What is the difference between CNC turning and milling?

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Author : Davis Wu
Update time : 2023-07-20 18:17:59

CNC turning and milling are two distinct machining processes commonly used in manufacturing to create precise components. While they share some similarities, they differ in crucial aspects.

 

CNC Turning:

In CNC turning, the workpiece rotates, and a stationary cutting tool shapes it by removing material. This process is ideal for producing cylindrical or conical shapes, making it suitable for shafts, rods, and similar components. The cutting tools used in CNC turning are single-point tools, typically mounted on a turret or tool holder.

 

CNC turning machines usually have 2 axes (X and Z) to control the tool's movement and the workpiece's rotation.

 

CNC Milling:

In CNC milling, the cutting tool rotates and moves along multiple axes to shape the stationary workpiece by removing material. It is more versatile, capable of creating flat surfaces, slots, pockets, and complex 3D profiles.

CNC milling employs multi-point cutting tools like end mills, face mills, and drills, providing more cutting edges and varied cutting directions.

 

CNC milling machines can have up to 5 axes, enabling more intricate movements and the creation of complicate geometries.

 

Key Differences:

1 Workpiece motion: Turning involves rotating the workpiece, while milling moves the cutting tool along multiple axes.

2 Shapes produced: Turning is best for cylindrical and conical shapes, while milling is suitable for a broader range of shapes and surfaces.

3 Cutting tools: Turning uses single-point cutting tools, while milling utilizes multi-point cutting tools.

4 Machine complexity: Milling machines are generally more complex than turning machines due to the additional axes.

 

In summary, CNC turning focuses on cylindrical components, while CNC milling offers greater versatility, enabling the production of various shapes and features. Manufacturers choose between these processes based on the specific requirements of the part and the capabilities of their machinery.

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