CNC machining is to manufacture components and product under the control of computer.

CNC machining is to utilize the CNC machine tool to adjust the shape and size of a material (workpiece) by automatically removing part of the material. In general, the materials used are made by plastic or metal, the finished product or the product will be completed after removing.

The process is also known as subtraction manufacturing. The computer application programs are utilized to control the motion of the machine tool for CNC machining.

The common types of CNC machine tool

The CNC processing includes the most common milling and turning, as well as the grinding and electro-sparking.


Milling is to use the rotational cutting tool to process the surface of the workpiece and moving along 3 axes, 4 axes or 5 axes. Milling, basically, is to cut or dress the workpiece. It can rapidly process complicated geometrical shape and precision components with metal or thermoplastic plastic.


Turning is to manufacture components with cylindrical feature by turning lathe. The workpiece rotates on the axis and contacts with the precision turning tools to form the circular edge, radial holes, axial holes, slot and groove.

The advantages of CNC machining

Compared with the conventional manual machining, the speed for CNC machining is far faster. As long as the computer code is correct and the conform to the design, then, the finished products produced are of high precision and small error.

CNC machining is the ideal manufacturing method for rapid formation. It can also be used to make the finished products and components for final use; however, it only has cost-effectiveness for short-term production for small volume.

Multi-axis CNC machining

Rotational cutting tools are used for CNC machining to remove materials. Either to move the cutting tools to the workpiece while keeps it still or to put the workpiece to the machine tool at a predetermined angle. The more the moving axes, the more complicated the process of forming and the faster the speed.

3-axis CNC machining

3-axis CNC milling is still the one of the most popular and extensively used processing technologies. In the 3-axis processing, the workpiece remains stationary and the rotational cutting tools will cut along axis x, y and z. This is a relatively simple CNC processing, which can make the products of simple structure. It is not suitable to process the products with complicated geometrical shape or complex components.

Because it can only cut on three axes, the processing speed may be slower than that of 4-axis or 5-axis CNC, as the workpiece may have to be re-positioned manually to obtain the desired shape.

4-axis CNC machining

In the milling of 4-axis CNC, the fourth axis is added to the motion of the cutting tools, allowing it rotating along the x axis. Now, there are four axes- x axis, y axis, z axis and a axis (rotating along the x axis). The majority of the 4-axis CNC machines allow the workpiece rotating, which is the alleged b axis, in this way, such machine tool can be used as both milling machine and turning machine.

4-axis CNC machining is the best choice if you need to drill holes on the side surface of a workpiece or curved surface of a cylinder, as it not only accelerates the working process, but also has higher precision.

5-axis CNC machining

Compared with 4-axis CNC machine, the 5-axis CNC machine has one extra rotational axis. The fifth axis rotates along y axis, which is also known as b axis. The workpiece can also rotate on some machines, which is called b axis or c axis.

The complicated precision components are made by the 5-axis CNC machine as it has the highest versatility. For example, the medical parts for the artificial limbs or skeleton, aerospace parts, titanium parts, mechanical parts of oil gas, military products and etc.