The Differences Between CNC Milling and Turning

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CNC Milling

CNC milling is a machine process which produces custom-designed parts or components by progressively removing material from the workpiece using rotating multi-point cutting tools and computerized controls. These systems usually have three linear degrees of freedom. They can move freely around the X, Y, and Z axes while the workpiece remains stationary. This limited dimensional operation reduces the speed of operations, making milling more suitable for prototyping and smaller production runs.

CNC Turning

CNC turning is a manufacturing process that involves holding bars of material in a chuck and rotating them while feeding a tool to the piece to remove material until the desired shape is achieved. As the desired shape is achieved through the removal of material, it is also known as subtraction machining.

CNC Milling and Turning: Applications and Types of Materials

Production Capabilities

The production capabilities of CNC milling include a range of processes, such as:

  • Chemical
  • Electrical
  • Mechanical
  • Thermal

CNC mills provide superior material conservation efficiency, which leads to a reduction in material costs over the machine’s lifespan. CNC mills fabricate products such as complex short-run production parts, precision components and parts, and prototype parts.

CNC turning lathes, on the other hand, are used to conduct operations such as:

  • Boring
  • Drilling
  • Facing
  • Grooving
  • Knurling
  • Parting

CNC milling and turning are used in a number of industries, including:

  • Woodworking
  • Electrical industry
  • Electrical discharge machining (EDM)
  • Metal removing (in automotive or manufacturing)
  • Material fabrication