CNC Machining Methods: Milling vs Turning

Cutting Tool At Mechanical Turning Metal Working

When discussing computer-driven machining of parts, it’s quite common today to think in terms of computer-aided printing or similar. These are common perspectives based on popular media. However, CNC machining is what is often applied on a practical basis for part fabrication and production. Technically referred to as computer numerical control machining, CNC machining also uses a computer to guide the tools in doing their work shaping a part. This can be done in two ways: milling and turning.

The big difference between the two methods involves the tools used to do the job. With milling, it’s the tool that does the rotating work. With turning, the part does the turning while portions and pieces are cut away. The two methods produce very different products that can be used in different ways.

CNC Milling

The CNC milling process generally works off of 3 different axes. This allows the tools to obtain the necessary angles as they pivot and move around the materials being worked. Technically referred to as X, Y, and Z coordinates, the tools apply their work, grinding and burring off the excess to create the shape of the part programmed in the associated milling computer. The process is extremely effective and useful for creating custom shapes and components that are entirely one piece and form, without welds or fusion that can ultimately weaken under pressure or vibration.

Advanced milling can apply additional axes for positioning advantage, with some of the more complex machines utilizing a 5-axis system. This provides extensive detail control which can include depth and diagonal shaping as well as curve control. As long as the shape can be programmed into the computer with the correct coordinates and detail, just about any physical shape can be fabricated as a solid piece using a CNC milling system. And that includes parts with extremely accurate and fine specifications, such as those found in aviation engine parts and scientific machinery or measurement assemblies.

CNC Turning

Unlike the milling process, which works around the material to be shaped, CNC turning involves cutting away at material with a tool while the material itself turns. The process is best applied to parts that need to be round or cylindrical in shape versus angular. Many types of products produced tend to be tubular components, cylinder rounds, shafts, conical shapes that form narrowing features, and similar. It is possible for CNC milling systems to produce the same, but it’s far more efficient and easier to do so with a turning system instead.

The shaping capability of turning happens with both speed as well as sharp cutting tools. Combined, the motion and cutting application peels off the excess stock to shape the final material. While the material being cut spins, the tool can move both into the center as well as outward, creating defined shapes by cutting away at the target material itself. Obviously, this approach won’t work with regards to angles as the material is always spinning, ergo why it works best with spinning applications instead.

Understanding the Difference Impacts Outcomes

Because of how different the two CNC machining methods are, they are best suited for specific types of part production. While many lump CNC machining together as a combination, the last thing anyone wants is to rely on a service that does the same with any part order that comes along. Evden Enterprises has been working for years with CNC machining, expertly crafting parts with the correct shaping process for the part design. Evden’s specialists are fully certified and accomplished craftsmen with CNC machining, utilizing the best approach that not only produces a high-quality end product but ensures the part has the greatest level of integrity and accuracy to specifications as well.

The key point for takeaway is that turning and milling are very different processes for creating parts and components through shaping. While they both fall in the category of CNC machining, the method of application and the type of end product produced are not identical. Evden Enterprises makes design production easy by adding in the necessary expertise that ensures your end product can deliver as expected without fault or design flaw from incorrect CNC machining treatment.