Mathy Machine Inc.

The Difference Between CNC Milling and CNC Turning Services

Computer numerical control (CNC) technologies play a pivotal role in manufacturing custom parts. It uses computer systems to automate the control of machinery and tools through numerical data input. This data instructs the machine on precise movements, speeds, and depths to create complex parts and objects from various materials.

Two commonly used CNC machining methods are milling and turning. These computer-controlled processes are fundamental in shaping raw materials into usable components. Understanding the difference between CNC milling and CNC turning is crucial for selecting the right method for specific applications.

What Is CNC Milling?

CNC milling uses computer-controlled machines equipped with rotary cutters. The process starts with creating a computer-aided design (CAD) model. The design is then transformed into a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) program, which guides the machine in moving and positioning the cutting tool with exceptional precision. The cutting tool — a rotating end mill made from materials like carbide or high-speed steel operates at high speeds to remove material from the workpiece.

This machining technology can craft components from simple flat surfaces to three-dimensional structures. It offers unmatched precision, consistent repeatability, versatile material compatibility, and faster production. Thus, CNC milling is widely used in multiple industries including aerospace, automotive, electronics, and manufacturing.

What Is CNC Turning?

CNC turning is a machining process specifically tailored to create cylindrical shapes and components such as hubs, shafts, and pins. The workpiece is mounted in a lathe, and the program controls the precise movements of the cutting tool, removing material to create the desired shape.

Today, most manufacturing companies offer CNC turning services, thanks to the method’s efficiency in crafting precise parts. It is widely employed across automotive, aerospace, electronics, medical, oil and gas, defense, and general manufacturing industries. The benefits of turning CNC include high precision, efficiency, versatility, and cost-effectiveness.

Understanding the Difference Between CNC Milling and CNC Turning

While CNC milling and turning both fall under the umbrella of subtractive manufacturing processes, they significantly differ in how they operate. The fundamental distinction lies in the movement of the cutting tool and workpiece.

In milling, a rotating cutting tool moves along multiple axes to remove material from a stationary workpiece. Milling machines can cut in different directions (typically X, Y, and Z axes), allowing for various shapes and intricate designs.

Conversely, turning involves shaping a rotating workpiece using a stationary cutting tool. The cutting tool moves radially and axially to remove material from the workpiece, primarily creating cylindrical shapes.

CNC milling and turning are suitable for crafting parts of varying sizes and across various materials. However, each process has unique advantages and is better suited for particular applications. For instance, milling is suitable for creating complex shapes, including slots, pockets, and intricate 3D profiles. Meanwhile, turning is ideal for cylindrical or round-shaped parts, such as shafts, pins, and bushings.

CNC Milling and Turning Services From Mathy Machine

Mathy Machine, Inc. has been setting industry standards since 1975! Specializing in CNC machining of incredibly tight-tolerance and ultra-high complex components, our precision has been trusted by the government, defense contracts, and high-profile industries. Our expert technicians and state-of-the-art equipment can accommodate anything from single-component projects to large-scale production while ensuring unmatched quality.

Contact us today or request a quote to experience precision that exceeds expectations.