What's the difference between CNC turning and CNC grinding?

Posted by Amelia on February 13, 2023
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    There are many different kinds of manufacturing processes to choose from, but it can be hard to know which one is right for you. One of the most common questions people ask is whether they should go with CNC turning or CNC milling. Both processes are used to create parts, but they're not exactly the same thing. Let's take a look at what each process entails so that you can make an educated decision about which one works best for your needs!

    Some manufacturers may specialize in one type of machining, while others might be able to handle a variety.

    Some manufacturing shops may specialize in one kind of machining, and others might do a variety of processes. These may overlap with each other and be able to handle many different kinds of jobs. This includes machining centers, manually operated lathes, grinders, and more.

    CNC grinding is a subtractive manufacturing process that uses a grinding wheel to remove material from a workpiece. It's often used to remove material from a part to make it smaller or change its shape.

    What is CNC turning?

    CNC turning is a subtractive manufacturing process that uses a lathe to achieve precise, high-quality product results. The machine tool (or "lathe") is controlled by computer numerical control (CNC), which uses software to control the speed and position of each cutting tool as it removes material from your metal blank. A CNC lathe can be either standalone machines or integrated into other machines, like an automatic screw machine. The wide variety of these machines can produce a range of parts from simple shapes to complex internal geometries and external contours with tight tolerances.

    CNC turning is a type of machining in which a cutter removes material from the surface of the workpiece to create parts.

    CNC turning is a subtractive manufacturing process that rotates a metal rod while a cutting tool is held against the stock to remove material and create final parts. It's called "subtractive" because material is removed from the stock to make the part.

    CNC turning machines use computer-aided design (CAD) programs, which are used to create 3D models for manufacturing. These programs allow operators to manipulate virtual parts on their monitors so they can see how they'll look when manufactured, as well as make adjustments before committing to any part or process changes.

    The operator then uses special software called CAM software (computer-aided manufacturing) that converts these CAD files into code that tells the machine how fast to rotate and at what speed and angle each cutting tool should move during machining operations; this process results in precision cuts on all sides of your finished piece without leaving burrs or chipping off any pieces prematurely; it also helps you avoid having any waste material left over after machining operations are complete!

    CNC turning offers a number of benefits, including precision and speed for high volume production runs.

    When comparing CNC turning vs. CNC milling, cost and speed are the main factors to consider. Because it takes less setup time, CNC turning tends to be cheaper for simpler parts that don’t require complex operations or advanced machining processes. Other benefits of CNC turning include precision as well as high-volume production runs of simple parts.

    For example, if you were making a simple aluminum part with a straight slot in the middle (like an extrusion), you could use either method but would probably get better results from using a lathe because it allows you to control the dimensions far more precisely than using a milling machine will allow.

    Some materials that can be machined by CNC turning are

    As a general rule, the materials that can be machined by CNC turning are:

    • steel (carbon steel, stainless steel, etc.)
    • stainless steel
    • alloy steel
    • aluminum (aircraft grade)
    • brass and bronze (copper based alloys)

    -- steel

    With CNC grinding, the workpiece is secured on a clamping fixture and then rotated against an abrasive wheel. The wheel revolves in the opposite direction to that of turning and uses small particles of diamond or silicon carbide to remove material from the surface of your part. Abrasive wheels are available with different grades of grit, ranging from extremely fine to coarse.

    The amount of material removed is controlled by changing how long you allow contact between wheel and stock—the longer this contact time, the greater the quantity removed.

    CNC grinding can be used for both soft materials such as aluminum alloys and hard materials like stainless steel. It's ideal for removing relatively large amounts of stock quickly while still maintaining high surface quality due to its low cutting speed (around 450 inches per minute).

    -- stainless steel

    The CNC grinding process is a subtractive manufacturing method, in which the material to be removed from the workpiece is guided by a grinding wheel. The tooling for CNC grinding can vary depending on the type of machine being used and the grade of material being machined. For example, there are many types of diamond pads (including wet-or-dry) that can be used with either an abrasive-water or dry environment.

    Examples of parts made using CNC grinding include:

    • Parts with complex geometries and features (such as internal threads)
    • Precision parts with little or no tolerance requirements

    -- alloy steel

    Alloy steel is a mixture of carbon and other elements. Alloy steels are stronger than the traditional carbon steels, and they’re used in the manufacturing of parts for cars, planes, and other vehicles. Alloy steels are also used to manufacture tools and machines that are machined using a CNC lathe.

    -- aluminum

    CNC grinding is a subtractive manufacturing process that uses a grinding wheel to remove material from a metal stock to create final parts. The size of the part being produced determines whether the tool is small enough to reach into tight places, or if it needs to be large enough for ease of handling.

    Typically, CNC grinding is used for parts that are larger than hand size (greater than 12 inches).

    -- brass

    Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. It's used in plumbing and musical instruments, as well as a variety of other applications. Brass has many beneficial properties that make it ideal for these uses:

    • It's malleable, meaning it can be easily formed into shapes using CNC turning methods.
    • It's resistant to corrosion.
    • It has excellent strength-to-weight ratios, which makes brass products less expensive than alternatives like steel or aluminum.

    -- iron, and

    • - iron, and
    • - stainless steel.

    -- plastic

    While many of the same processes can be used in both CNC turning and CNC grinding, there are some key differences.

    CNC turning is a subtractive manufacturing process that uses a rotating tool to remove material from a workpiece, while CNC grinding is an additive manufacturing process that adds material to the surface of a workpiece using an abrasive wheel.

    CNC grinding is often used when machining hard materials like steel, aluminum and cast iron because it generates less heat than other methods such as milling or drilling. It's also ideal for removing large amounts of metal on products with uneven surfaces (like automotive parts).

    What is CNC grinding?

    You might be familiar with CNC turning if you've ever seen a lathe or milling machine in action. While turning and milling both remove material from stock to create a finished product, grinding does not remove any material from the stock. Instead, it uses a grinding wheel or blade to remove small amounts of material from the stock until it reaches its desired shape. The process is called "subtractive" because it removes small amounts of material from the original shape until we have our finished product.


    CNC grinding is an additive manufacturing process that uses a grinding wheel or tool to remove material from metal stock. This process is used to create final parts by removing excess material from the stock, which leaves behind only what is needed for the part being made. Grinding machines use a rotating abrasive wheel that cuts into metal instead of using a cutting tool like some other types of machines do.

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