The Different Between 2D and 3D Milling

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By jbc-admin

There are a lot of technical and industry specific terms that are used in any given business. While this is great for someone with training or experience in that industry to be able to streamline discussions with shortened descriptions, it can be confusing for those not familiar with the terms.

At JBC Machine we try not to use jargon with customers whenever possible but sometimes it is really the only way to correctly identify the services we are going to provide. A good example of this is the term 3D milling, which is not something that most people will use to describe a specific machining process.

The Options

Before going any further, let’s consider the options for CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling. This can be done as 2D, 3D or even 2.5D. In all cases, the D stands for dimensions, just as it would in any other industry.
Two dimensions mean that the milling process is removing a part or a shape that is uniform throughout the blank or workpiece. There are no design elements to the final piece that are unique or different; everything is the same depth. While this can be accomplished by milling, it can also be done through cutting techniques such as laser or plasma cutting.

With 2.5D milling, there are multiple features on the workpiece. This uses the X and Y axes for the toolpath as well as the Z axes, where there is a difference in depth or features on the workpiece.

With 3D milling, the three axes can cut to different depths, and create different shapes. Additionally, it is possible to add a 4th axis that will involve the use of a rotary table to reposition the part during the milling process. This allows for more complex shapes, features and contours on the part all done with the same machine and through the 3D milling process in one pass.

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