The Difference Between Milling and Welding for Fabrication

Sparks Fly Out Machine Head For Metal Processing Laser Metal On Metallurgical Plant Background

When it comes to forming metal constructs and shapes, the two most common methods used today without bolt attachments are either welding or milling. With milling, the metal is shaped from a larger block to the desired shape. With welding, separate pieces are bonded together molecularly with heat, taking advantage of metal’s malleability when its temperature is raised. For many, the end product seems to almost look the same. However, to an experienced constructor, the differences are obvious. Engineering-wise, there is a dramatic set of strengths and weaknesses to both options as well.

Milling Background

The fundamental behind milling is the essence of filing. Milling is just a more efficient, motorized method of doing the same. By removing material from a block of metal or similar, a shape can be formed. People have been milling for centuries, first with stone and wood and then with other materials. Today, milling is done with a combination of motorized drills, sanders, grinders, and press machines. The piece to be worked on is held in position with an axis and clamps, and then the tools are applied with speed to produce the shaping results. Today, milling can be applied from multiple angles, and simultaneously, with multiple angles applied. The results produce products that can have curves, depth, cavities, and similar.


With computer programming, milling machines perform their work extremely accurately and with great precision. The results end up producing shapes and units that are customized but strong, without seams or cracks. The complexity of intricate shaping is entirely possible as well, such as gear teeth. The process also makes it quite doable to add detail to the product as well. The production process can be managed very well, keeping the activity to product produced ratio very lean, avoiding waste, and maximizing output.


Milling machines, however, are extremely large units and require a lot of space to do their work. They make a considerable mess, even with the best of vacuums and cleaning, and the machines need regular maintenance to keep up their capability. Further, a good amount of professional skill is needed to manage one. They are not intuitive or easy to learn.

Welding Background

As mentioned earlier, welding involves the bonding of metals together, usually using high heat. However, intense pressure can be used as well, which also creates its own energy release and heat. Because metal has such a high strength, even when attached to just melted spots, it can be used for many purposes. However, when the function involves load bearing, then the welding has to be substantial. Welding is often applied both for construction as well as for repair.

Welding is applied in a number of different ways. Arc welding is the most commonly heard version, but it requires technical know-how to apply. The process can either create a weld with a fed form of metal wire, or it can heat and melt the existing metal together. Alternatively, stronger metals like tungsten can be used for a bond, which in turn increases the strength of the mated parts.


Welding is quite usable in forming permanent connection points and junctions between bigger metal parts or ends. It is often used in connection piping and rods, for example. The skill of the welding helps determine the quality; high-end work is practically leak-proof. The bond is so tight, it can be penetrated. More than likely, the metal under strain will tear around the weld before the weld itself breaks. Welding at a lower temperature can also be used for bonding plastic components together.


Because the process changes the molecular structure of the welded area with heat, the integrity of the metal is changed as well. For the particular spot, it will be weaker in constitution than the same shape milled. This becomes evident when exposed to vibrations, which can cause cracking and ultimately catastrophic failure of the weld itself.

Differences in Application

Milling is best applied to shaping metal material and hard substances into specific shapes that are still one component without fusion, bonding, or connection to anything else. Tools and blades are common examples of milling. Larger shapes that need to remain one component for overall integrity are also produced by milling, especially when strength matters for function and stress management on the part. This is common with aviation engine parts, for example.

Expert Fabrication

Evden Enterprises has been producing CNC milled products and metal fabrication for all types of applications, from industrial to commercial. A key factor involved is not just the high-quality milling machinery used but the expertise applied as well. Evden specialists are highly trained in their application as well as the end product they produce. And it’s one of the number one reasons why Evden Enterprises continues to be a top candidate choice for priority CNC machining. Contact us!