Common Types of CNC Machining Processes


The 6 Most Common Types of Precision CNC Machining Processes

August 23rd, 2022

Some type of precision machining process is usually employed to turn the workpiece into the final end product. Material is removed in some manner to improve surface quality and tolerance levels. Modern manufacturers rely on the use of computer numerical controls, or CNC, during these machining processes to enable the conversion of special designs into exact shapes through multiple dimensions. This article looks at the six most common types of precision CNC machining processes.

What is CNC Precision Machining?

Machining involves shaping a workpiece in specific ways to meet the end user’s exact requirements and dimensions. CNC precision machining employs advanced, highly-computerized tools to perform these operations with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability. These levels of efficiency and consistency are nearly impossible to achieve through manual processes.

What are the 6 Most Common Types of Precision CNC Machining Processes?

A wide variety of CNC machining tools is used by manufacturers to remove unneeded material in a precise manner, while meeting even the most complex design criteria of a piece. Some of the most common processes include:

One – CNC Milling: This is probably the most common of the precision machining processes. Here, rotary cutters are used to remove any excess material from the workpiece. Within this classification, there might be different types of mills, such as chamfer mills, end mills, helical mills, hand mills, plain mills, and universal mills. Mills may have either a vertical or a horizontal orientation to approach the workpiece.

Two – CNC Lathe: With a CNC lathe, or tuning center, the material or workpiece is held in place on the machine. It is mounted on a main spindle and rotated on various axes. CNC lathes utilize a number of axes, from two to six or more, which allows for more complex components to be manufactured. The higher the number of axes, the more involved the machining abilities can be.

Three – CNC Drill: Creating precise, cylindrical holes in workpieces requires the use of a CNC drill. Excess material from the drilling action must be efficiently removed, to keep the drill holes neat and accurate.

Four – CNC Grinder: After the milling or lathe processes, a CNC grinder is generally used to provide a polish to the rough surfaces of the machined parts.

Five – CNC Laser Beam Machining (LBM): LBM is a thermal material-removal process that utilizes high-energy light beams to heat the material and cause it to melt, thereby creating a cut. The high degree of accuracy from the laser beam is appropriate for cutting, drilling, and welding.

Six – CNC Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM): This widely-used machining process uses thermal energy to remove unwanted materials from the workpiece. A series of isolated electrical sparks are created between an electrode and the workpiece. This process can only be used with electrically conductive materials such as aluminum, steel, stainless steel, brass, or copper.

There are many other types of precision CNC machining processes available in the manufacturing world today, but the best machine to use for the job at hand will always depend on the project, the degree of precision necessary, the budget, and the timeframe constrictions. The right combination of high-quality machining equipment is needed to satisfy the needs of various sectors including the automotive, hydraulics, aerospace, medical, and oil & gas industries.

Advantages of Precision CNC Machining

There are many advantages that can be achieved by using these common precision CNC machining processes. Because of the heavy use of computer control capabilities, these processes offer great accuracy, speed, and precision. Components with complex geometries can be consistently produced with tight tolerances, in even the highest of volumes. The surface finish is also smoother than that achieved through manual processes.

Learn More About Common Types of Precision CNC Machining Processes

Leveraging advanced equipment, techniques, and an ability to offer one-stop solutions, Impro was ranked as the 4th largest precision machining company globally, according to Roland Berger’s 2019 Report. We use state-of-the-art process technologies and equipment throughout our manufacturing operations. If you are interested in finding more information about our precision machining capabilities, please contact our team of experts today.


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