12 Most Common Operations CNC Milling Machines Perform

12 Most Common Operations CNC Milling Machines Perform

Milling is the process that creates parts using a multi-point cutter. The cutter rotates against the targeted piece and removes the excess material. Thus, making a precise final product.

A CNC milling machine can house single or multiple cutters. And these cutters determine what kinds of milling it performs. Not all machines perform the same kind of milling.

The article explains the common operations CNC machines do depending upon their cutters.

Common Operations CNC Milling Machines Perform

Milling Machines and Their Functions

All milling machines are giant chunks of metallic and rotating parts but not every machine performs the same kind of milling. A specific kind of milling is only possible with a particular blade.

Plain or Horizontal Milling

Plain milling is the most common type of milling. As the name explains, it is a process that produces flat and horizontal workpieces. Here, the work material lies parallel to the cutter. Another name of plain milling is ‘Slab milling.’

Vertical or Side Milling

Unlike horizontal milling, the side custom CNC milling produces vertical workpieces. The depth of the cutter is customizable by using the feed screw. Besides adjustability, side milling machines also have thin and thick blades.

Face Milling

The face milling cutters work on a perpendicularly placed workpiece. CNC milling machines also feature an adjusting screw for changing depth. The teeth on the outer surface help in removing the excess material. Hence, resulting in a more refined finish.

End Milling

End milling works with versatile angled work materials. It means the work material is set horizontally, vertically, or at any angle with the reference table. Ending milling is best when the project requires constructing complicated workpieces.

Saw Milling

Sawmilling means drilling deep and narrow slots into the working material. These CNC machines use sawmilling blades to craft the work. Another name for sawmilling is "parting off milling." It cuts the material into equal or unequal parts as needed.

Gear Milling

Form-relieved cutters fit into the CNC milling machine to perform gear milling. The work material is fixed on a universal dividing head and then indexed for equally spaced cuts. Later a cylindrical or an end milling cutter cuts gear teeth on the material.

Thread Milling

Some CNC machines perform thread milling using single or multiple thread milling cutters. There are three moving driving mechanisms. Firstly, there is a mechanism to move the blade. The second is for handling the working material, and lastly, one for the cutter movements.

Straddle Milling

When the project requires flat vertical surfaces on both sides, the CNC straddle milling machines come into play. A single arbor houses both blades. The adjusting collars attached help adjust the thickness of the work.

Straddle milling comes in handy when square or hexagonal surfaces are to be made.

Form Milling

Sometimes the task requires milling irregular pieces. Form milling is just the process for that. The shapes range from concave, convex to any other angle. After machining the piece, the engineers measure the work using a template gauge.


To conclude, CNC milling machines are capable of performing different kinds of millings. The machines are chosen according to the project's requirements and the allotted budget.

Innovation in industries has enabled milling machines to perform various kinds of milling.  And, knowing their functions is essential for obtaining the desired results. The article explains the twelve most common operations CNC machines perform in industries.