Common Types of Precision Machining

November 10, 2020
types of precision machining
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Precision machining is a manufacturing process that uses computer-controlled machine tools to cut or shape materials, usually metals and plastics. There are many different types of precision machining processes available today.

Depending on the environment of use, material needed, lead time, volume, budget, and features required there is usually an optimum method for delivering the desired result. These days CNC precision machining is common.

Quality precision machining allows for parts to be made with tight tolerances, this is done with the help of complex 3D blueprints designed by using various computer-aided designs and manufacturing (CAD and CAM). 

As mentioned before, precision machining is used on various materials including but not limited to steel, bronze, and glasses. Because of these materials, the techniques or type of precision machining also varies including lathes, saws, grinders, milling machines, and even high-speed robotics in some cases. 

The majority of these uses require the programming of CNC devices which allows precise dimensions to be followed throughout the whole process. 

Following are some of the widely used types of precision machining in the industry.


A lathe is a tool that allows the workpiece to be rotated around its axis, this proves to be useful to perform operations like sanding, knurling, cutting, drilling, and turning among other things allowing to create an object which is in symmetry to the axis on which it was being spun. 

The uses of lathes include metalworking, metal scraping, woodturning, parts reclamation, and glass working. Lathes also consist of many types which are designed for specific purposes, like watchmakers lathe, reducing lathes, and duplicating lathes.


Milling is the process of using rotary cutters to remove materials from workpieces by feeding the workpiece into the cutter at an angle. 

With the advancements in technology and the use of Computer Numerical Control, the milling process became more precise and efficient, the basic CNC mills consist of 3 axis systems whereas the newer milling machines consist of 3 additional axes as well.

Water Jet Cutters

Water jets are cutters that are capable of cutting into metal and other minerals, this is done with the help of a stream of water-propelled jets at a very high speed and pressure. The jet can consist of a mixture of water and other abrasive materials like sand, these types of jets are called abrasive jets. 

Water jets are preferred where the materials are sensitive to heat which is produced by other methods, materials like plastic and aluminum use water jets. The application of water jets includes but is not limited to cutting, reaming, and shaping in industries like mining and aerospace.

Plasma Cutters

Plasma cutting is a process that uses an electric arc to cut metal. It’s a great way to make clean cuts in sheet metal, and it's also used for other materials like aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and brass. 

The plasma cutter can be used with many different types of metals because the heat from the plasma arc melts the material being cut. The plasma cutter can make the cutting work of even the most difficult materials very easy.

Turning Machining

Turning Machining is a technique that has been around for centuries, but it's still the most efficient way to create complex shapes. It is a process of cutting metal by using rotary cutters, which are typically mounted on the end of a rotating shaft. The workpiece may be held stationary or rotated during the operation to achieve various shapes. 

It can also be used as an alternative to milling when shaping irregularly shaped objects such as gears, sprockets, pulleys, etc., where it may have some advantages because of its ability to cut away excess material with less effort than other methods.

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