The differences between turning and milling - Haworth Castings

The differences between turning and milling

Published - 15th Dec 2016

In previous blogs, we’ve looked separately at turning and milling. This time, we explore in more detail the differences between these two machining processes and the factors that govern the choice of technique.

The cutting process

In turning, the component is positioned in a chuck and rotated at speed while the cutting tool is traversed to the workpiece. Milling works in reverse – with the workpiece remaining stationary while the milling table/fixture moves and the cutters rotate.

Turning is used primarily to create circular diameters and bored holes but milling is far more versatile. It is used to produce non-asymmetric and non-circular features and shapes – such as off-centred holes, slots, radial corners and square pockets.

If, for example, the engineer was tasked to produce an unusual shape on a diameter of the workpiece, this would usually be carried out on a milling machine at Haworth Castings. However, if the engineer needed to produce a centred hole, it would be quicker and more cost-effective to use a turning machine. This is because it is quicker to shape a rotating workpiece rather than a stationary component where the cutter moves around the outside diameter.

The choice of machining technique

The size of the component can be a determining factor in whether turning or milling is used. The choice is also guided by the features required on the machined casting.

In our machine shop at Haworth Castings, we have a large selection of turning and milling machines to meet customer demand. We also have a live tooling machine that can carry out both milling and turning simultaneously.

Please get in touch to find out how we can meet your machining needs. Call us today on +44 (0)1794 512685 or email:

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