What is CNC Milling?

Using a variety of cutting tools, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining removes materials from a block, also referred to as a workpiece or blank. This subtracting manufacturing process is the opposite of 3D printing (or additive printing where the material is added to create a part or injection molding (where the raw material is molded into a part shape).

CNC milling holds the block or workpiece stationary on the machine bed or clamped in a vice while being cut. The CNC mill rotates drills or cutting tools at a high speed that can operate along a three linear axis.

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How does CNC Milling work?

CNC milling is made up of several steps in the process:

  • CAD model is drawn on a computer by an engineer or designer.
  • The CAD file is transferred into a CNC-readable program, also known as G-code. This G-code is used to set up the CNC milling machine.
  • Material is removed from the workpiece using specialized tools rotating has extremely speeds. Accuracy is achieved after initial passes are made and precise amounts of material are removed in the finishing passes.
  • After milled, the part is deburred, which is a manual process of removing small defects from sharp blade edges by hand. The component is inspection and ready to use.
What part types can CNC Milling produce?

CNC milling is used to produce many parts and geometry types. With tight tolerances and high accuracy, CNC milling is a 3-axis rotating tool and the most common type of CNC machine. In fact, the term CNC milling is often used interchangeably with CNC machining.

CNC milling parts are typically:

  • Complex planes
  • Curved surfaces
  • Shell parts
  • Connecting rods
  • propellers
  • Component housings

Buyers should be aware that CNC milling isn’t suitable for parts with:

  • thin walls
  • deep cavities
  • cutouts on the inner wall of parts
Why should Buyers consider CNC Milling?

For precision parts production, CNC milling really can’t be beaten. Buyers are guaranteed extreme accuracy of CNC milling parts that is unmatched from traditional milling methods. Parts production offers a high degree of repeatability resulting in high-quality, exact accuracy whether for a single component or many parts.

What materials can be used in CNC Milling?

Like all CNC machine types, CNC milling can process almost any kind of material. Aluminum, brass, steel, copper, and titanium can all be used. Likewise, foam, fiberglass, plastics, and wood can be milled using CNC machining. Typically, only the application limits the type of material to use.

Materials that can be used with a CNC milling process include:

  • Metals and alloys: steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, brass, and more
  • Plastics: Polypropylene, polycarbonate, PTFE, nylon, and more
  • Wood, fiberglass, and foam

How can I find a quality CNC Milling supplier?

SyncFab provides a readily-available network of U.S.-based CNC milling and machining shop suppliers to fulfill orders quickly, economically, and to the highest quality. As a distributed manufacturing platform, SyncFab offers buyers a supplier network that allows handles the RFQ process, manages orders, and tracks production in a secure, online environment.

SyncFab vets CNC milling suppliers to ensure shops have the capacity, qualifications, certifications, and experience to deliver. The SyncFab platform handles the documentation and communication making ordering, receiving, and purchasing precision parts simple.

Learn more about the SyncFab network and what it can do to simplify your precision parts procurement. Begin Ordering Parts!

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