CNC Machining Parts for Your Next Project? Here’s What You Need To Know!

A very important aspect of keeping your business in line with your competitor’s level is rapid prototyping. CNC machined parts customized for your tailored needs are often required to pitch your ideas to major stakeholders.

Whether you use techniques like CNC machining, injection molding, or 3D printing, custom parts help breed life into conceptual designs. Let us now dive deeper into how CNC machined components can benefit your business before you get your next CNC machining quote. We will also discuss key concepts related to this field to broaden your knowledge.

What is CNC machining?

Computer numerical control (CNC) is an automated machining technique in which the maneuverability of the tool is fast and easy to control. It is commonly used for the machining of metals and plastics.

CNC working involves:

  • Reception of Computer-aided design (CAD) file
  • Converting CAD file into standard CNC machining language named G & M codes
  • After converting to G codes, the program is sent to the control panel of the CNC
  • Configuring the CNC machine and providing manufacturability feedback to the customer
  • Before loading the part on the machine, the operator performs a test run to verify the exact positioning and performance of the tool

G and M codes:

Command on G and M codes is very important for the operator to make highly precise parts proficiently.

G codes refer to the programming code which is translated from the CAD model. It particularly deals with the features of the required CNC parts.

On the other hand, M codes refer to the machine codes which control the maneuverability of the tool changer and coolant system.

CNC machining tolerances:

In CNC machining, the range of allowable variance in any machined part is called tolerance. There are two types of tolerances:

  1. Effective machining tolerance
  2. Tight machining tolerance

Effective machining tolerance is preferred by most CNC manufacturers because tighter tolerances add up much production costs. Some of the cost-effective CNC machining tips are as follows:

  • Optimize workpiece tolerance
  • Choose the most efficient manufacturing process
  • Must consider parallelism and perpendicularity in CNC machining
  • Must consider tool accuracy
  • Execution of machining operation
  • Use of jets and laser cutters

To achieve accuracy and precision in CNC machining, you must consider above mentioned critical points.

Why Should I Choose CNC Machining?

Most manufacturing industries choose CNC machining methods instead of other techniques because CNC machining offers a diverse range of operations such as:

  • Grinders
  • Lathes
  • Turning mills

All the above machining applications work on an automated system which saves time, and labor cost and also gives a highly finished product.

CNC machining also helps in the rapid prototyping of new designs. The benefits offered by CNC machining are given below:

  • Future-proofing business:
    The use of CNC machining services allows you to make new designs and standards. This helps your business to keep up its marketing in front of technological advancements.
  • Cost saving:
    The automation, accuracy, and efficiency of CNC machining help save manufacturing costs and reduces lead time.
  • Increase productivity:
    CNCs allow manufacturers to make parts at a faster pace by maintaining the same standard of products. In mass production, it is possible to speed up the production rate exponentially.
  • Material versatility:
    CNC machining allows a variety of materials to be machined. Stainless steel, brass, aluminum, and aluminum alloys are commonly used materials. This helps in the making of prototypes with variable wear resistance, tensile strength, and different hardness factors.
  • Fast turnaround:
    CNC machining is a software-controlled technique and offers an automatic tool changer to improve efficiency. While 3D printing takes a long time to produce a single unit, CNC makes a dozen of units in the same time frame.
  • Eliminates human error:
    The use of CNC machining eliminates human error because of software controlled system. In IoT-based manufacturing, only one labor is required to manage multiple CNC machines at the same time which reduces labor costs as well. Moreover, as the system is fully automated, the operator is not exposed to any safety risks. CNC technology not only works efficiently or saves time, but it also removes the reliance on a skilled labor force.

Types of CNC machines

The list of CNC machines that are commonly used by CNC manufacturers is as follows:

  • CNC Milling machine
  • CNC Lathe machine
  • CNC Drilling machine
  • CNC Grinding machine
  • CNC Electrical discharge machine

CNC Milling machine:

CNC milling is a subtractive manufacturing method that uses program-controlled rotating cutting tools. Most CNC milling machines operate on 3 and 5 axes to maintain accuracy and precision.

Modern CNC machines have both vertical and horizontal machining units.

A vertical milling machine has a vertical spindle that is perpendicular to the workpiece. Vertical milling centers offer machining operations such as flat surfaces, grooves, and slots.

The main parts of vertical milling machines are:

  • Base
  • Column
  • Saddle
  • Knee
  • Table
  • Tool head
  • Spindle
  • Ram

In horizontal milling, the machine tool is parallel to the workpiece, used to remove a large amount of material. These machining units are beneficial where vertical millers are less suitable.

The advantages of horizontal CNC milling machines are:

  • Best option for complex geometries
  • Usually have a short and thick cutting tool
  • Spindle’s head rotates 45 degrees in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction
  • Spindles with strong bearing capacity and large braking torque
  • Guide rail has good stability and strength is greater

CNC Lathe machine:

Computer numerical control (CNC) lathe machines are automated machining units. With various axes, the CNC lathe machine can easily perform CNC turning operations according to part geometry.

The main parts of the CNC lathe are as follows:

  • Main spindle
  • Guideway
  • Chuck
  • Headstock

This machining unit is commonly used in aerospace, oil, gas, medical and automotive industries. The benefits of CNC lathes are:

  • Industry-leading precision
  • Manufacturability of complex parts
  • Reduction in human errors
  • Less manufacturing cost
  • Helps save time as compared to conventional machining

CNC lathes offer two types of operations:

1) Internal operations

    • Drilling
    • Boring
    • Reaming
    • Tapping

2) External operations

    • Turning
    • Facing
    • Thread cutting
    • Grooving and cut-off
  • In addition to these operations of the CNC lathe, modern CNC machining utilizes a live tooling system, which is driven by a turret.
  • CNC lathes are the center of attention for every machine shop because of their versatility in operations with fast speed.

CNC Drilling machine:

CNC drilling is commonly used to make holes in stationary objects using a spinning drilling tool. CNC drilling machines are much better than conventional drilling machines because of their accuracy and adaptable machining capabilities.

CNC drilling offers tight tolerances amounting to as low as 0.001mm. Moreover, they adapt well to a variety of CNC materials including wood, plastic, and metals. CNC drilling also offers rapid switching of drill bits during production.

CNC drilling machines are also used for mass production and offer multi-functioning CNC machining centers. CNC drilling units offer several advantages over conventional drilling machines including:

  • Make accurate holes
  • Capability to machine a variety of materials
  • Accommodate multiple drill bits to produce a variety of holes
  • Less prone to error
  • Greater reproducibility
  • It can be coupled with other machining operations

Types of CNC drilling machines are as follows:

  1. Upright drill press: It is designed for machining heavy and large parts
  2. Radial arm drill press: This CNC drilling center works on the basic mechanism of positioning the moving spindle over a stationary workpiece and performs various operations to maintain sizes and forms.
  3. Micro drill press: This CNC drilling unit is more accurate with small chucks. This is useful in shaping macroscopic parts.

CNC Grinding machines:

CNC grinding machines have rotating grinding wheels, which subtract material from a workpiece by maintaining a hard-fine surface finish.

Depending on the required application, there are many types of CNC grinding machines.

  • ID and OD grinding machines: This type of CNC grinding machine works on either the inner or outer diameter of the workpiece. Features like tapers, grooves, chamfers, or different profiles are achieved on the ID & OD of the workpiece.
  • Cylindrical grinding machine: These grinders are used to grind the workpiece that is cylindrical in design. The CNC grinder machines allow the tool to move angularly or parallel to the workpiece.
  • Surface grinding machine: This type of CNC grinding machine is only used where a high-quality surface finish is required.
  • Centerless grinding: This type of CNC grinding machine eliminates the need for center holes in workpieces.
  • Special grinding machine: This type of grinding is done as a special type of operation. Machines for special operations include:
    • Thread grinding machine
    • Jig grinding machine
    • Tool and cutter grinding machine

The CNC grinding machine offers a wide range of benefits listed below:

  • Performance improvement with the use of software
  • High level of accuracy
  • Large-scale production
  • This process is time limited so machine breakdown is eliminated

CNC Electrical discharge machine (EDM):

Computerized numerical control (CNC) electrical discharge machine is a special type of CNC machine which uses thermal energy/electric spark to produce the desired shape of the workpiece.

In CNC electrical discharge machining, the workpiece is sandwiched between the electrode. Following this, the required amount of electrical discharge is provided by a computer system. The amount of current then flows through the electrodes and the machining operation commences.

The main parts of CNC EDM are:

  • Table
  • Voltmeter
  • Ammeter
  • DC plus generator
  • Die electric fluid
  • Pump
  • Filter
  • Servo-controlled feed
  • Fixtures

CNC EDM is commonly used for:

  • Thread cutting
  • Wire cutting
  • Curved hole drilling
  • Shaping of tungsten carbide dies
  • Micro holes in nozzles

Some of the advantages of a CNC electrical discharge machine are:

  • Hard materials can be machined
  • Accuracy of 0.005mm is achievable
  • Surface finish of 0.2 microns
  • Longer tool life

Tools required for CNC machining

There is no doubt that the quality of computerized numerical control (CNC) machining depends on different tools. As the types of CNC machines are unique in their applications, their machining tools also differ in the nature of operations.

Some of the most common cutting tools used for CNC machining are:

  • Drill bits
  • Endmill
  • Ball end mill
  • Face mill
  • Reamers
  • Hollow mill
  • Grinders
  • Thread tap
  • Involute gear cutter
  • Woodruff cutters
  • Slitting saw
  • Engraving tool
  • Countersink tool

The use of the right tool for the right operation helps to maintain the accuracy and aesthetics of parts. The selection of the right tooling also improves efficiency and production rate.

What Types Of Materials Can Be Used For CNC Machining?

CNC machining offers a wide range of material execution. The most commonly used materials for CNC machining are listed below:

  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Wood
  • Carbon fiber
  • Glass


Metal is the most common CNC manufacturing material. Different types of metals used in CNC machining are as follows:

  • Stainless steel: This material has very high strength, so during CNC manufacturing special care must be taken with the feed rate and sharpness of the cutting tool. 304 grade of stainless steel is non-magnetic and also known for its toughness. This grade is well-suited for a wide range of consumer and industrial applications.
  • Aluminum: Machining aluminum is much easier, has a high strength-to-weight ratio, and has good electrical and thermal conductivity. 6061 grade of aluminum is often used for CNC machining.
  • Titanium: Titanium has high strength, toughness, and corrosion resistance as compared to other metals. This material is often used in aerospace, military, and industrial applications. Engineers should be aware that the machining of titanium requires special cutters.


Plastic is a commonly used material in daily life. Plastic has less strength than metals, so they are easy to machine and readily available in the market. Different types of plastics used for CNC machining are as follows:

  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS): This material has high heat resistance and good machinability. So it is ideal for electrical applications and remains mechanically strong over time.
  • Nylon 66: It has high impact strength, remarkable chemical resistance, and also excellent mechanical properties. Nylon 66 is well suited for CNC machining because of its durability.
  • Polyetheretherketone (PEEK): This material has an unusual combination of mechanical properties. This material is resistant to wear, creep, fatigue, and temperature up to 260°C.
  • Polycarbonate (PC): This material is widely used in manufacturing industries. Polycarbonate is more efficient than other thermoplastics.


The recent rise of CNC machining contributes to making many types of wood parts. Plywood and solid wood are common materials to be machined. Some of the applications are:

  • Large-scale pattern manufacturing
  • Furniture
  • Carvings
  • Table and chairs
  • Decoration pieces

Carbon fiber:

One of the most trending materials in the engineering world right now is carbon fiber. It has high strength and low weight with carbon content above 90%. Carbon fiber has high-temperature endurance, and high chemical resistance and is ideal for weight-saving applications, and complex part geometries, and boasts high ultraviolet resistance.

Carbon fiber is commonly used in:

  • Automotive industries
  • Aerospace industries
  • Used where lightweight and high strength are required
  • Replaced with sheet metal parts if possible

Common applications of CNC machining

CNC machining plays a key role across various industries for numerous applications. CNC machining is compatible with various materials compositions.

Some of the common applications of CNC machining are listed below:

  • Aerospace industry:
    The aerospace industry uses a wide range of CNC machining units because the machining of metal aircraft components requires high precision. Some of the aerospace machining components include:

    • Engine components and mounts
    • Components of fuel systems
    • Landing gear components
    • Fuel access panels
  • Automotive industry:
    Prototyping and production on large scale in the automotive industry depends on CNC manufacturing technology. Some of the components of the automotive industry manufactured by CNC machining are:

    • Cylinder blocks
    • Gearboxes
    • Valves
    • Axels
    • Shafts
  • Consumer electronics::
    CNC machining plays a great role in the production of consumer electronics. Electronic products include laptops, smartphones, and much more. It also helps to create PCBs, housing, jigs, fixtures, and many other components.
  • Defense industry:
    In the military sector, CNC machining units play an important role in the production of rugged and reliable parts.
  • Healthcare sector:
    CNC machines can manufacture precise and accurate medical components. Machinable medical components include:

    • Electronic enclosures
    • Orthotics
    • Surgical instruments
    • Prosthetics
  • Research and development:
    Research and development design needs repetitive prototyping. CNC machining offers a lot of benefits in the field of R&D.
    The benefits of CNC machining in R&D are:

    • Speeds up the development process
    • Create prototypes with high precision
    • Quick and precise CNC machining saves money in the long run


In this article, we summarized aspects related to CNC machining before you choose your next CNC machining service provider. Whether your requirement is for conventional plastic and metal materials or more advanced carbon fiber executions, these concepts are vital for you as a reader to remain knowledgeable. We believe that a knowledgeable customer can better negotiate CNC machining work and requirements and accurately convey CNC machining needs.

Tips & Tricks For Successful CNC Machining Projects

Technological advancement in the world and as well as in the manufacturing sector plays a vital role in the completion of successful projects. The use of CNC machining automates many of the product development processes.

Investing in automated machines can be costly at an initial stage because this is a one-time investment but has a positive long-term profit. Upgrading machinery helps a company in clustering.

Tips and tricks for successful CNC machining projects are as follows:

  • Specialize your product in the market
  • Diversify your operations
  • Improve production capacity with speedy working
  • Optimum planning
  • Optimize production management on the floor
  • Use of IoT manufacturing for remote work handling and resource management
  • Training of CNC operators
  • Following preventive maintenance procedures
  • Improving finishing quality with the use of good-quality tools

Worthy Hardware is a CNC manufacturing and sheet metal fabrication company,including CNC machining services,CNC milling services, CNC turning services, laser cutting services and stamping services.Call us +86-76989919645 or email us [email protected] for more discounts for your projects.