Exterior of a luxury home with pool and interesting tiling

CNC Stone Cutting 101

Say you want an intricate design element for your home and you’re convinced stone is the perfect material. Before technological advancements of the last decade, you’d have to depend on an expert stone artist to sculpt this for you—costing you exorbitant amounts and long wait times based on the artist’s schedule. 

Thankfully, now there’s computer numerical control (CNC).

CNC stone cutting is a process that uses computers to control the movements of a cutting tool. This allows for intricate designs to be cut into stone without the need for manual labor.

A CNC stone cutting machine is often used for architectural and artistic purposes, such as creating sculptures and engravings, and it provides endless options in customizing your home stone design.

How Does CNC Stone Cutting Work?

CNC stone cutting is a process that has been applied to cutting technologies for many different materials, including woods, metals, and plastics.

A CNC stone cutting machine operates by cutting the stone with a diamond-tipped blade or a laser beam, which removes small chips of stone until the desired shape or pattern is achieved. The cutter head moves in three dimensions, allowing for more complex shapes to be carved out of the stone. It also produces a high-quality surface finish.

The CNC Stone Cutting Process

Although the process can range based on material and design, in general, the steps include: 

  1. A CAD drawing of the desired shape or pattern is created.
  2. The CAD file is translated into a G-code, which is the language that CNC machines use to operate.
  3. This G-code is then loaded onto the CNC machine and it begins cutting into stone that is mounted on a work table.
  4. The stone is then finished with a diamond blade or sanding belt.

What Did We Do Before CNC Stone Cutting?

CNC stone cutting is a more precise and efficient way of cutting stone than traditional methods, which evolved from: 

  1. Hand Stone Carving and Letter Cutting – We’ve come a long way from old-school methods involving a chisel and a hammer, though some artists still work in this medium. 
  2. Sand Blasting – Sand (or other abrasives) are shot through air compression onto stone. This is often used with rubber stencils to blast words or images into the surface.
  3. Diamond Cutting – Diamond tips are added to the edges of saws, drills, or grinders to cut through stone and shape slabs into smaller sizes. These may be computer-operated and utilize water to prevent overheating.
  4. Flaming – A jet torch at high temperatures combined with cold water is used to flake away the stone, either to smooth the surface or to carve into the stone. 
  5. Water Jet Cutting – High-speed water is used to cut through stone. 

These were some cutting-edge practices (no pun intended) in their time, but jumping to CNC stone cutting with 3D cutting and extreme precision was a leap indeed. 

What Kind of Stone Can Be Cut?

CNC stone cutting can be used on any type of stone, but it is most commonly used for:

  • Limestone – This natural stone is created beneath water bodies over millions of years. It is strong and durable with a heat-resistant and non-slip surface. It has a lovely range of soft colors.
  • Marble – From white Carrara to black Nero, marble is a beautifully veined stone that has been prized for its quality and beauty since ancient times. Marble is created as a result of the metamorphosis of a combination of rocks under intense pressure and temperatures. 
  • Adoquin – A light, durable stone, adoquin is quarried in Mexico. The result of volcanic ash compressed over millions of years, it’s unique and dramatic.

How Does CNC Stone Cutting Benefit Your Home?

So what does this technology do for you? If you’re ready to move ahead with home construction or enhancement, CNC stone cutting will benefit you, either behind the scenes or front and center. 

  • Design – Computer-aided design opens up endless possibilities for designs.
  • More efficient custom solutions – Because of the labor savings, there is less time and cost involved in custom stone-cut designs.
  • Quality stone when you need it – CNC stone cutting during the construction process makes it more efficient for stone to be cut down from quarrying, which gets materials where they need to go with less manual labor. 

Ready to Enhance Your Home With Custom Stone Features?

CNC stone cutting is a process that allows for more accuracy and efficiency when it comes to cutting stone. It opens up a world of possibilities for computer-aided custom design for your stone surfaces in addition to easing the stone working process during home construction. 

At Materials Marketing, it’s part of our mission to stay at the forefront of technology that can help our clients’ dream houses come to life. Whether you’re looking at a new build or enhancing the home you love, our stone pools, hearths and fireplaces, and architectural elements can provide classic beauty inside and outside your home. To learn more about the best stone for fireplace or arts and crafts fireplace designs, visit our blog for more information. 

For more about our design services and the top-quality products we offer, visit one of our eight showrooms near you or get in touch with our design team.

Sources: 

  1. Creative Mechanisms. Everything You Need To Know About CNC Machines. https://www.creativemechanisms.com/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cnc-machines
  2. Stone World. CNC Technology Brings New Era of Stone Fabrication. https://www.stoneworld.com/articles/90091-cnc-technology-brings-new-era-of-stone-fabrication
  3. Make Works. 8 incredible techniques and processes for working in Stone. https://make.works/blog/stone-processes