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What Are The Advantages of CNC Machining Over Manual Machining?

Blog  /  What Are The Advantages of CNC Machining Over Manual Machining?

What Are The Advantages of CNC Machining Over Manual Machining?

Jan 02,2024

How do CNC Machining and Manual Machining work?

A CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine uses computerized controls to perform precise milling operations on diverse materials. The workpiece is rotated or moved in different planes by the table of the CNC machine. A 3D computer-aided design, or CAD, model is transformed into a set of computer instructions via CNC milling machines. They move the workpiece automatically and control how the CNC machine and its tools operate.

The machining operations of a manual machine frequently referred to as a conventional machine, are carried out by human control and operation. To be specific, any conventional machine, including band-saws, drill presses, grinders, end mills, and lathes, that is operated manually is referred to be manual. Machinists can produce a wide range of prototype goods for different uses with these manual machines. However, manual machining requires more time and attention to complete any task than CNC machining, which is managed by automation or a computer.

Advantages of CNC Machining Compared with Conventional Manual Machining

With several benefits over conventional manual machining techniques, CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining has completely transformed the manufacturing sector. We explore the many advantages of CNC machining, emphasizing its advantages over manual machining in terms of cost-effectiveness, versatility, and reduction in human error.


As for the manufacturers, although CNC machines might cost more upfront, they save money over time. To be specific, by eliminating the requirement for highly skilled operators and lowering the possibility of scrap or rework due to human mistakes, CNC machining lowers labor costs. Production costs are lowered as a consequence of lower operating and maintenance expenses. Therefore, this results in a higher profit for the manufacturers. Additionally, lower prices per unit may result from CNC machines' higher efficiency and quicker production periods.

· Greater Versatility

A vast variety of parts and components may be manufactured using CNC machining, which is incredibly flexible. We can quickly manufacture different patterns and geometries by reprogramming the machine. So, it is programming flexible by applying CNC machines. Specifically, computer programs that are easily updated or modified operate CNC machines. This makes it possible to make rapid and effective modifications to the machining process, such as adding new designs, modifying cutting settings, or changing tool paths. We can produce a variety of parts and components with CNC machining without having to make significant setup adjustments or retooling.

Also, CNC machines can process a wide range of materials, including metals like titanium, steel, and aluminum. It is possible to match the precise material qualities and maximize the machining process by using different cutting tools, speeds, and feeds. Because of its adaptability, CNC machining can serve a wide range of markets and purposes.

Moreover, CNC machines are capable of handling complicated geometries with ease. They can carry out complex cuts, curves, and shapes that would be difficult or impossible to accomplish by hand. CNC machines can produce precise features, curved profiles, and complicated 3D surfaces by employing multi-axis movements. For sectors that need extremely complex and accurate components, like aerospace, automotive, and medical devices, this expertise is extremely valuable.

· Reduction in Human Error

The possibility of human error that can arise during manual milling is reduced by CNC machining. CNC machines follow pre-programmed instructions to the letter when performing tasks thanks to automated motions and preset programs. This lowers the possibility of errors, including wrong measurements or inappropriate tool paths, leading to increased precision and better product quality.

When a human error occurs during manual machining, scrap pieces or rework may be required. By carrying out exact and accurate operations following the programmed instructions, CNC machining reduces the likelihood of such incidents. As a result, there is less loss of materials and time wasted fixing damaged parts, which increases productivity and lowers costs.

· Complex and Intricate Designs

A CNC machine can move in numerous directions; these directions lie on the X, Y, and Z axes. More rotating or swiveling axes are also possible in some sophisticated devices. CNC machines can perform delicate and complex machining processes because of their multi-axis capacity, which allows the cutting tool to be moved in multiple directions at once. It makes it possible to create complex features like undercuts, curved surfaces, and three-dimensional curves that are difficult to accomplish with hand machining.

Moreover, CNC machines can employ a large variety of cutting tools to create intricate shapes. To carry out particular tasks, many kinds of end mills, drills, reamers, and other specialist instruments can be used. The ability of CNC machines to seamlessly switch between multiple tools enables the effective completion of a variety of machining operations within the same design. The tooling options made the ability to produce complex designs with a variety of features and geometries possible' adaptability.

Other Benefits of CNC Machining

- Increased Efficiency

- Exceptional Precision

- Quality Consistency

- Time Saving.. and more.

Disadvantages of CNC Machining

While CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining has various advantages, it also has significant limitations when compared to manual milling.

· Lack of Manual Dexterity and Adaptability

The physical skill and flexibility of human operators are absent from CNC machines, which function according to pre-programmed instructions. Manual machining may offer greater flexibility and variety in scenarios that need human intervention, modifications, or improvisation.

· Maintenance and Downtime

Because CNC machines are intricate systems, they need routine maintenance to function at their best. Computer software, electrical systems, and mechanical parts all require upkeep and routine servicing. Should there be a malfunction or technical concern, identifying and fixing the issue could take some time, leading to lost time and decreased efficiency.

· Limited Flexibility for Small Production Runs

When it comes to small production runs or one-off products, CNC machining might not be as effective as it is in large-scale production or repeated manufacturing. For small numbers, setting up a CNC machine for a particular part may need programming, tooling modifications, and fixture setup, all of which can be time-consuming and less economical.

However, in JLC3DP, we accept small-batch CNC orders, with prices starting from $8. At the same time, you can feel that you will receive the express package of your design within three days after placing the order.

Applications of CNC machining

CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining is widely used across various industries due to its versatility and precision. It might include the aerospace industry, automotive industry, medical field, electronics industry, furniture and woodworking industry, and so on. These represent only a small selection of the numerous uses for CNC machining. Its great precision, constant quality, and capacity to create complicated geometries make it a flexible manufacturing technology used in many different industries.

Take the aerospace industry as an example, a major function of CNC machining can be observed in the aerospace sector. Complex parts including turbine blades, engine parts, structural elements, and airplane interiors are produced using it. The exacting standards of the aircraft industry are met by CNC machining, which guarantees excellent precision, close tolerances, and repeatability.


To sum up, CNC machining has many benefits in terms of accuracy, automation, consistency, and adaptability. It has uses in many industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical, electronics, tool and die manufacture, furniture, energy, jewelry, and more. It also greatly decreases human error and makes complicated and elaborate designs possible.

Nevertheless, there are drawbacks to CNC machining as well, such as a learning curve for programming and operation, maintenance needs, restricted design freedom for short production runs, and reliance on software and energy.

Despite the drawbacks noted above, CNC machining is still developing, and many of the restrictions are lessened with careful planning, appropriate instruction, and effective manufacturing techniques. The decision between CNC and manual machining ultimately comes down to the particulars of the project, the available resources, and the results that are wanted.

All things considered, CNC machining has completely transformed the manufacturing sector by making it possible to produce complicated parts and components with accuracy, consistency, and efficiency. Its extensive use in many different industries attests to its significance and the advancements it has brought about in contemporary manufacturing techniques.