What Is CNC Machining?

CNC machining refers to the physical action of removing material from a work piece by a machining tool. Machining is an essential process used in manufacturing. Machining can be used to remove material from solid materials such as ores and rocks to hollow tubes such as bird feeders, shoes, pump jacks, etc. Machining is an important process used in almost every industry in existence.


There are two basic types of machining: Milling and Turning. In milling, materials are fed into a large drum or mold at a very high velocity whereas in turning, materials are fed through a small die in a grinding motion. Turning is often used when there is no need to polish or finish the workpiece; the material can be fed straight into the mold.

In machining, tools are used to cut, grind, drill and carve materials. The tools are either powered or hand-powered. The most common tool used in milling and turning are the lathe, which spins at a very high speed. A variety of other tools may also be used including grinding stones, abrasives and even knives. A power saw, a drill press, and a router are used for cutting, grinding and planning operations.

Although many machines are available to perform machining operations, manual operations still play an important role in machining. Cylinder tools, such as turning screws, wedges and ratchets, are used in milling operations to turn the workpiece to the correct diameter and pitch. Mounting blocks and guides are used to hold the workpiece in the desired position while the cutting, drilling and turning actions of the machine drive the materials to their proper specifications.

A wide variety of machine tooling is required to perform machining operations. Machine tooling includes core drills, turning hubs, extractors, camshafts, drill presses, cams, and lathes. A variety of attachments and accessories are also available to help machine operators carry out their tasks. These machine tooling, spindle fasteners, accessories and machine tools are designed to simplify the process of drilling, turning, milling and cutting.

The progress of machining operations is constantly evolving with new technology and computer applications. New machines, computer programs and accessories are constantly being introduced into the machining market. Machine tooling accessories continue to improve with the progress of modern machining and provide increased productivity, accuracy and efficiency for a variety of industries.

Machines have continued to evolve and incorporate new technologies such as CNC or “Computer Numerated Control” machines. Computer numerical controlled (CNC) machines are increasingly becoming popular with smaller companies and hobbyists due to their ease of use, relative lower cost and lower need for operator supervision. The CNC machines offer single point and multi-point cutting tools, which are usually operated using a hand-held remote control.

Single point CNC machines are often used for cutting hard materials such as steel. They are perfect for detailed engravings and for fine turning. Most CNC machines are driven by a computer. However, if you require more precision than a single point CNC machine can give, then you will require multi-point machine tooling and the type of machine tooling suitable for your work piece will depend upon the task that you need to complete. Multi-point machine tooling are suitable for detailed engravings, fine turning and for cutting hard and soft materials.