What is CNC Milling?

Modern CNC milling machines perform complex machining of metal gears

In modern manufacturing, accuracy, and efficiency are key indicators of technological progress. Technology is developing rapidly. Traditional machining methods can’t meet the growing complex production needs. CNC milling is part of CNC technology. It has been accepted by customers for its unique machining advantages and wide range of uses. CNC milling technology is used everywhere. From aerospace to the production of everyday consumer goods, CNC milling technology is used everywhere, contributing significantly to the development and innovation of the manufacturing industry. We’ll cover the basics of CNC milling. We’ll focus on key technical details. We’ll also cover how it became a key part of modern manufacturing.

Table of Contents

Introduction to CNC Milling

CNC milling is a key machining technology in modern manufacturing. It uses Computer Numerical Control (CNC) to cut materials and make complex parts and assemblies accurately. Starting in the 1970s, as computers developed, CNC milling replaced manual operations. It became the standard in manufacturing. CNC milling greatly improved productivity, accuracy, and repeatability. It let us make complex parts that were hard or impossible to make by hand.

Operating a CNC milling machine for CNC milled parts manufacturing in an industrial environment

Key Components for CNC Milling

CNC milling machines have key parts. These parts make the machine work well. The key parts include the table, cradle, spindle, tool holders, power head, cutting tools, user interface, and lifting knee and column. The table holds the workpiece. The stand supports the table. The spindle drives the cutting tool. The tool holder or power head mounts and changes the cutting tool. The user interface lets the operator enter CNC programs and control the machine. The lifting knee adjusts the table’s height for different workpiece sizes. The column supports the whole machine.

CNC milling machines can be classified into various types. These include horizontal, vertical, multi-axis, column and knee, power head, fixed bed, and planer-type milling machines. Each type of machine has its specific areas of application and advantages. For example, people like vertical milling machines for their great visibility and easy use. Multi-axis milling machines are well known for their ability to machine complex shapes.

Yonglihao Machinery has many CNC milling machines. They can choose the best machine and path for each customer’s needs. This ensures fast and high-quality part delivery.

Display of multi-tooth metal milling cutters for precision machining of components in CNC operation.

CNC Milling Process

The CNC milling process covers several key steps from design to finished product. First, CAD software is used to create a 3D model of the part. The model contains the dimensions, geometry, and surface details. Next, the CAD model is turned into G-code by CAM software. G-code is the programming language for the CNC machine. The software also plans cutting paths, picks tools and sets cutting parameters.

After that, the CNC program is loaded into the CNC milling machine. The material to be machined is prepared and the cutting tools are set. Finally, the CNC program is started to execute the machining process. The machine will automatically follow the preset path until the part is machined. Throughout the process, Yonglihao Machinery’s team of pros will closely monitor the machining quality. They will do this to ensure that each part meets the customer’s requirements.

Interior view of a high-precision CNC milling machine fitted with complex cutting tools engaged in metal machining

Types of milling cnc Operations

Many types of CNC milling operations exist. Each type suits specific machining needs and part traits. Below are a few common types of CNC Milling Operations:

Face Milling: Face milling is common in CNC milling. Its main purpose is to produce a flat surface. In face milling, the tool’s axis of rotation is perpendicular to the workpiece’s surface. This alignment produces a high-quality surface finish.

Flat Milling (Plain Milling): Flat milling is also known as end milling. It is a milling operation where the tool axis is parallel to the workpiece’s surface. It is mainly used for machining flat surfaces or slots in the workpiece.

Angular Milling: In angular milling, the tool is set at a certain angle to the workpiece. This angle is used for machining beveled surfaces and angular grooves.

Form Milling: Milling with special form cutting tools can produce complex surfaces or special shapes. Form Milling is widely used in the processing of complex parts.

Comparison of Horizontal and Vertical Milling Machines: A Horizontal Milling Machine has a spindle placed horizontally. It is good for heavy workpieces or deep grooving. A Vertical Milling Machine has a spindle placed vertically. It is easy to operate and good for thin workpieces, like plates and shells. The choice of machine type depends on the parts’ needs and features.

Demonstration of precision CNC milling operations

Materials and tools

Milling cnc can machine many materials, including a variety of metals (e.g. aluminum, steel, stainless steel), plastics (e.g. ABS, polycarbonate), and composites. The materials chosen depend on the part’s application, needed properties, and cost.

Many cutting tools are used in CNC milling. They include end mills, face mills, insert mills, fly cutters, ball end cutters, and more. Each tool has its specific application scenarios and machining advantages. For example, end mills are for machining slots and contours. Face mills are for machining large flat surfaces.

Areas of application

CNC milling is widely used in many industries. These include aerospace, automotive, electronics, medical devices, and mold making. In aerospace, CNC milling is used to make aircraft parts and other key components. They need to be precise and reliable. The automotive industry uses CNC milling to make engine parts, body parts, and so on. In the electronics industry, CNC milling is used to produce precision parts, such as mobile phone cases, circuit boards, and so on.

Technology is progressing. It is expanding the things CNC milling can do. It will provide efficient and precise manufacturing solutions to more industries. Yonglihao Machinery is among them. It is a professional CNC machining service provider. We are always committed to using the most advanced CNC milling technology. We use it to provide customers with high-quality and high-efficiency machining services. We do this to meet the customized needs of various industries.

CNC milling machines produce complex parts for a wide range of applications


This article covers the basics of CNC milling. It includes types of operations, materials, and tools. It also covers a wide range of applications. CNC milling will continue to grow. It will get more precise, efficient, and versatile due to tech advancement and innovation. This will provide better manufacturing solutions. Yonglihao Machinery is a professional CNC machining service provider. We will keep using advanced CNC milling to provide high-quality machining services to our customers.


CNC Milling and CNC Turning are both precision machining technologies. But, the main difference is in the method of machining and the application scenarios. CNC Milling uses a rotating tool to machine a stationary workpiece. It’s good for complex parts and planar surfaces. CNC Turning uses a workpiece that is rotated in a fixture with a straight-line tool. It’s for machining cylindrical or rotating body parts.

CNC milling has several advantages over traditional methods: high precision, automation, and flexibility. It is controlled by computer programming, which allows precise machining of complex shapes. In contrast, traditional milling relies on the skill and experience of the operator. In addition, CNC milling can raise productivity and reduce human error. It is good for switching between mass production and single-piece production.

Milling cnc has many advantages. But, it has some limitations. These include high initial costs and the need for specialized skills. Also, making complex parts takes a long time for programming and machining. When choosing CNC milling as a machining method, you need to consider the part’s requirements. You also need to think about its cost.

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