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Most Common Types of Precision CNC Machining

Precision CNC Machining is a practice where machines function by trimming or cutting excess raw materials and shape work pieces according to its planned design. The objects produced are precise and achieve the specified measurement programmed to the CNC machines. The most common processes are milling, turning, cutting, and electrical discharge. These machines are applied to industries, such as: Industrial, Firearms, Aerospace, Hydraulics, and Oil and Gas. They work well with a variety of materials, from plastics, wood, composites, metal, and glass to bronze, steel, graphite, and aluminum, to produce parts and other work pieces.

By far, when you look up these machines that specialize on performing such function, the most popular ones are: (1) CNC Lathes and Turning Machines; (2) CNC Milling Machines; (3) CNC Laser Machines; (4) Electrical Discharge Machines, and (5) CNC Plasma Cutting Machines. There are also three (3) other CNC machines that perform the same function however, these machines are less common than the other five (5) and these machines are: (1) CNC Drilling; (2) CNC Water jet Cutting Machine; and (3) CNC Grinder.


  1. CNC Lathes and Turning – It adopts a rotating single cutting tool and rotates the materials around the tool/s to produce the work pieces/parts that the manufacturer wants. This type of CNC machine is utilized to create slots, bores, drilled holes, reamed holes, tapers and threads, broaches, and tapping. The common parts produced are screws, poppets, shafts, and bolts.
  2. CNC Milling Machines – This type of CNC machine utilizes a milling cutter that adapts a rotating motion to chip off unwanted portions to shape the materials to its desired design. The materials are also rotated in a similar direction as the blades. The typical work pieces produced by these machines are square and/or rectangular shaped and are rich in features.
  3. CNC Laser Machines – With a guaranteed high level of precision, this machine utilizes highly focused laser beams for cutting, slicing, and engraving. These beams shape its materials by melting or evaporating the undesired portion to create the desired design. It is mostly used for engraving and creation of intricately designed parts.
  4. Electrical Discharge Machines – True to its name, this machine uses electric discharge that is generated from a wire, which then generates immense heat that shapes the materials through melting it.
    This type of CNC machine is mostly used on (very) hard materials that are difficult to shape for the other three that were mentioned above. It is best for creating highly specific slots, angled features, and micro-holes.
  5. CNC Plasma Cutting Machines – Sharing similar function with the Electrical Discharge Machines, the CNC Plasma Cutting create and shape work pieces by utilizing high-powered plasma torch to perform its function. It requires its materials to be electrically conductive – materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and brass.


  • CNC Drilling – This machine utilizes rotating multipoint drilling bits to produce cylindrically shaped holes on the parts and/or workpieces.
  • CNC Water jet Cutting Machine – Similar to the Plasma Cutting Machines and the Electrical Discharge Machines, this machine utilizes high-pressure water pressure to shape and trim materials to its desired design. The recommended materials that should be used for this machine are Plastic and Aluminum since it is easier to melt in high temperatures.
  • CNC Grinder – These machines are designed to polish the end product of other machines by using Grinder Abrasives to smoothen out rough surfaces.

It is important to remember that these machines produce accurate, highly precise, and tolerant work pieces through subtractive manufacturing processes. It chips off unwanted portions of the materials to produce your preferred design and work pieces. Depending on your needed function, these machines are preferable for manufacturing highly-precise parts that your shop or industry needs.

If you’re interested in purchasing a Precision CNC Machine, browse our extensive inventory of used CNC machines. Contact us at Tramar Industries and we’ll help you find the right machine for the job.

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