Demystifying CNC Milling and CNC Turning

by Reece

Computer Numerical Control(CNC) is a method used to automate the control of machine tools. It is a method that is currently being applied in various industrial fields. In the metalwork industry, CNC is applied to provide metalwork solutions such as turning and milling. So, if you are looking for CNC milling services or turning and you are not sure which is which, stick around.

CNC turning and CNC milling are quite similar processes, in that they remove material from a workpiece with the assistance of a cutting tool. People generally call them machining methods, but they also differ in how they operate to bring out the required results.

The main difference between the two processes comes in differentiating which part moves, the metal or the machine. CNC turning uses a rotating part for cutting while CNC milling uses a rotating tool. They use a different method to create a part. In CNC turning a metal bar is fed into the lathe and rotates at speed while a single-point cutting tool removes portions of the metal to create the desired shape. In milling the metal usually remains still while multi-point cutting tools rotate around it. A single-point cutting tool has only one cutting edge, which is used for increasing the size of holes or hollows. In contrast, a multiple-point cutting tool contains more than one cutting edge on the cutter body to produce different desired results.

The major function of a CNC Turning centre is that it turns the workpiece while the CNC milling machine is to turn the tool.

CNC Turning

Turning is most suitable for creating cylindrical parts such as hollow tubes and ring-shaped metals. CNC is the most efficient way to produce mass on-Centre objects since multiple cutting tools can be installed in the lathe tooling head to cut and create different items at the same time.

With the current advancement in technology, lathes can be manually set or programmed to run unmanned.

CNC Milling

 Milling machines create complex parts of all sizes and shapes by removing the excess material, and the parts do not have to be cylindrical. Milling machines use multi-point cutting tools, where there can be more than one tool working on the workpiece at a go. Milling is a suitable method for producing off-Centre workpieces which require extra details such as grooves, cuts or holes.

Milling uses a tooling head to shave off the unrequired material from a workpiece. The tooling head can be installed with multiple cutters to make the process faster and efficient. This type of milling is referred to as plain or face milling. A cutting tool can also be used to shape the edges of the workpiece in the required shape and size. This is commonly referred to as profile milling.

Milling is one of the best methods to produce high-quality parts.

As much as these two processes are referred to as CNC machining, they have their differences, and they are different entities which complement each other. With their differences, CNC turning and milling are both complementary methods for producing a wide range of customized metal products.

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