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Established 1905

(620) 251-6800
7am – 4pm
1502 S. Spruce St.
Coffeyville, KS 67337

CNC Turning vs. CNC Milling: What’s the Difference for Precision Machining Services?

Acme Foundry’s custom machining division offers high quality CNC turning and CNC milling solutions. These precision machining services are both utilized across a range of industries to manufacture highly accurate metal parts with complex designs and close tolerances.

The basic difference between turning and milling is that the turning centers rotate the workpiece, while milling centers use a rotating tool against a stationary workpiece.

Understanding the Differences Between CNC Milling and Turning Services

The CNC Turning Process

Turning machines secure cylindrical metal workpieces (generally called bar stock) in a chuck. The chuck then rotates the entire workpiece at very high speeds. A metal cutting tool presses against the surface of the workpiece – controlled via precise CNC programming. The friction between the rotating workpiece and cutting tool carefully removes metal and eventually produces a finished component with all of the desired shapes and geometries.

The CNC Milling Process

In the CNC milling process, the workpiece is held in place rigidly. Instead, the milling tool itself rotates (like a drill or grinder) to remove metal from the workpiece at precise angles, depths, and shapes. This is how CNC milling centers are able to achieve such complex, close-tolerance geometries from solid blocks of metal.

Turning vs. Milling Services: Advantages and Disadvantages

In many applications which require custom machined cylindrical parts, CNC turning is able to produce components more quickly and economically compared to milling. However, the turning process is not as efficient or as versatile for the manufacturing of non-cylindrical parts. In those cases, CNC milling services are more efficient while wasting less scrap material. Indeed, some complex non-cylindrical parts are impossible to produce solely on a lathe, requiring a CNC mill or mill-turn workstation.

Over 115 Years of Quality Machining Services

Located in Coffeyville, Kansas, since 1905, Acme Foundry has evolved into one of the nation’s leading foundries and CNC machining service providers. We specialize in the custom machining of gray iron castings along with complete foundry solutions. Our company is an ISO 9001:2015 certified American manufacturer dedicated to superior quality, consistency, and customer service.