What Does Machining Actually Mean?

When working with a CNC milling and machining shop for the pieces you need, you might encounter a lot of terms that you haven’t heard before. Or, you might say one thing but, to the machinist, that word might mean something completely different.

We all know that what happens here at Excello Tool Engineering and Manufacturing is done through machining. And, while that term has come to mean different things throughout the ages, at its base we know that it’s how you get a finished product from a piece of raw steel, aluminium, wood, alloy, or any of the other materials going into a CNC machine.

Turning is a process of machining that rotates, or turns, the raw material on an axis while lathes of various shapes and sizes are pressed against it. Material is removed as the piece rotates, and the action of the lathes shapes and forms the raw material into the finished product as it turns.

Milling is the opposite of turning. When a piece of raw material is milled it is generally held stationary while cutting tools of various shapes and sizes are used to make cuts and begin to shape the final product. Milling generally happens in a fully-enclosed container to prevent pieces from flying away and causing injury.

Drilling can happen on lathes or mills but generally takes place on a drill press. Just as in milling, the raw material is held stationary while bits or other rotating blades are gradually applied to the material. In the case of drilling, however, these bits and blades are used to make a precise series of holes.

We covered various types of CNC machines in a previous post and some of those are paving the way for more advanced machining methods. Remember, machining is the act of making the actual piece. And, with advanced techniques like plasma cutters, water jet cutting, and electric discharge machining available, it is possible to shape parts and components in ways never thought possible. Water jet cutting uses water to cut through steel while plasma and electric discharge machining use the brute force of pure physics to burn, cut, and shock their way through their materials.

The prototyping process is helpful in determining the best machining method or methods necessary to craft a particular piece. Once initial plans are made, various machining techniques can be used in the creation of the first prototypes to determine the most efficient way to create the pieces that will make up the order.

Excello has been machining quality pieces and parts to exact specifications since 1960. We know how to determine the best machining technology for your job because we have watched the industry develop and grow through all of them. Take a look at the machines we have at our disposal or contact us today to put those machines to work for you.


Excello Tool Engineering & Manufacturing Company located in Milford, CT