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From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
When you remove material from a larger piece to get the desired shape, either by turning or milling, this is called machining these days.

Machining is a way to make things by removing material from a larger piece. This process is often used with metal, but it can also be done with wood, plastic, ceramic, and other materials. The goal is to create a specific shape or part. This method is called subtractive manufacturing because it involves cutting away material.[1]

Machining is a crucial part of making metal products, but it's not limited to metals. People who specialize in machining are called machinists. They usually work in a place called a machine shop, which has tools for cutting and shaping materials.[2]

The Role of Computers in Machining

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Computer Numerical Control (CNC) is a method where computers control machines.

In modern times, computers play a big role in machining. Computer Numerical Control (CNC) is a method where computers control machines like mills and lathes. This helps in making the process more efficient. CNC machines can work without constant human supervision, reducing labor costs for machine shops.

In recent years, advanced CNC machines have been developed, combining turning and milling into one process. These are known as CNC turning-milling compound centers.[3]

History and Terms

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The meaning of machining has changed over time. In the 18th century, a machinist was someone who built or fixed machines using manual processes like carving wood or hand-filing metal. Back then, the words "machine tool" and "to machine" didn't exist.

Around the mid-20th century, these terms were created as technology evolved. "Traditional" machining processes, like turning, milling, and drilling, became widespread. These processes use machine tools with sharp cutting tools to shape materials.

With new technologies after World War II, like electrical discharge machining and ultrasonic machining, the term "conventional machining" was used to differentiate older methods from newer ones. Today, when we say "machining," we usually mean the traditional processes.[4]

In recent decades, as additive manufacturing (AM), like 3D printing, became popular, the term "subtractive manufacturing" emerged. This term covers any process involving the removal of material, similar to traditional machining. The two terms are often used interchangeably.[5]

Understanding machining is essential for anyone interested in manufacturing processes. Whether done traditionally or with modern technologies, machining plays a vital role in creating the products we use every day.


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  1. "MAS.863/4.140J-P7". fab.cba.mit.edu. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2016-08-22.
  2. "Machining Page". Archived from the original on 2018-09-08. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  3. ZOURAN8. "CNC Turning-milling Compound and CNC Machining Differences". allaboutcnc.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. Machining: An Introduction
  5. "Additive Manufacturing Advances Another Step". Archived from the original on 2012-04-01. Retrieved 2024-03-02.