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The Basics of CNC Milling


CNC milling machines are used in manufacturing industries to produce precision parts. These machines perform a variety of different operations, such as drilling and machining. The automated manufacturing process is a critical aspect of CNC milling. Learn more about the machine’s various features and functions. You’ll learn about the Z-axis, the Preparatory function, and the Miscellaneous function. After you’ve learned about these functions, you’ll be able to create precision parts with CNC milling.

Automated manufacturing process

Automated manufacturing process

CNC milling has long been associated with expensive parts and long setup times. High costs can make shops reluctant to automate these parts, and they may attempt to recover them by increasing the volume. High setup times also increase the cost of a batch and drive incentives to produce more parts in a batch. The most cost-effective CNC machining solution for high-mix manufacturing relies on the elimination of waste.

Preparatory functions

The CNC milling machine’s pre-processing functions include stepping the spindle through 360 degrees. These processes were previously performed separately on indexing head setups, but with the introduction of CAD/CAM and multiaxis machining, stepping is now an integral part of CNC milling. The machinist cares about the exact orientation of the spindle in the workplace, and many of the CNC milling machines use indexing heads.

Miscellaneous functions

A group of CNC milling functions are called miscellaneous. These functions include spindle starts and stops, coolant ON/OFF, and tool addresses. They are commonly used to speed up or slow down the milling process. The following are examples of some of the miscellaneous functions of CNC milling machines. If you are a machine shop owner, you will want to learn about these functions and how they are programmed.


The Z-axis is a critical component of CNC milling. The machine’s spindle, or carriage, moves the cutting tool along the Z-axis. The position of the Z-axis depends on the coordinate system being used by the CNC program. The machine coordinate system positions the Z-axis far away from the work surface, while the work coordinate system positions the Z-axis closer to the part’s coordinates.


The work coordinate system for CNC milling uses a 2.5-dimensional space known as the XY plane. Each of these planes has positive and negative values. The values on the screen correspond to the distance between the origin of the machine and the workpiece. The machine can also move a table in a different direction. To help milling professionals create the proper tool paths, this coordinate system is used. But what does it all mean?

The Basics of CNC Milling
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