What Is Lathe and Milling: What’s the Difference?

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What Is Lathe and Milling: What’s the Difference?

Lathes and milling machines are two essential machines used in the manufacturing industry, they are Subtractive manufacturing involves cutting away from a solid block of material. It could be a block of, for example, metal, plastic, or wood. A milling machine or lathe machine cutting/hollowing out a piece of metal or plastic is an example of subtractive manufacturing. 

Lathe and milling are two manufacturing processes that are similar in many ways, but there are also some important differences: Lathes are usually used for producing cylindrical or conical objects while mills are mainly used for making flat surfaces on the work piece by cutting away excess material.

  • 1. Lathe is a process that uses a rotating cutting tool to shape metal or other materials through the removal of excess material from the workpiece. Milling is also a process that uses rotation to cut away material from the workpiece, but it uses a stationary cutting tool.
  • 2. Lathes use more power and can be used to create more intricate shapes than mills. Mills can be used for rough shaping of metal pieces before they are finished with lathing, while lathes cannot be used for this purpose, but the advanced 5 axis cnc milling machine can make high precision parts with complex geometric shape.

1. What is a lathe and cnc lathe?

A lathe is a type of rotary tool that can be used to create shapes that are symmetrical around an axis. The workpiece (the piece being shaped) rotates while the cutting tool moves back and forth, cutting the workpiece with each passThe lathe can be used to create a variety of shapes, such as round objects like table legs, chair spindles, and candlesticks.

Lathes can be manual or CNC (Computer Numerical Control). In manual lathes the workpiece is rotated by hand while the cutting tool is moved by hand or with power feed. In CNC lathes the workpiece is rotated by an electric motor while the cutting tool moves through a programmable path under computer control.

2. What is a milling and cnc milling?

The milling machine is the most common machine tool used in metalworking and manufacturing. A milling machine is a machine that cuts away material from a solid block of metal or other material. It uses rotating cutters to remove material by cutting off small chips, which are then ejected from the machine.

It can be used in both manual and CNC mode. The manual mode is used for the shaping of metal pieces that have already been cut to size, such as for machining castings, or for producing a rough surface finish on sheet metal. In CNC mode it can be used to produce complex shapes from raw materials by removing excess material as it moves along its cutting path.

The milling process can be broken down into three stages: cutting, turning, and finishing. Cutting is the first stage of the milling process, where the workpiece is cut into sections with an endmill or other type of rotary cutter. Turning removes excess material from the surface of the workpiece using a continuous rotation motion on a horizontal axis. Finishing is the final stage of milling, where any remaining roughness or burrs are removed from the surface of the workpiece.

Picture of Author: Mose Li

Author: Mose Li

Director of Project Engineering at 3Q Machining

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