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The difference between CNC milling, CNC turning, and mill-turn machining

cnc milling cnc turning and cnc mill turn machining

CNC milling and CNC turning are the two most common types of CNC machining.

Both are controlled by computer program instructions and the cutting tool is guided to cut the material along a pre-determined path.

CNC milling and CNC turning differ in the way they work.

CNC milling relies on the rapid rotation of the tool to cut the material, which remains stationary or moves along a predetermined path.

CNC turning, however, is accomplished by rotating the material while the stationary cutting tool moves along a predetermined path.

The main difference between CNC milling and CNC turning is the difference in the object of rotation during cutting: the tool or the workpiece.

CNC Milling 101

CNC milling uses a cutting tool mounted on a rotating spindle, guided by a pre-set program to exert the cutting operation.

In contrast to 3D printing, this is the most common form of subtractive manufacturing.

The material to be cut is mounted on a worktable and moved along different paths by the table or spindle to achieve precise cuts in complex geometries.

multi axis CNC machining
CNC turning

CNC Turning 101

Like CNC milling, CNC turning relies on programming to control the cutting path of the tool.

However, during the turning process, the workpiece rotates at high speed and the tool moves and cuts along the cutting path guided by the program.

Turning is best suited for making cylindrical or radially symmetrical parts with high efficiency. Moreover, most lathes are capable of drilling, boring, and threading.

Mill Turn Machining 101

A turn-mill machining center combines the processes of milling and turning; it is actually a hybrid machine that allows the rotation of tools and workpieces.

Turn-mill technology meets the need for both turning and milling, allowing complex parts to be machined by as few setups as possible.

Therefore, turn-milling machining can not only ensure machining accuracy but also can greatly save machining time and increase productivity.

mill turn machining

choose your fit

Usually, a design can be realized by one or more machining processes, then the key to selecting the best process is to find the solution with the shortest machining time and the lowest machining difficulty, while ensuring machinability.

A good machining solution should overall coordinate all the processes involved, such as roughing, finishing, threading, grooving and chamfering, to plan the easiest and most time-saving machining path.

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