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Precision Machining Operations (from Wikipedia)

Erickson Automatics Inc.


Conventional machining uses cutting tools to cut chips out of the material (swarf) until a specific part is produced. Machining is a part of almost all the manufacturing of metal products and can be used on wood and plastics as well.


There are three main processes involved in the machining of a part. Each process creates a certain part geometry and surface texture.

1. Turning - the material rotates against the cutting tool, which has a single cutting edge, creating a round shape. Lathes are the main machine tool used in turning.

2. Milling - the rotating cutting tool with multiple cutting edges, creates a plane or straight surface.

3. Drilling - the rotating tool with 2 to 4 cutting edges, produces holes in the material, usually done by a drill press but can also be done by the lathe or mill.

Other machining operations include boring, shaping, planing, broaching and sawing.

Parts are machined to the specifications detailed in an engineering blueprint. This requires attention to many details in order for the part to meet the print specifications. For example, the blueprint would call out the exact outside diameter, inner diameter, length, radius requirements, finish, etc.


The cutting tools used in machining have one or more sharp edges and are made from material that is harder than the material being cut.


The machinability of a material, refers to how easily the material can be machined to an acceptable surface finish. "Free machining" materials are materials that can be easily cut, with little wear to the tooling.

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