CNC Milling Machines Vs. Manual Machining

by Mercert

In factories, factory tools and machinery were manually moved by humans since most of the lathes and milling machines were manual. However, with the advent of technology, most machines in the factory have become computerized. As a result, CNC milling machines have replaced the manually operated ones. With Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machining, the movement of factory machinery and tools is controlled by computer software. There are several advantages that CNC milling has over manual milling. These benefits include:

Consistent Quality

Computers are always accurate as compared to humans. The accuracy of some computers is close to 99%. Consequently, using CNC machines will give you the consistent quality of your end product. You should note that cnc milling machines are also more precise. You can repeat the desired process over and over. Even better, if you want to make improvements or alterations, you only have to do it once by updating the software.

Increased Efficiency and Production

Since computers are used to control the milling machines through computer software, machine operation is automatic. The automation of the process increases the speed of manufacturing. Besides that, it also increases the quality of the whole manufacturing process. Machines also do not get tired or require breaks. This makes CNC milling machines more efficient than manual milling machines.


One of the most significant advantages that CNC machines have over manual machines is safety. Manual machines require human input. Milling machines have rotating parts. Therefore, people operating the machines are usually at risk of getting injured by the machines. Using CNC machines is very safe as they can be set up behind closed safety doors.


Traditional milling machines need one human operator per machine. For CNC machines, one operator can operate several machines simultaneously. Therefore, the cost of operation of CNC machines is lower than that of manually operated milling machines.

How CNC Milling Machines Work

The most common feature of CNC milling machines is that the part to be machined is usually clamped, directly or through a fixture or a vice, on top of the machining table. The cutting tool and the spindle is either horizontally vertically positioned. This arrangement makes it easy to achieve the desired shape of the material being machined. The cutting tools rotate at very high speeds along to or more axes.

Parts of a CNC Milling Machine

Some of the central parts of a CNC milling machine include frame, spindle, axes, columns, and control panel. The frame holds the entire machine and gives it stability. It usually consists of several detachable columns and a base. The spindle is the “heart” of the machine since it houses the rotating parts. The CNC control panel is the “brain” of the machine tool. It consists of electronics used to control the machines’ cutting actions to achieve different shapes and designs.

In most CNC machines, the control panel is usually within easy reach for ease of operation. Some machines also come with manual functionality to support the electronic functions in case of a malfunction. This means you can always fulfill orders from your customers.

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