Numerous industries rely on the precision and quality that CNC machining processes provide. CNC milling is one of the most popular processes leveraged by manufacturers to create batches of custom components and high-volume orders of mass-produced parts. The automated processes and equipment used for CNC machining create extremely accurate parts with a high rate of repeatability between all goods in the production run. This blog will discuss some of the many industries that use CNC milling.
Aerospace components need to be highly precise to ensure proper fit and performance within complex assemblies. Aerospace OEMs and suppliers count on CNC milling to deliver this level of required precision. Manufacturers may also combine the precision of CNC milling with digital design software that simulates product performance in real-world conditions to verify tolerance requirements in advance of production.
Some of the parts most commonly produced with CNC milling include:
Aircraft seat frame support rails
Jet engine impellers
Farm equipment must operate reliably in harsh conditions without the risk of breakdowns or malfunctions. CNC milling processes quickly produce standard and custom parts used in virtually any type of machinery or agricultural vehicle. CNC milling can handle most metals and many non-metal materials. Agricultural parts created through CNC milling can also undergo a diverse range of surface treatments that further imbue them with beneficial characteristics, such as corrosion resistance and improved hardness, that will improve their ability to tolerate harsh operating conditions.
Typical machined parts in the agricultural industry include:
Automated technologies have dramatically sped up the design, testing, production, and assembly of vehicles. CNC milling and other CNC machining processes have become a staple in automotive manufacturing for their ability to create high volumes of interchangeable parts quickly and reliably.
While CNC lathes create drive shafts, piston rods, and other cylindrical components used in automobiles, CNC milling produces a wider variety of parts and components for the automotive sector, such as:
Engine block cylinders
CNC machining processes quickly produce hundreds or thousands of identical parts with small dimensions and extremely tight tolerances. CNC mills and turning centers can be used on polymers and other synthetic materials, non-conductive dielectric materials, and conductive metals, making them useful for constructing computer hardware, protective assemblies, and more. Easy tooling setup and fast production make CNC equipment well-suited for manufacturing high volumes of small electronic components within tight tolerances.
Some of the electronic components created through CNC milling include:
Component support brackets
Switches and panels
CNC milling produces parts for every facet of energy production, including standard fossil fuel production, renewable energy, nuclear power, and more. Numerous support industries also rely on CNC milling and machining to create strong parts that can handle harsh operating conditions, such as those found in oil and gas rigs and refineries, or mining machinery.
Examples of CNC-milled parts that directly or indirectly support the energy sector may include:
Gears and housings for oil and gas rigs, pipelines, and refineries
Pump handles for pipelines
Solar panel frames and rails
Turbine blades and bearings
Covers, housings, and impellers for hydroelectric turbines
Electrical components such as gearbox housings, gears, and rotors
Medical manufacturers use CNC milling to create a variety of complex parts and components used in medical devices and equipment. The versatility of CNC milling also helped many manufacturers in other industries pivot to creating personal protective equipment (PPE) and emergency medical products during the COVID-19 pandemic. Machined goods for the medical industry include:
Custom sterile packaging
Heat-resistant plastic equipment
Precision surgical tools
Shields and enclosures
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Although CNC milling and CNC turning have similarities, they are very different processes relying on different types of equipment and tooling. Understanding the differences between these two methods of CNC machining will help you to determine which method will best suit your project.
A mill holds the workpiece in place while moving rotating cutting implements around it to remove material in accordance with a specified design. Depending on the capabilities of the specific machine, CNC milling machines can work on up to five axes and often conduct numerous operations simultaneously. Since the tooling can move in multiple directions, it can provide more dimension to a workpiece.
Its versatility makes CNC milling the optimal choice when machining complex components that require a high level of detail. Parts that benefit from CNC milling include:
This type of machining may make use of a range of different tools depending on the properties of the workpiece. Each tool enables a different type of cutting method, such as face milling, end milling, or hollow milling.
What is CNC Turning?
CNC turning will mounts the workpiece horizontally or vertically, depending on the specific machine and the details of the workpiece. The workpiece rotates at high speeds while the machine’s tooling moves along its length to shave excess material from the part. The workpiece is held firmly in place by a chuck and may spin at different speeds depending on the operation being performed.
While CNC milling works well for complex parts, CNC turning is better suited for creating cylindrical, axially symmetrical parts. Components that may benefit from CNC turning include the following:
Custom hollow tools
The Difference Between CNC Milling and CNC Turning
Although CNC milling and CNC turning are both types of CNC machining, the key difference between them is which part is moving. For CNC milling, the machine will hold the workpiece in a static position while the rotating cutting tool moves around it to shape it into the desired part. With CNC turning, the process is reversed, with the workpiece rotating as a stationary cutting tool removes material. In addition to this key difference, CNC milling and CNC turning differ in several other areas.
Chips. The differing types of cutting mean that these methods of CNC machining produce different chips. CNC milling will always create discontinuous chips, as the cutting tool will move around to shape the complex part. CNC turning may produce fragmented, continuous, or discontinuous chips, depending on the type of workpiece.
Cutting. Since the workpiece continually spins against the cutting tool, CNC turning provides continuous cutting. CNC milling is more disjointed, cutting intermittently.
Tool features. CNC turning utilizes a fairly simple cutting tool with a single point. Since CNC milling is more complex and works on a variety of axes, these machines will utilize a more complex multi-point cutting tool.
Uses. CNC milling is ideal for parts with irregular or flat surfaces. CNC turning can only work on cylindrical parts.
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Since 1997, PEP Manufacturing has been providing our customers with high-quality machining solutions. To learn more about how we can meet your CNC machining needs, request your quote today.
Computer numerical control (CNC) turning is one of the most commonly used manufacturing methods, with the ability to fabricate contoured cylindrical parts with exceptional accuracy and repeatability. Countless machines across industries rely on precision shafts and rods to operate. These shafts and rods typically get created using the turning process because of its ability to reliably create axisymmetric parts. In this blog post, we’ll go over the CNC turning process and the types of parts that the process can produce.
In CNC turning, a cutting tool moves linearly in conjunction with a rotating workpiece. A lathe rotates the workpiece at high speeds, while the cutting tool gradually reduces the workpiece’s diameter in accordance with the specified part design. The CNC process is performed until the workpiece reaches the designated dimensions and forms a completed part.
There are four types of CNC turning: taper turning, straight turning, external grooving, and profiling. Each of these processes can produce different shapes, including conical, straight, grooved, or curved workpieces. Regardless of the specific process, turning typically uses single-point cutting tools that achieve sets of angles that are unique to each workpiece material. Most CNC turning centers and lathes can also accommodate tooling for additional secondary processes, such as boring and drilling.
What Parts Can CNC Turning Make?
CNC turning services are highly versatile, which makes them ideal for industries ranging from engineering and aerospace to fine art. Typical parts made from CNC turning may include:
Metal components. Countless automotive, aerospace, and heavy machinery applications rely on turned metal shafts, rods, and other various components. Common metal materials used in these parts may include aluminum, brass, and steel.
Acrylic components. CNC turning is a popular method for creating cylindrical acrylic parts, such as components for signage, machine parts for microfluidic devices, and decorative items such as ornaments and art pieces.
Electronic components. CNC turning is valuable for manufacturing various electronic components, including components used in printed circuit boards. Computer-controlled manufacturing processes have made these parts smaller and more efficient than ever before.
CNC Turning Services from PEP Manufacturing
CNC turning produces a broad variety of high-quality parts and products, but it’s important to find the right provider to ensure quality and reliability. At PEP Manufacturing, we can provide reliable CNC turning services using state-of-the-art technology in conjunction with our skilled operators. When you turn to us, you’ll benefit from extensive quality management, reverse engineering, fast turnaround times, and certification for government contracts. We always work to put our customers first and have a long history of satisfied customers and repeat business.
If you would like additional information about our CNC turning services and other machining capabilities, please contact us with any questions or request a quote today.
Computer numeric controlled (CNC) milling is a manufacturing method that operates multi-axis cutting and grinding tools through the use of computerized software. It is a subtractive process designed to strategically remove material from a workpiece to produce the desired shape. CNC milling is one of the most popular fabrication processes for complex components due to its exceptional speed and precision.
The automation of the process allows for added precision while reducing labor hours and the potential for human error. Because milling removes small amounts of material at a time, it is ideal for secondary and finishing processes on workpieces that have already been machined.
Effective CNC milling relies on high-performance machinery that incorporates a cutting tool, spinning tool, and feeder. Cutting tools on CNC milling equipment incorporate numerous sharp teeth suitable for cutting the workpiece. Spinning tools are used to turn the workpiece at high speeds on multiple axes, and the feeder uses the appropriate feed rate to move the material through the process.
The CNC milling process can vary depending on the type of product or component, but it generally follows these steps:
CAD Design. Engineers design a CAD model of the final product in 2D or 3D.
CNC Conversion. Once the CAD design is complete, it is exported and converted into a CNC machine program using CAM software. This program will control the movement and actions of the machine and its tooling.
Machine Setup. The prepared workpiece is attached to the work surface of the CNC milling machine. The operator then attaches the appropriate milling tools for the intended operation.
Perform Milling Operation. The technician will start the CNC milling process using the machine’s control interface. The machine will use the specifications provided by the uploaded design to direct tools on a vertical or horizontal axis to produce the desired part or product.
Common Milling Methods
CNC milling is a critical manufacturing process for a wide range of industries, including aerospace, transportation, marine, automotive, and oil & gas. As a highly versatile process, there are several CNC milling methods used to create components with specific characteristics.
The most common methods include:
Plain Milling. Also known as surface milling, this process cuts surface material while rotating on an axis parallel to the workpiece.
Face Milling. The cutting tool faces against the workpiece to remove material on a rotational axis perpendicular to the material’s surface.
Angular Milling. The rotational axis of the tool is at an angle to the workpiece to create angled cuts, grooves, and dovetail joints.
Form Milling. Form milling creates non-flat cuts such as contours, curves, and radii, and each type of curve requires a specific cutting tool.
CNC Milling Services From PEP Manufacturing, Inc.
As CNC technology continues to advance, more and more manufacturers benefit from the speed, precision, and cost-effectiveness of CNC milling. At PEP Manufacturing, we are committed to providing our customers with superior quality CNC machined parts and prototypes. With more than 20 years of experience, we have the in-depth knowledge and state-of-the-art equipment necessary to produce exceptionally accurate parts within even the most stringent specifications.
At PEP Manufacturing, we make it a point to incorporate the latest automated technology for every step of our manufacturing process. From CAD software to cutting-edge CNC systems, our seasoned engineers and technicians will take your project from conceptualization through production. Our ISO 9001:2015 certified facility features a fleet of DMG/Mori Seiki CNC machines, including lathes, mills, vertical machining centers, 5-axis turning, and robot-fed turning lathes. To learn more about our CNC milling services, request a quote today.