The old proverb “necessity is the mother of invention” could never have rang more true for the story of NS CNC. Through ingenuity, experimentation, and vision, NS CNC has raised the bar for jewellers around the world. Coming from humble beginnings, this innovative, industry leading manufacturing firm understands the necessity behind every new feature and every new machine we make.
From the start, NS CNC’s founder – a talented artist with an extensive engineering background – needed to find new and better ways to craft his works of art. Always wanting to provide the best quality above all else, it became quickly apparent that the entire process of crafting jewelry needed to be rethought. In the 90s, making high quality, custom jewelry meant careful, tedious hand carving.
But as new computer technology developed and the possibilities for new jewelry designs exploded, new solutions needed to be found to achieve an artist’s vision. Combining this vision with the craft required to make it whole meant looking at the problem from a new angle… or 5.
As with most innovations, early steps are a bit simpler. NS CNC’s first mills were 3 and 4 axis versions. While these mills allowed designers to work in much greater detail than ever before, there was a degree of depth missing from the artwork. For the truly inspired trend setters; those willing to experiment and eager to adopt new technologies, the 5-axis MIRA-1 was released.
These designers continued to push the limits of what our mills could accomplish, working closely with NS CNC in the development process. There’s always a new and compelling challenge: elaborate designs, new materials, and of course entirely new applications. Under this close cooperation, the MIRA line has grown in function and versatility, while becoming easier to use. Feedback from our clients has helped us develop new processes for milling all kinds of materials for applications far beyond the jewelry industry.
The relationship between NS CNC and our clients has allowed us to innovate in ways we never could have imagined. What started as one man’s solution to his own artistic dreams has spread across industries, with NS CNC mills appearing around the world and in places we never expected when we started out.
Our mills are our now our business, our one focus, and our true passion. Each mill is built with our indisputable attention to detail, in our expanded facilities in the Vancouver area where we are rooted. We love what we do, and welcome you to experience New Solutions for yourself.
Ahead lies a journey through the evolution of NS CNC milling machines:
A voyage through blood, sweat, metal shavings, grease… all in the pursuit of that elusive vein of glittering gold:
An experiment gone right and one of the first mills ever made by NS CNC’s founder, this breakthrough marked the beginning of our journey towards the MIRA series. This 4-axis + mill embodied the precision and detail needed to make fine jewelry using a manually adjustable 5th axis. With this framework in hand, development on more complex machines could begin.
While most of our mills up to this point weren’t available for sale to the public, INGI marked a huge milestone for NS CNC. After more than 2 years in development, INGI was sold to a select few designers, and served as a high precision mill in the early days. This machine began to incorporate better components, advancing technology that had barely even hit the market on a commercial level.
With the success of previous models, and continued development over the next year, the MIRA-1 was born. Originally, this mill wasn’t intended to be a fully automated 5-axis mill. However, with designers building better and better CAD skills and developing more and more complex and detailed designs, the need for the technology was clear. Making its official debut at MJSA 2010, MIRA-1 sparked a whole new generation of 3D milling technology.
As with any new technology, the MIRA-1 left some room for improvement. So, we immediately began work on the next version. Very soon after the initial release of 5-axis technology to the market, MIRA-2 made its entry. The new design was slicker, waterproofing was added, and extra quality measures were taken to ensure precision in every cut.
Where the MIRA-2 was designed for precision wax milling, some designers were looking for strength above all else. This of course meant we developed the EVOKE. A versatile little mill, it works as a 3-axis mill for reliefs, 4-axis mill for jewellery (among other things), and as a solid lathe by simply switching out attachments. Soon, this mill became an industry staple quickly grew in popularity.
Once the EVOKE mill was ready, it was back to MIRA. This iteration, MIRA-2E, took the best of what MIRA-2 offered and added a few little tweaks that made a big difference. The enclosure kept milling debris contained while improvements to the rotary axis let the machine swing smoothly through operations. Perhaps most importantly, this version came with upgrades to the controls, improving the user interface and signal clarity. With this newly perfected model, designers were able to create some of the most ornate showpieces NS CNC has ever had the pleasure of facilitating.
With a continued focus on usability, MIRA-3 exhibited not only increased capacity and continued to improve quality, but it piloted our new CAM software. This software was brand new to the marketplace, and opened doors to designers around the world. Where previous models required a higher level of technical knowledge, these advancements would make 5-axis milling accessible to a much broader audience.
With new markets came new challenges, and the MIRA-X5 was up to the task. New materials, from soft modeling wax to solid metal were easily conquered by this machine. With a completely enclosed work area to keep debris safely trapped, the machine utilizes a smart control system to deliver high precision models in almost any material.
Not to be slowed down, NS CNC continued work on jewelry focused mills. Now, with nearly a decade of experience making 5-axis mills, we were able to draw on past success (and some missteps) to create a machine that embodied simplicity, convenience, and aesthetics with an easy user interface and the enhanced automation of “Smart Rotary Heads” developed in MIRA-X5. The MIRA-6 truly raised 5-axis milling to new heights.
Always working towards new heights and in the spirit of continual innovation, NC CNC is excited to announce its latest creation on the way, MIRA-X7. This new mill can be used on the widest assortment of materials of any of our mills, and boasts an Automatic Tool Changer. This new development has been in the works for a long time coming, and we’re truly proud of this latest advancement.
NS CNC is very proud to say we manufacture our mills in our location near Vancouver, Canada. To achieve our high standards of precision and function, we keep close control over the manufacturing process, making many components in house. To do this, we use larger CNC mills to create uniform parts for our smaller, high precision mills.
Our own mills aren’t the only area where we’re constantly improving. In order to stay on top of new technology and to continue to be a market leader, we are continually improving our manufacturing processes and technology. As our counterparts in large CNC manufacturing improve, we utilize better tools to make smoother surfaces, meet strict tolerances, and maintain our reputation for excellence.
Creating high quality parts is one thing, getting them to work together is another entirely. Before a mill is sent out to a customer, it goes through rigorous testing and calibrations, inside and out. These are a few of the tools we use to make sure our mills meet and exceed our clients’ expectations of precision and quality.
Being a leader in our field means continual improvement and innovation. This mantra is a core part of NS CNC from top to bottom. Every new model we release was painstakingly engineered and experimented on until we got the result we were looking for. However, we’re a fickle bunch. By working closely with our clients to obtain critical feedback, we’re always looking for the next challenge to conquer.
We may be very good at what we do, but we can’t do it alone. NS CNC is a proud partner of ModuleWorks, and part of a larger family of CNC experts. With more than 100 companies in all aspects of the CAD/CAM/CNC business around the world, we are all united in developing the latest and greatest in machining technologies.