Send Message
Up to 5 files, each 10M size is supported. OK
News Get a Quote
Home - News - What is the difference between CNC milling and milling?

What is the difference between CNC milling and milling?

December 13, 2023

What is the difference between CNC milling and milling?


Milling is a common machining process that involves the removal of material from a workpiece using rotary cutters. It is widely employed in various industries for creating intricate parts and achieving precise dimensions. Over time, milling techniques have evolved, and CNC milling has emerged as a popular method. This article will explore the differences between traditional milling and CNC milling, answering three key questions to provide a comprehensive understanding.

1. How does CNC milling differ from traditional milling?

CNC milling, short for Computer Numerical Control milling, is a modern milling technique that utilizes computerized controls and programming. Traditional milling, on the other hand, relies on manual controls and operator expertise. The primary differences between the two can be summarized as follows:

  • Automation: CNC milling involves the use of computer programs (G-code) to control the movement of the milling machine, allowing for precise and automated operations. Traditional milling requires the operator to manually control the machine, which may be susceptible to human errors and limitations.
  • Accuracy and Precision: CNC milling machines are highly accurate and precise due to the computerized controls, resulting in consistent and repeatable cuts. Traditional milling's accuracy mainly depends on the operator's skill and experience, which can lead to slight variations in dimensions.
  • Complexity: CNC milling allows for the creation of complex geometries and intricate designs, as the machine can precisely follow programmed instructions. Traditional milling has limitations in terms of complexity, as it relies on the operator's expertise to manually guide the milling machine.

2. What are the advantages of CNC milling over traditional milling?

CNC milling offers several advantages over traditional milling, providing enhanced capabilities, productivity, and efficiency. Here are some key advantages:

  • Greater Productivity: CNC machines can operate continuously, significantly reducing the machining time compared to traditional milling. These machines can also work unattended, optimizing productivity and reducing labor costs.
  • Improved Accuracy: CNC systems ensure high accuracy and precision, eliminating human error and delivering consistent results. This is particularly crucial when intricate parts with tight tolerances are required.
  • Versatility: CNC milling machines are versatile and can handle a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, and composites. They can accommodate complex designs and execute a variety of operations, such as drilling, chamfering, and thread milling, with ease.
  • Ease of Replication: CNC milling allows for easy replication of parts. Once a program is created and tested, the same design can be replicated accurately and consistently, ensuring uniformity across multiple parts.
  • Reduced Waste and Costs: CNC milling minimizes material waste as it optimizes the cutting paths and utilizes the material efficiently. The precision and accuracy reduce the need for rework, minimizing cost and waste associated with errors.

3. Are there any drawbacks to CNC milling compared to traditional milling?

While CNC milling provides various advantages, it also has a few drawbacks when compared to traditional milling:

  • Cost: CNC milling machines are expensive compared to traditional milling machines. The initial investment required can be higher, making it less accessible for small-scale operations or hobbyists.
  • Complexity of Programming: CNC milling requires programming expertise to create and refine the machine instructions. It can be challenging for beginners, requiring specialized software and training to operate effectively.
  • Maintenance and Repair: CNC machines are complex systems that require regular maintenance and occasional repairs. Traditional milling machines, being simpler, may require less frequent maintenance and are often easier to repair.


In conclusion, CNC milling and traditional milling are two distinct machining processes with notable differences. CNC milling offers automation, enhanced accuracy, complex geometries, and higher productivity. It is a versatile method suitable for various industries, despite the initial investment and programming complexity. Traditional milling, while less automated, relies on the operator's skill and experience to produce accurate cuts but may have limitations in complexity. Ultimately, the choice between CNC milling and traditional milling depends on factors such as budget, project requirements, and expertise available.


latest company news about What is the difference between CNC milling and milling?  0