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CNC Milling

eMachineShop’s Milling Service

CNC Milling is a comprehensive manufacturing process for creating 3D parts. Whether machining a soft metal such as aluminum, harder metals like steel, or even plastics like acetal, CNC mills can make intricate parts of just about any shape.

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What is CNC Milling?

CNC Milling is an automated machining process used to manufacture 2D and 3D parts. A CNC Mill removes material from a block or sheet using pre-selected cutting tools.

Commonly, the workpiece sits on a moving table below the cutting tool which protrudes down from a rotating spindle. A computer controls both the vertical motion of the cutter and the horizontal motion of the material. The cutter slices through the material, removing portions to create shapes.

The ideal cutting tools for each part varies depending on the design specifications. More frequently used types of milling tools include drills, taps and end mills.


  • Can produce parts of almost any shape
  • Cost-effective for prototyping and short runs
  • High dimensional tolerances and smooth finishes are possible

Cutting Tools

Below are some of the most common milling cutters:

Plain End Mill

Creates walls with straight 90 deg edges and sharp corners at the bottom of recesses.

Chamfer End Mill

Creates 45 deg bevels on the top edge of a wall or recess.

Ball End Mill

Creates walls at angles other than 90 degrees

Rounding End Mill

Creates rounded edges at the top edge.

Grooving End Mill

Creates 45 deg bevels on the top edge of a wall or recess.

Angle End Mill

Creates walls at angles other than 90 degrees.

Design Tips for Precision CNC Milling

Avoid flimsy shapes.
Use shapes that will hold well during machining, like straight edges.
Note that milling produces a visible cut pattern on the surface of the material.

Free Guide: Saving Money on CNC Milling

Learn how to design custom parts for maximum cost savings and efficient production.

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