Turning Vs. Milling: What’s The Difference For Precision CNC Machining?  

At Redline CNC, we offer both CNC turning and CNC milling, but a common question we receive is: ‘What’s the difference between CNC turning and milling?’.

To the uninitiated, CNC machining processes may seem broadly similar, and indeed there are some similarities between CNC turning and milling. However, the terms are certainly not interchangeable, as key differences exist which will influence which process is most suited to your component needs.

CNC Turning vs Milling: A Simple Explanation

In simple terms:

CNC Turning

In this process, the workpiece that is to be machined is rotated against a cutting tool, which moves in a linear direction to shave away material until the desired diameter or shape is achieved. Several cutting tools move around the bar to create the required feature.

Typically, CNC turning is used on round bar to machine it into a specific component.

CNC Milling

In CNC milling, the workpiece is held stationary while the cutting tool is spun against it to shape it. A milling cutter may have up to 150 cutting surfaces. Unlike CNC turning, milling is performed using various axes instead of a single cutting point.

Usually, this method is used with a rectangular or square bar, instead of a round bar.

CNC Milling vs. Turning: The Similarities

Despite the differences in methods, there are some similarities between CNC milling and CNC turning:

CNC Technology: Both milling and turning utilise the latest Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology, in which Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software ensures the highest precision of machining. Less human intervention is required during machining, so manufacturers can be confident of a fast and reliable way to achieve a constant high-quality output.

Subtractive Manufacturing: All CNC processes are subtractive manufacturing methods, meaning they remove material from the workpiece to create a desired size, shape, or style. Waste material is produced during machining and cutting fluid is often required to cool down the workpiece as heat is generated during processing.

Suitable For Metals: CNC milling and turning are both suitable for machining metals, including steel, copper, brass, aluminium, and titanium. Thermoplastics, too, can be machined, although soft materials (rubber and silicone) or hard materials (ceramics) cannot.

Contact Redline CNC For More Information

At Redline CNC, we can provide expert advice about which methods of CNC machining is best for your desired application. We are specialists in a range of CNC machining services, underpinned by our quality assurance and commitment to the finest standards.

To find out more, please call us on 01293 376257 or send us a message.


Image Source: Pixabay

Share this article