An Overview of CNC Turning and Milling Precision Machining Processes

In modern precise machining applications, CNC machining commands undeniable importance, primarily because it has evolved over the years to suit the technological trends. Even if the lathe machines were a traditional option to the metal machining processes, it was time-consuming and precision was always a concern. Over the years, various CNC machining processes have gained popularity. CNC turning and milling are now the two popular applications in several manufacturing companies across industries. CNC turning and milling services are certainly precise, quick, and less demanding in terms of human efforts. This post gives insights into these two significant precision machining processes.

What is CNC Machining and Why is it so Popular?

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is a modern machining technique that is considered as a superior substitute for traditional lathe machine operations. Traditional lathe operation is time-consuming, it requires attention to details to get precise dimensions, and it has a high potential for human errors. The CNC machining process involves less human labor and extensive computation and programmed intelligence. In this process, the computer numeric code is written by CNC Programmers/developers with the help of functional experts and set to run in the CNC machine operating system. The code is written based on different features to be machined on the workpiece. This means the feature and its dimensions are coded and run on the CNC system to get the desired object. CNC machines are utilized to perform operations like drilling, turning, milling, and more.

What is CNC Turning?

CNC turning is a machining process similar to the lathe turning process. The only difference is that the CNC turning process does not need continuous assistance from an operator. The operator can set the code and workpiece and can rely on the CNC machine. In this CNC turning process, the workpiece is mounted on a rotary chuck where a single point cutting tool is fixed on a tool holder. The motion of tool holders is bi-axial in X and Y axes. This means the tool is restricted to horizontal and vertical motions. The chuck is rotary, which means the workpiece rotates. As aforementioned, the CNC turning process is performed with a single-point cutting tool, similar to the one used in lathe turning. The tool inclination and operational travel distance are covered in the CNC code itself.

According to the records, the CNC turning process is three times faster than the traditional lathe turning process. It is specifically called the precision machining process owing to the accuracy of the dimensions.

The process is used for manufacturing products like screw leads, cylinders, pistons, mill axes, and so on.

What is CNC Milling?

CNC milling is a material removal technique that uses rotary tools. The workpiece in this CNC milling process is stationary. The tools can travel along X, Y and Z axes, which makes this process superior. CNC milling also involves a milling operational code to be set and run in the CNC operator system. CNC milling is often used for creating complex shapes with intricate detailing requirements. Owing to the tri-axial motion of the milling tool, the CNC milling process can be used effectively for making prototypes. Unlike the traditional milling process, CNC milling is up to the mark. The complex features can be created in the CNC milling process with ease. It requires no full-time assistance from an operator, and according to the records, this process takes one-third time as compared to traditional milling.

The CNC milling process is intensively used in automobile part manufacturing, aeronautical product manufacturing, prototyping, and so on.

What is the Difference Between CNC Turning and Milling?

Although the outcome of CNC turning and milling processes are utterly different from each other, metalworkers may get confused in these processes due to common CNC utilization. The differences in the CNC turning and milling processes are as follows.

  • CNC turning uses a single-point cutting tool, whereas CNC milling has a rotary cutting tool.
  • The tool feed direction in CNC turning is limited to X and Y axes, whereas in CNC milling the tool has three-directional feed travel.
  • CNC turning is often used to create simple cylindrical or tapered objects. On the other hand, CNC milling has no shape and dimension restrictions and can be used for complex parts.
  • CNC Turning is used to cut mainly round bar stock and CNC Milling utilizes rectangle, square and plate for workpiece configurations.

Since CNC turning and millings are precision and complex machining techniques, it is important to get services from trusted companies. BDE, Inc. is a CNC machine shop in Portland, Oregon, which provides these services on professional, industrial scales. For over 30 years, they have been serving aerospace CNC machining, automobile CNC machining, marine CNC machining, and many more. Therefore, if you require precision CNC turning and milling services, then BDE, Inc. is the company you can trust.

Your CNC Machine Shop in Portland, Hillsboro Oregon