637,This is similar to boring in modern machining. Then use special urns to grind away the inner jade little by little. Think about the ancient craftsmen who were really challenging.

    Let’s focus on Europe again. A Frenchman named Besson designed a lathe for turning screws by sliding the tool through a screw rod. The tool is no longer fixed in one position. It is not promoted for use, somehow.

    Besson lathe design draft ,already looks like a modern machine

    The machine tool prototype at this stage has been introduced. It can be seen that although the prototype is constantly developing, the source of power has not been separated from the original tree lathe. The continuous power is really a big problem. After all, human beings will still be fatigued.

    The emergence of the steam engine has brought the machine tool into a new era

    Let’s look at this picture first. Every Chinese student will definitely have some impressions. Let us review this story.
    The story of Watt and the teapot as a child One night, Watt and a little girl drink tea at home. Watt kept tinkering with the teapot lid, and opened it for a while, then closed it. When he blocked the mouth of the teapot, the steam opened the lid. The grandmother nearby was extremely dissatisfied with Watt’s boring action, and reprimanded him. Watt didn’t mind. He was thinking about the power of steam, and then germinated the idea of making a steam engine.

    Chinese elementary school text “Watt and Steam Engine” with pictures

    Of course history is not so simple. Watt absorbed the achievements of his predecessors and his personal hard work, improved various components of the steam engine, and improved the power efficiency. The story of Watt inventing the steam engine is not so dramatic, but it is far more exciting than this fairy tale.

    In 1763, the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom hired a technician named Watt, whose task was to maintain, more like, repair a school’s Newcomen steam engine. A wet rope tied the components together, it was always broken.

    The Newcomen steam engine is the predecessor of the Watt steam engine. Watt improved the cylinder part in the design of Newcomen. However, one of the main reasons for repeated failures in research and development is that the manually hammered tin cylinders always leak air.

    James Watt,one of the inventors of the steam engine

    At this time, the emergence of Wilkinson played a huge role in improving the steam engine. While Watt was proud of his true 3 / 8-inch thick cylinder, Wilkinson already had his own lathe.

    As a steel master, Wilkinson invented the barrel boring machine in 1774, which was the first real boring machine in the world.

    Wilkinson’s barrel boring machine,originally used for casting munitions

    In 1775, Wilkinson used this barrel boring machine to boring the cylinders to re-manufactur the flawless cylinders of Wattner to meet the requirements of Watt steam engines. Of course, Wilkinson, as a businessman, also obtained the exclusive supply of the Watt steam engine cylinder.

    In order to boring larger cylinders, he also manufactured a water wheel driven cylinder boring machine in the same year, which promoted the development of steam engines. From then on, the machine tool began to be driven by the crankshaft through the steam engine. For the machine tool and the steam engine, this assisted and promoted common development, and the era of a vigorous industrial revolution went to the extreme.

    cylinder boring machine made by Wilkinson for forging larger cylinders

    Watt steam engine modified with a cylinder made by a cylinder boring machine

    Invention of the Machine Tool during the Industrial Revolution

    The name Mozley is naturally inseparable from the machine tool. In 1797, the father of the machine tool industry made the first thread cutting lathe with a screw rod and a polished rod. , Can turn threads with different pitches.


    Since then, Mozley has continued to improve the lathe. The lathe he manufactured in 1800 replaced the triangular iron rod frame with a solid cast iron bed, and replaced the gear pair with an idler gear, instead of replacing the screw with a different pitch to turn different thread pitches. This is the prototype of the modern lathe, which is of great significance to the British Industrial Revolution.


    The time goes to the 19th century. Due to the development of various industries, the need to apply to different types of machine tool cameras appeared. In 1817, Roberts invented the gantry lathe, and Whitney from the United States manufactured a horizontal milling machine. These two machine tools can be used for parts manufacturing needs in different industries. With the development of the industrial revolution, machine tools are also constantly developing.



    The best nineteenth-century mechanical technician was Whitworth, who built a length measuring machine in 1834. The length measuring machine can measure a length error of about one ten thousandth of an inch. In 1835, Whitworth invented the hobbing machine at the age of 32. It is also recommended that all machine tool manufacturers use standard threads of the same size, which are used as standard threads in various countries.


    In order to improve the degree of mechanization and automation, in 1845, Fitch in the United States invented a turret-type hexagonal lathe.


    In 1873, Spencer of the United States made a single-axis automatic lathe, and soon he made a three-axis automatic lathe.


    The industrial revolution itself is an explosive development. In this big bang, the machine tools of this period are also constantly developing and changing. For the higher efficiency of industry and production, they are constantly improving. The inventors of these machine tools are indeed It was born in this life.

    With the development of electric motors, machine tools have also been upgraded from steam power to motor drives. This is another cross-generation improvement. It can be seen that from manpower to water power, from steam drive to electric drive, this process has taken humans for hundreds of years Distance.

    A man who “mounted the world on wheels”

    If you want to pick out people who have influenced all of our lives, you can’t ignore Henry Ford. A historian 100 years from now is likely to conclude that Ford has the biggest influence on all manufacturing industries in various places, even today, because he began to adopt a new manufacturing Car approach.


    Ford once suggested that cars should be “lightweight, sturdy, reliable and cheap.”
    In order to achieve this goal, high-efficiency grinding machines must be developed. To this end, American Norton made large diameter and wide grinding wheels from diamond and corundum in 1900, and heavy-duty grinding machines with large rigidity. With the development of grinding machines, the machinery manufacturing technology has entered a new stage of precision.

    Grinding machine invented according to Ford’s proposal

    The improvement of manufacturing tools has also promoted changes in the manufacturing method itself, from producing a car in 12 hours to producing a car in 1 hour. In October 1908, the first standardized car, the Ford Model T, went off the assembly line.

    In 1913 Ford reformed the entire process of assembling cars. The partially assembled vehicle hooked by a rope was dragged past the worker, who assembled only one component at a time. Soon, Ford produced hundreds of thousands of cars a year, which was an outstanding achievement at the time, which was the first assembly line in the true sense of the manufacturing industry.

    Ford and the car production plant he invented

    Ford and the car assembly line he invented

    The assembly line has greatly improved the production efficiency of the manufacturing industry

    assembly line has become the standard configuration of the factory

    Equipped with cars to complete the assembly line

    Until today, more than 100 years later, automobile assembly still uses the assembly line invented by Ford, but the machine has replaced labor.

    Development of CNC machine tools

    After years of World War II, the manufacturing industry maintained its pre-war development level. The operator operates the electric machine bed manually to make the machined parts according to the requirements of the design drawings. Although this production method is more efficient than the steam era, people’s hearts will never be satisfied.

    How can we be faster and more efficient, and how can we solve some technical problems that cannot be solved in manufacturing? This is very important.

    Motor beds of various designs after World War II

    The emergence of CNC machining tools also has to thank the US military, without the needs of the US military, there will be no development of CNC machine tools.

    In the late 1940s, an American engineer named Parsons conceived a method to punch a hard paper card to indicate the geometry of the part to be processed, and use a hard card to control the movement of the machine tool. Although others just thought about it at first.

    Parsons showed his idea to the US Air Force in 1948, and after reading it, the US Air Force expressed great interest because the US Air Force was looking for an advanced machining method and hoped to solve the problem of machining aircraft prototypes.

    Due to the complex shape of the model, high precision requirements, and difficulty in adapting to general equipment, the US Air Force immediately commissioned and sponsored the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to conduct research and develop this machine tool for rigid cardboard control.

    CNC machine model in the laboratory

    Finally, in 1952, MIT and Parsons cooperated to successfully develop the first demonstration machine. Due to the large number of electronic tube components, the control device was larger than the machine tool body.

    Beginning in 1960, various countries successively developed, produced and used CNC machine tools. In 1968, China’s first CNC machine tool was developed by Beijing No. 1 Machine Tool Plant. In 1974, the microprocessor was directly used in CNC machine tools, which further promoted the popularization and rapid development of CNC machine tools.

    Early CNC machine tools were used by the military to manufacture military products

    CNC machine tools have also experienced the development of six generations. The first three generations are the first stage. The numerical control system is mainly composed of hardware and is called hardware numerical control; the latter three generations are called computer numerical control. Its functions are mainly completed by software. From 1990, CNC machine tools began to use universal CNC systems.

    In the past 20 years, with the development of science and technology, the rise and continuous maturity of advanced manufacturing technology, higher requirements have been placed on numerical control technology.

    Fierce competition in the age of IOT

    Even computers have operating systems, and of course CNC machines are not far behind. At the EMO exhibition held in Milan in 2003, the Swiss company Mikron introduced the concept of intelligent machine tools for the first time, and now it can only be described as high-end machines.

    In 2006, at the 26th Chicago International Machine Tool Manufacturing Technology Exhibition held in the United States, Japan’s Mazak Corporation exhibited the NC machine tools with four smarts under the name of “Smart Machine Tool”. This step represents the future of CNC machine tools development of.

    The importance of CNC machine tools is no longer repeated. Take the previous “Toshiba Incident” as an example. This is definitely an important piece of equipment to help a country’s national economy and national defense development.

    Therefore, countries are racing to develop high-end intelligent CNC machine tools and systems. Among them, Germany and Japan have the fastest development momentum, and a large number of products are exported to foreign markets.