Milling ranks as one of the most common processes in CNC machining

Milling ranks as one of the most common processes in CNC machining, mainly due to its versatility. With just a single tool, our custom machine shop in Portland can fabricate a nearly unlimited number of shapes on designs on the surface of a workpiece. Milling can transform a piece of stock metal, plastic, wood, or other material into a finished part teeming with complexity.

In CNC machining, the milling process involves the removal of material with a rotating cutting tool. Unlike turning, the workpiece does not need to rotate during a milling operation. The workpiece may move linearly against the cutting tool, depending on the design. In other applications, the workpiece remains stationary while the cutting tool moves about.

Types of Milling

CNC machine milling is divided into several categories, depending on what is being milled, the tool used, and the motion of the cutting tool. Milling categories include:

One of the most common milling operations, face milling uses a cutting tool with a rotational axis perpendicular to the surface of the workpiece. Usually, this type of milling is used to create shallow grooves on a flat surface.

A rotating cutting tool travels along the edge of a workpiece, creating an L-shaped “shoulder” of a determined width. Typically, shoulder milling is used to achieve a 90-degree angle between two outward-facing surfaces.


Profile milling involves a rotating cutting tool cutting a path along a slanted or vertical surface. The process can utilize a cutting tool that rotates around an axis at either a parallel or perpendicular angle to the surface of the workpiece.

This process creates grooves in the workpiece, typically through the use of a disc-shaped cutting tool. A rotating tool that moves along a perpendicular axis to the workpiece can also be used in slot milling.

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Enoch Precision Machining
9085 SE Enoch Ct.
P.O. Box 98 (mailing)
Clackamas, OR 97015-0098

Local: (503) 659-2660
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Enoch Precision Machining is a full service, single-source provider of precision machining services, specializing in close-tolerance milled and turned components.