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Exploring Common Types of Operations in CNC Milling

Method of exclusion to 4 type of fault in CNC Machining Part

CNC milling, a cornerstone in modern machining, offers a diverse range of operations, each tailored to specific applications. Understanding these operations is crucial for harnessing the full potential of CNC milling machines. In this article, we will delve into the common types of operations performed in CNC milling, providing insights into their applications and significance in the manufacturing landscape.

Basic Overview of CNC Milling

1. Definition and Machinery

  • CNC milling involves the use of computer-controlled machines to remove material from a workpiece.
  • Various types of milling machines, including vertical and horizontal mills, contribute to the versatility of CNC milling operations.

2. Importance in Manufacturing

  • CNC milling is integral to the production of precision components in industries such as aerospace, automotive, electronics, and medical.

Top 3 Common Types of CNC Milling Operations

Face Milling

  • Definition: Face milling is the process of cutting a flat surface on the workpiece.
  • Application: Creating flat surfaces, finishing, and achieving parallelism on large components.
  • Tools Used: Face mills equipped with multiple cutting inserts.

Peripheral Milling

  • Definition: Also known as conventional milling, peripheral milling involves cutting along the outside edge of the workpiece.
  • Application: Contouring, slotting, and general material removal.
  • Tools Used: End mills, slot drills.

Slab Milling

  • Definition: Slab milling is the removal of a large portion of material from a broad surface.
  • Application: Creating large, flat surfaces on oversized workpieces.
  • Tools Used: Slab mills, which have a wide cutting diameter.

Top 3 Key CNC Milling Operations and Applications

OperationDefinitionApplicationTools Used
Face MillingCutting a flat surface on the workpiece.Creating flat surfaces, finishing.Face mills with multiple cutting inserts.
Peripheral MillingCutting along the outside edge of the workpiece.Contouring, slotting, general material removal.End mills, slot drills.
Slab MillingRemoval of a large portion of material from a broad surface.Creating large, flat surfaces on oversized workpieces.Slab mills with a wide cutting diameter.
CNC Milling

End Milling

  • Definition: End milling involves cutting with the peripheral edge of the cutting tool.
  • Application: Creating slots, pockets, and complex 3D shapes.
  • Tools Used: End mills, which come in various types such as ball nose, square end, and corner radius end mills.

Slot Milling

  • Definition: Slot milling is the process of machining slots in the workpiece.
  • Application: Producing slots for keys, fasteners, or other components.
  • Tools Used: Slot drills, end mills.


  • Definition: Drilling creates holes in the workpiece using a rotating cutting tool.
  • Application: Producing precise holes for fasteners, dowels, or other purposes.
  • Tools Used: Drill bits, center drills.


  • Definition: Facing involves cutting a flat surface perpendicular to the spindle axis.
  • Application: Achieving a smooth and flat finish on the end of a workpiece.
  • Tools Used: Face mills, end mills.


  • Definition: Contouring follows the outline of a 2D or 3D model to create intricate shapes.
  • Application: Producing complex geometries and artistic components.
  • Tools Used: Contour mills, ball nose end mills.

3D Surface Milling

  • Definition: 3D surface milling involves machining complex 3D shapes on the workpiece surface.
  • Application: Sculpting and producing highly detailed components.
  • Tools Used: Ball nose end mills, specialized 3D milling tools.


In conclusion, CNC milling encompasses a spectrum of operations, each serving specific purposes in the manufacturing process. From the fundamental face milling to intricate 3D surface milling, understanding these operations empowers manufacturers to choose the most suitable techniques for their applications. As CNC technology continues to advance, the possibilities for precision and complexity in milling operations are boundless, shaping the future of modern manufacturing.