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CNC Turning vs Milling – What is the Difference

CNC Turning vs Milling

Turning and milling are both machining processes that are used to shape and finish metal parts. However, they have some significant differences in terms of the tools and techniques used, as well as the types of parts that are produced.

What is Turning Process?

Turning is a machining process that is used to create cylindrical parts. The process involves a cutting tool, typically a single-point cutting tool, that is moved along the axis of the workpiece while it is rotated. The cutting tool removes material from the surface of the workpiece, creating the desired shape. Turning is typically used to create parts such as shafts, bushings, and bearings.

What is Milling Process?

cnc milling process

Milling, on the other hand, is a machining process that is used to create flat and irregularly shaped parts. The process involves a cutting tool, typically a multi-point cutting tool, that is moved across the surface of the workpiece. The cutting tool removes material from the surface of the workpiece, creating the desired shape. Milling is typically used to create parts such as gears, cams, and dies.

Turning vs Milling – Difference Explained

One of the key differences between turning and milling is the type of cutting tool used. In turning, a single-point cutting tool is used, which is a tool that has a single cutting edge. In milling, a multi-point cutting tool is used, which is a tool that has multiple cutting edges. This means that in turning, only one cutting edge is in contact with the workpiece at a time, while in milling, multiple cutting edges are in contact with the workpiece at the same time.

Type of Movement

Another difference between turning and milling is the type of movement of the cutting tool. In turning, the cutting tool moves along the axis of the workpiece while it is rotated. In milling, the cutting tool moves across the surface of the workpiece. This means that in turning, the cutting tool is moving in a circular motion, while in milling, the cutting tool is moving in a linear motion.

Type of End Product

The type of workpiece that can be produced using turning and milling are also different. Turning is typically used to create cylindrical parts, while milling is typically used to create flat and irregularly shaped parts. The complexity of parts that can be produced is also different. Turning is suitable for simple shapes such as cylinders, while milling can produce more complex shapes.

Precision

Another significant difference between turning and milling is the precision of the final product. Turning is generally considered to be more precise than milling. This is because the cutting tool in turning is moving along the axis of the workpiece, which is a more predictable movement than the cutting tool in milling, which is moving across the surface of the workpiece.

Equipment Required

In terms of the equipment used, turning typically requires a lathe, while milling typically requires a milling machine. Lathes are used to rotate the workpiece while the cutting tool is moved along its axis, while milling machines use a multi-point cutting tool to remove material from the surface of the workpiece. Lathes are generally less expensive than milling machines and are more common in small shops and home workshops.

Conclusion

In conclusion, turning and milling are both machining processes that are used to shape and finish metal parts. However, they have some significant differences in terms of the tools and techniques used, as well as the types of parts that are produced. Turning is used to create cylindrical parts, while milling is used to create flat and irregularly shaped parts. Turning is generally considered to be more precise than milling and requires less expensive equipment. The choice of which process to use will depend on the specific requirements of the final product.

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