What Are The Primary Forms Of CNC Milling Operations?

by Robert P.

CNC milling is one of the most popular technologies used for manufacturing parts with high precision. CNC milling technology uses various cutting tools to work on a large piece of material into the desired part. In this technology, a block of material or workpiece is placed on a machine with clamps cut precisely and meticulously in a vice. The machine is controlled with a computer using CNC technology. You can learn more about CNC milling by reading through the content on this site. CNC milling features various CNC milling operations, which will be discussed below.

Types of CNC milling operations

Below are some of the primary operations in CNC milling;

1. Surface milling

Surface milling, also known as plain milling, is a process that uses a horizontal mill. This means that the cutting tool’s rotational axis is positioned parallel to the cutting surface. This type of milling operation uses different cutters (wide or narrow). The choice of cutters usually depends on the required outcome. Typically, wide cutters are used where fast material removal is needed. This can be achieved better if the cutters are set to a slow cutting speed and a fast cutting rate. It would also help if the cutters had course teeth. However, in this case, the finishing would not be perfect unless finer teeth are applied during a second step.

2. Face milling

This milling operation employs cutting tools with teeth on their sides and end. The axis of the tools is usually perpendicular to the part being manufactured. This operation is usually done after plain milling. Its role is to produce intricate contours and produce a perfect finish hence the name. The teeth on the sides are used for cutting, and those on end work on the surface finish.

3. Form milling

This operation uses special tooling for complex surface contours. Examples of tooling used in this operation are convex and concave cutters. This operation helps create the contours in one cut. The special tools help with the creases and round ages. However, if you are looking to achieve the perfect outcome, the best thing would be to have the correct parameters for all the tools.

4. Angular milling

This is a milling operation creates chamfers and groovers. These designs are achieved because the operation features a perpendicularly placed cutter axis. The axis is usually in line with the surface. It works best when different cutters are used when producing angled groves. A single mill with a conically-shaped cutting head can be applied for chamfering.

5. Profile milling

This operation is used for making convex and concave parts. The milling operation includes three steps, roughing, semi-finishing, and finishing.

6. Gear milling

This type of CNC milling operation is used for producing various forms of gears. The operation involves two processes. It starts with milling and ends with hard treatment.


CNC milling is an excellent method for producing a wide range of parts and features. However, note, a single CNC milling center can produce the most complex designs with the least amount of human labor required. This is because of the tolerance of CNC machining and its automation.

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