Basics of CNC Machining: What You Need To Know

CNC machining basics

If you’re curious about CNC machining or are looking for a beginner’s guide to the basics of CNC machining, you’ve come to the right place. As a leading industry in this field, in this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of what CNC machining is and cover some of the basics of the process. Stay tuned for future blog posts in which we’ll delve deeper into specific aspects of CNC machining. Thanks for reading!

What Is CNC Machining?

CNC machining is a process in which computer-controlled tools remove material from a workpiece to create the desired shape or finish. CNC machining is often used for creating prototypes or small batches of parts, as it is more precise and faster than traditional methods such as manual machining or casting. 

In addition, CNC machining can be used to create complex shapes that would be difficult or impossible to create using other methods. As a result, CNC machining has become an essential part of the manufacturing process for many companies.

How Does CNC Machining Work?

In CNC machining, the computer controls the movement of the cutting tool. The cutting tool is mounted on a spindle, and the workpiece is mounted on a table beneath the spindle. The cutting tool is guided along various axes to create the desired shape. The speed and depth of the cut are also controlled by the computer.

CNC machining is a versatile process that can be used to create parts from a wide range of materials. It is especially well-suited for creating complex shapes or parts with tight tolerances. The process can be automated, which makes it suitable for high-volume production runs.

4 axis machining services

The History Of CNC Machining

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining has a rich history that dates back to the late 1940s and early 1950s. The development of CNC machining was driven by the need to increase productivity and efficiency in manufacturing processes.

The first numerical control (NC) machines were developed in the late 1940s, which used punched paper tapes to control machine tools. These machines were limited in their capabilities and required skilled operators to produce accurate components.

In the 1950s, John Parsons and Frank Stulen, engineers at the US Air Force’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, pioneered the use of digital computers to control machine tools. They developed a system called “MIT Servomechanisms Laboratory” which used electronic feedback to control the movements of machine tools. This was the beginning of computer-controlled machining.

In the 1960s, the term “Computer Numerical Control” (CNC) was coined, and the technology began to gain popularity in the aerospace industry. CNC machines allow for greater precision, accuracy, and repeatability compared to manual machining methods. This increased the quality and consistency of machined parts while reducing labor costs.

In the 1970s, the development of microprocessors made CNC machines more affordable and accessible to small and medium-sized businesses. This led to the widespread adoption of CNC technology across various industries.

Since then, CNC machines have continued to evolve with advancements in software, hardware, and automation technologies. Today, CNC machines are used in almost every industry that requires precision machining, from automotive and aerospace to medical and electronics.

Overall, the history of CNC machining is a testament to human ingenuity and our ability to continually improve and innovate manufacturing processes.

Common CNC Machining Materials

CNC machining is a process that can be used to create parts and components from a variety of different materials. The most common materials that are used in CNC machining are metals, plastics, and composites.

Metals: Metals such as aluminum, brass, copper, stainless steel, and titanium are all commonly used in CNC machining. These materials are strong and durable, making them ideal for parts that need to withstand high temperatures or heavy loads.

Plastics: Plastics such as acrylic, polycarbonate, and nylon are also commonly used in CNC machining. These materials are often used for components that require a high degree of precision, such as gears or electronic components.

Composites: Composites such as carbon fiber and fiberglass are also sometimes used in CNC machining. These materials are often used for parts that need to be lightweight and strong, such as aerospace components.


Different Types Of CNC Machines

Here are some of the different types of CNC machines:

1. 3-Axis Machine

A 3-axis CNC machine is the most common and has been around for a long time. It can move in three directions – X, Y, and Z axes – which allows it to create CNC machined parts that are flat or have simple shapes.

2. 4-Axis Machine

A 4-axis CNC machine can move in four directions, adding a rotary axis to the X, Y, and Z axes. With this added capability, it can create more complex shapes and surfaces.

3. 5-Axis Machine

A 5-axis CNC machine can move in five directions – X, Y, Z, and two rotational axes – making it capable of creating even more complex shapes and surfaces. This type of machine is commonly used in the aerospace industry to produce turbine blades and other intricate components.

5 axis CNC machining

4. CNC Lathes:

CNC lathes are used primarily for turning operations, where the workpiece rotates while the cutting tool moves along the X and Z axes. There are several types of CNC lathes, including horizontal lathes, vertical lathes, and Swiss-style lathes.

Other types of CNC machines include milling machines, routers, plasma cutters, and laser cutters. Each machine has its own specific capabilities and applications, and choosing the right machine for a particular job depends on factors such as the material being machined, the complexity of the part, and the required level of accuracy.

Common Two CNC Machining Operations

Certainly, here is a list of two common CNC machining operations:

CNC Milling

CNC milling is a process that uses rotary cutters to remove material from a workpiece by advancing in a specific direction at an angle with the axis of the tool.

This milling process can create a wide range of shapes and sizes, including slots, holes, pockets, and complex 3D contours.

Some common types of CNC milling machines include vertical milling machines, horizontal milling machines, and gantry milling machines.

CNC milling

CNC Turning

CNC turning is another popular CNC machining operation that involves rotating a workpiece while a cutting tool removes material to create cylindrical parts.

The workpiece is held in place by a chuck, which rotates it while a single-point cutting tool moves along its length, removing material as it goes. CNC turning can be used to create a variety of parts, including shafts, bushings, and fittings.

Some common types of CNC turning machines include horizontal lathes, vertical lathes, and Swiss-style lathes.

CNC turning

CNC Machining Applications

CNC machining has a wide range of applications in various industries. Some of the most common fields where CNC machines are used include:

Automotive manufacturing: CNC machines are used to create engine components, suspension parts, and other critical components in the automotive industry.

Aerospace industry: CNC machines are used to manufacture complex parts for aircraft engines and other aerospace systems.

Medical devices: CNC machines are used to produce custom prosthetics, surgical instruments, implants, and other medical devices that require high precision.

Electronics manufacturing: CNC machines can produce printed circuit boards (PCBs), cases for electronic devices, and other electronic components.

Food processing industry: CNC machines are also used in the food processing industry for various applications such as packaging and labeling.

Manufacturing of consumer goods: CNC machines are often used to make a variety of items, including toys, household appliances, and furniture.

Firearms manufacturing: CNC machines can be utilized to produce firearm components, such as receivers, barrels, and triggers.

Rapid prototyping: CNC machines can quickly produce prototypes of new products, making them a valuable tool for product development teams.

cnc machined parts

Our CNC Machining Services

At our company, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide high-quality CNC machining services. We have a team of highly skilled and experienced engineers who are able to operate our state-of-the-art CNC machines with precision and accuracy. This allows us to produce parts and components that meet the highest standards of quality.

In addition, we are able to offer a variety of finishes, including anodizing, powder coating, and electroplating. As a result, we are able to provide our clients with a wide range of options to choose from. Whether you need parts for a prototype or a production run, we are confident that we can meet your needs.

Contact us today to learn more about our CNC Machining Services.


In conclusion, CNC machining is a powerful technology that has revolutionized the manufacturing industry. With their ability to produce parts with high precision and speed, CNC machines have become an essential tool for many businesses. 

This beginner’s guide to CNC machining has provided an overview of the basics of CNC machining, including its history, how it works, and the different types of machines available. 

While there is still much to learn about CNC machining, this guide should serve as a solid foundation for anyone looking to get started in this exciting field. 

By understanding the CNC basics of machining, you can unlock new opportunities to innovate, improve efficiency, and achieve greater success in your manufacturing operations.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you! 


What Are The Pros And Cons Of CNC Machining?

There are many advantages to using CNC machines. They are able to produce parts with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability.

In addition, CNC machines can operate for long periods of time without needing to be monitored, which can free up operator time for other tasks.

Another advantage of CNC machines is that they can be programmed to create complex shapes that would be difficult or impossible to produce using traditional methods.

However, there are also some disadvantages to using CNC machines. One drawback is that they might be expensive.

In addition, CNC machines require operators to have some knowledge of programming in order to create their desired parts or product.

Finally, because CNC machines are operated by computer programs, they are subject to errors that can cause incorrect or damaged parts to be produced. Because of these disadvantages, it is necessary to choose a good professional team.

How To Save Cost For CNC Machining?

There are a few ways to save costs for CNC machining. One way to save costs is by using the right software. There are many different software programs available that can help you optimize your CNC Machining process and reduce waste.

Another way to save costs is by using the right machining tool for the job.

Sometimes, it is more cost-effective to use a less expensive tool that can still get the job done effectively. Finally, our CNC machining services can often offer discounts for volume orders.

If you are looking to have multiple parts or components made, it is worth asking about discounts that may be available. By following these tips, you can save costs on your CNC Machining project.