What Are The Most Common Machining Techniques?

Machining Tool

Precision machining is a term used to cover a wide range of techniques and technologies that remove material from a raw substance to create the desired piece. When it comes to precision machining, there are a few techniques that are used most commonly to create the desired outcome. Here we take a closer look at these common machining techniques and what they involve.


Turning is a technique that is used to rotate the workpiece while a cutting tool simultaneously removes material from the workpiece in the desired pattern. Turning is done around an axis, and there are multiple axes that can be used to machine a part. A precision engineering company can use 3, 4 or 5 axis machining to create the desired shape. Lathes are the most commonly used turning equipment.


Milling is a technique where a rotating cutting surface is used to create holes that are not necessarily circular or to create unique designs. A milling tool uses multiple blades on a rotary cutter, that is used at an angle with the axis of the tool. Milling can create more unique and diverse patterns and shapes while removing material from the workpiece.


Grinding is the machining process where an abrasive turning wheel is used to remove a small amount of material from the workpiece to create a fine finish. Grinding can also be used to texturize or make light cuts on the workpiece.

EDM precision machiningEDM

Electrical discharge machining (EDM) uses electrical discharges to create small impressions on a conductive material to quickly make quick cuts. EDM is a useful technique for machining hard material at close tolerances. With electrical discharge machining, the only condition is that the workpiece must be made of an electrically conductive material.


Drilling is the technique of using a narrow, two-edged rotating device to cut round holes directly into the workpiece, parallel to the axis of rotation. Drills are used for this process to create both large holes and holes even only micrometers in diameter. Drilling is quick, easy and economical and an essential process as a part of precision machining.


Cutting is used as a technique to create predetermined cuts through a material. Cutting is a generally more gross form of processing and requires additional finishing to create the finished piece. Saws and shears are the tools most typically used to cut materials and obtain the desired shape.


Boring is a process usually implemented in the finishing of a workpiece, where holes that were previously cut are enlarged. The initial holes may be made through drilling. Unlike drilling, boring uses a single point cutting tool.

While a precision engineer might draw on a wide range of techniques to achieve a finished workpiece, these are the most common machining techniques used. These techniques can be used on a wide range of different materials and for a great range of designs and shapes. Talk to Inverse Solutions for more details about the processes or the tools used in precision machining.