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The Different Types of Precision Machining

When deciding on a manufacturing solution for your project, it is crucial to understand the process of each type of CNC machining. Let’s explore the different types of precision machining and what you can use them for.

Types of Precision Machining Processes

CNC Lathing and Turning

During CNC lathing, also known as CNC turning, the machine is programmed to spin the project material around on a central spindle. A fixed cutting tool on the machine is used to remove bits of the material as it turns, forming the precision part. Since the material is rotated during the process, it is ideal for the fabrication of conical or cylindrical parts and products.

CNC Milling

During this manufacturing process, the cutting tools are programmed to rotate around the workpiece, subtracting material from it. CNC milling relies on intermittent cutting and requires multiple machine steps. Because the cutting tools rotate around the material, this process is usually used to create flat surfaces and parts.

There are a few different types of CNC milling:

  • 3-Axis CNC Milling — These machines can move parts and subtract material via the X, Y, and Z axes. This is the most popular CNC milling method due to its low start-up costs; however, it is usually only chosen for simple parts with uncomplicated geometries.
  • 4-Axis CNC Milling — This milling method has all of the capabilities of the 3-axis CNC milling machine with an additional axis. This allows for the rotation of the piece for cutting along the A axis. Manufacturers use this method when they need to cut around a cylinder or the side of the piece.
  • 5-Axis CNC Milling — This milling method allows for movement along the 3 linear axes, the rotation of the machine head, and the rotation of the tool head, equalling a total of 5 axes. 5-axis CNC milling is used to manufacture parts with complex geometries while removing the need for multiple setups. Since this is a single-step machining process, it is faster and more productive, making your production more efficient.

Swiss Machining

Swiss machining is used to produce complex, slender, small, and intricate parts that are used in various industries including automotive, medical, defense, and electronics. The machine works by passing the material through a sliding headstock and a guide bushing slides down the longitudinal axis of the machine. The process eliminates the movement of long, narrow parts, allowing for easier production.

Benefits of the Types of Precision Machining


The programmed CNC machines can outperform humans in various areas including speed, accuracy, and output. Since the machines work faster than humans and can work longer hours with no breaks, all types of precision machining increase the speed of production while lowering labor costs.

Increased Accuracy

Since the entire manufacturing process is done through a computer-controlled machine, fewer mistakes are made during the process. The computer system is programmed with instructions for how to create the precision part, allowing for higher accuracy production with minimal errors.


Without the need to maintain a large labor force and the lower risk of mistakes being made, this process is cost-effective for both customers and manufacturers. Production can also take place 24/7, allowing for higher output in a shorter period of time.

Garland Service Company Has All of the Precision Machining Processes You Need