CNC Milling vs. CNC Turning

CNC bay at Sawyer Fabrication

A Look at Two of the Precision Machining Processes at Sawyer Fabrication

What’s the Difference Between the Custom CNC Milling and CNC Turning Services We Offer?

At Sawyer Fabrication, we strive to remain at the forefront of the precision machining industry by offering a comprehensive range of CNC machining capabilities. After all, no two products are exactly alike; therefore engineering and manufacturing all of the complex, custom-designed components that come through our shop require specialized CNC machinery.

Two of the most common precision machining processes we employ at Sawyer Fabrication are CNC milling and CNC turning. In case you’re not too familiar with the modern manufacturing industry, we thought you might like to learn a bit about the differences between these two machining methods.

What Is CNC Milling?

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling uses a stationary workpiece with a rotating cutting tool. The cutting tools are precisely programmed and operated by our craftsmen to remove calculated amounts of material from the metal stock we’re using to machine your products.

It’s kind of like whittling a stick…except the stick is a block of metal, and the whittling knife is a state-of-the-art computerized cutter spinning at thousands of revolutions per minute while making perfect cuts and shaves at hundredths or thousandths of an inch per pass.

What Is CNC Turning?

With CNC turning, the workpiece metal itself rotates rather than the cutting tool. Imagine having a chicken in a rotisserie roaster – the chicken spins on the spit so that it gets cooked evenly from all sides. A CNC turning machine works similarly, with the metal stock of your product suspended and spinning at thousands of revolutions per minute.

As your product rotates on the turning machine, the cutting tool is carefully guided onto the workpiece to make minuscule cuts and shaves. Eventually, after enough passes and rotations, the workpiece will be shaved down with precision from end to end, and your finished product is brought to life out of the remaining metal stock.

Running a program on the CNC machine

Some of the cutting-edge CNC milling equipment we utilize at Sawyer Fabrication includes:

  • 4 Vertical Machining Centers
  • Vertical Milling Table – sizes ranging from 16″-34″
  • 4 Horizontal Machining Centers featuring 2-Axis Capability
  • Horizontal Milling Capacity of 16″x16″x24″
  • Jig Bores Capable of achieving .0003″ Tolerances
CNC machined parts

The Sawyer Fabrication metal shop is also outfitted with some of the machining industry’s most advanced CNC turning equipment and capabilities, including:

  • 4 State-of-the-Art CNC Lathes
  • Bar Capacity from .25″-3″
  • Chucking Capacity up to 14″
  • Precision Turning Tolerances as low as .0004″
  • Live Tooling Capabilities

Whether your quality manufacturing requires CNC milling, CNC turning, or any of the other precision machining capabilities that Sawyer Fabrication brings to the table, we have your production needs covered. Our industry-leading craftsmen are standing by, ready to discuss your next custom manufacturing project and tackle it with the dedication it deserves.