CNC turning is the process of shaving off parts of a workpiece by rotating it as the machine’s tools maintain their position. CNC turning services are applied for producing a wide range of parts. CNC turning is a form of CNC machining, as is CNC milling. These two processes are often compared. This post covers the differences between CNC turning and CNC milling.
The differences between CNC turning and CNC milling
These two processes have several similarities. This makes it difficult for a lot of people to tell them apart. However, there are significant differentiating elements between these two processes. Below are some important differences between CNC turning and CNC milling;
The main difference between the two types of CNC machining processes lies in the technique used for creating parts. CNC turning is the process of machining parts (known as lathes) on a CNC turning center.
The machining is typically either horizontal or vertical. This depends on the weight or the tolerance of the workpiece (also known as the raw material).
On the other hand, CNC milling is more specific. It is similar to drilling and cutting. The process involves taking material from a whole workpiece until the desired shape is achieved. Note, this can be done through drilling or cutting of the workpiece.
2. The motion
One of the main differences between CNC turning and CNC milling is the part that moves. In CNC machining, two parts move. These are either the raw material or the machine itself.
In CNC milling, the material is usually held in place as the cutting tools rotate around it depending on the G-code instructions.
On the other hand, in CNC turning, the tools are designed to remain in the same position as the machined part moves. The material rotates at a specific speed to create an exact design or shape. Note that the workpiece does not move independently. It is held by a product known as the chuck. The chuck, then spins at various speeds, depending on the abilities of your CNC turning machine. Therefore, the rotation of the chuck is responsible for the rotation of the workpiece.
Another difference between these two processes is the application. CNC milling is used for machining flat and irregular surfaces. On the other hand, CNC turning is mainly applied for cylindrical and conical surfaces. CNC turning discontinuous, fragmented, and continuous chips can get produced, but CNC milling is mainly used to produce discontinuous chips.
4. Features of the tools
CNC turning applies single-point tools. On the other hand, CNC milling applies multi-point tools.
5. The cutting process
In CNC turning, continuous cutting is applied as the tool maintains constant contact with the raw material or workpiece. On the contrary, in CNC milling, intermittent cutting is applied. This is where the cutting tools simultaneously engage and disengage with the workpiece.
These two processes have their downsides and advantages. Regardless, they are both great subtractive manufacturing processes used for producing several types of products, using varying types of materials.