What is Milling?

Posted on Apr 02, 2020 by Cullen Hikene

Milling Overview

Milling is the process of machining using rotary cutters to remove material by advancing a cutter into a work piece. This may be done in varying directions on one or several axes, cutter head speeds, and pressures. Milling covers a wide variety of different operations and machines, and works on parts from tiny to large, heavy-duty army-of-machines milling operations. It is one of the most commonly used processes for machining custom parts to precise tolerances.

3Diligent illustrated processes: milling


What are the Different Types of Milling?

What are the Advantages of Milling?

  • Highly Accurate. Tolerances as low at 0.001″.
  • Versatile. Multi-axis cutting allows for highly complex geometries.
  • Short-Run Efficient. Smaller volumes of product often price better.
  • High Tolerances and Fine Finishes.

What are the Limitations of Milling?

  • Significant Programming Needed. Depending on the part complexity and contours.
  • Additional Setups. Parts with features on all sides can require multiple setups and occasionally custom fixtures to hold the workpiece in place as it is cut by the milling tool.
  • Internal Features Cannot be Machined. If not visible or accessible by the tool.


Key Metrics

Standard Tolerance

Stock Surface Finish
~ 1.6 μm Ra

Lead Time
As low as 1 week

Maximum Size
2000 mm

Minimum Wall Thickness
~ 0.02″


Milling is a standard technology in the machining space used for its high speed, tight tolerances, and part reproducibility. Consider submitting an RFQ through manufacturing services such as ProdEX to get started today.

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