What is the Difference Between Turning, Drilling and Milling Operations?

Turning Operations
By jbc-admin

When it comes to machining, a number of operations must occur in predetermined sequence to obtain the best results possible. Here we cover a few of these operations – turning, drilling, and milling. Machining is a highly versatile process in the manufacturing arena. Various types of materials may be machined using the three methods mentioned above. At JBC Machine, we offer exceptional quality turning, drilling, and milling capabilities to help our customers meet their industrial requirements.


With turning operations, the workpiece is rotated as the cutting tool travels in a linear direction. This produces a cylindrical shape. Often with turning operations, a lathe is the preferred machine to use.

As with many machining operations, turning is carried out either automatically or manually. Manual turning operations do require constant supervision. However, automatic turning operations do not. Through the use of CNC, all of the necessary movements, tooling adjustments, and speeds are programmed, with these instructions delivered to the lathe for completion of the task. C&C enables the completion efficient and consistent production runs.


Drilling produces a round hole in a workpiece. A tapping or drill press machine performs drilling operations. However, drilling can also be handled with a milling machine. When machining a workpiece, chips are the waste material produced during the machining process. The way the drill bit is shaped enables chips to fall away from the workpiece.

Leading-off or drifting is reduced when the drill bit is placed perpendicular to the workpiece. For greater precision, before drilling, center drill operation can be added. Angular drilling is often required and requires a special work-holding tooling. Additional drawing options include the use of multiple axes with a CNC machine or the rotation of the head on a manual machine.


With milling, multiplayer rotary cutters are often used to eliminate material from a workpiece. The two major types of milling operations are peripheral milling and face milling. Peripheral milling cuts deep slots, gear teeth, and threads. Face milling cuts flat bottomed cavities and flat surfaces into the workpiece using a feed that can be either vertical or horizontal.

In one of two ways a workpiece may be cut in one of two ways. The climb milling method feeds the workpiece in the direction of the cutter rotation, and this is the desirable method for CNC milling operations. Conventional milling feeds the workpiece in the direction opposite cutter rotation, and this method is recommended when using manual milling equipment.

After a workpiece is already machine, milling is used as a secondary process to help define features of the workpiece, including slots, contours, pockets, and holes, and provide a finishing coat.

To learn how we can serve your turning, drilling, and milling requirements, give our team in a call today at 920.779.4075, use our contact form, or send us a request for a free quote.

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