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CNC Milling VS CNC Turning--The Differences Explained

Author: Devin Wang     Publish Time: 04-02-2022      Origin: Site

CNC machining is a rapid manufacturing process that transforms concept designs into reality. It turns the 3D design into metal or plastic parts by selectively cutting material. Many companies in different industries like automotive, aerospace, medical devices, home appliance need CNC machining services to make prototypes and precision parts.

Although CNC machining comes in many different forms, all CNC machining technologies follow a similar workflow—software translates digital designs into machine instructions that direct the CNC machine to cut material. This article mainly discusses the differences between CNC mills and CNC turning.

Turning Vs Milling Overview



CNC milling is one of the most common CNC machining services that machinists can use to create many different CNC machined parts. Many rapid prototype companies use CNC mills to make functional prototypes.

CNC mills move a rapidly rotating cutting tool along three or more axes by following computer instructions. It removes material in a controlled manner when the spinning cutting tool contacts the workpiece. 

Most CNC milling machines keep the workpiece stationary and use a vice to hold the workpiece on the machine bed. However, multi-axis CNC mills will rotate the workpiece to create more cutting angles which allow machinists to create more complex parts without manually reorienting the workpiece.

What is CNC Turning?


CNC turning is a form of CNC machining that machinists use to create round, cylindrical, and conical parts. Machines that manufacture CNC turning parts are called CNC lathes or CNC turning centres. The difference between CNC turning and CNC milling is that CNC turning rotates the workpiece but does not rotate the cutting tool. The cutting tool is fixed at the turret and moves toward the rotating workpiece and removes material where necessary.

CNC lathes can cut the outside of the workpiece or create tubular CNC machined parts by boring through the inside of the workpiece.

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