What is cnc milling and turning?

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What is cnc milling and turning?

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology has become more and more popular for metal machined parts in different industries in recent years, as it offers high precision and repeatability that can be impossible to achieve with manual processes alone. With so many CNC technologies on the market, it can be difficult to distinguish between them and what they are used for. While there are many similarities between CNC milling and turning, there are also distinct, important differences.

The main difference of cnc milling and cnc turning processing is: 

The turning machine is the workpiece moving, the tool does not move, Lathes (turning machines) are generally used to process parts such as shafts, sleeves, discs, pads, and processing inner holes, threads, bites, etc.






The cnc milling machine is that the workpiece does not move and the tool moves, it  can process any complex shapes and features with 3-4-5 axis cnc milling machines.

Cnc Milling Machining

CNC Milling

CNC milling is a manufacturing process that utilizes computer numerical control (CNC) to cut or shape materials. CNC mills are used in the production of a variety of products, including metal parts, wood products, and plastic items.

The CNC milling process starts with a CAD drawing of the part that needs to be manufactured. This drawing is then converted into G-code – a programming language that controls the motion of the CNC machine’s spindle and cutting tool. The G-code is then fed into the CNC machine, which executes it in order to cut out the desired shape from a block of metal.

CNC milling has been used for decades in various industries, but it has recently been making waves in the 3D printing industry as well due to its ability to create complex shapes at high speeds and low costs.

CNC Turning

CNC turning is an automated cutting process that create a desired shape in a workpiece by removing excess material. In the cnc turning process, the cnc lathe machine has two main components: the spindle and the chuck. The spindle is mounted on bearings at one end of the machine, while the chuck is mounted on bearings at its other end. The workpiece rotates between these two components as it moves through the various machining processes like roughing, finishing and drilling. 

cnc milling and turning machine


So when you wondering what is cnc milling and turning, which is best option for your custom projects, it’s simply to know “Both CNC milling and turning are the main process which using CNC techniques to control cutting tools to remove material from a workpiece to final desired shapes, more and more complex geometry parts that require cnc milling & turning machine to finish it to acquire high precision and efficiency.

In CNC milling, a computer controls a router that moves back and forth, or in a circular motion, along two or three axes. The computer uses coordinates from the design to cut away material from the workpiece according to the desired shape.

In CNC turning, a lathe is used to make parts with diameters larger than 2″ by rotating it around an axis. A computer program controls the movement of cutting tools that remove material from both sides of the workpiece in order to create shapes such as cylinders or cones.

Author: Mose Li

Author: Mose Li

Director of Project Engineering at 3Q Machining

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