What is CNC Turning?

CNC Lathe

What is CNC Turning?

What is Geomiq's CNC Turning Service?

This article delves into the workings of CNC Turning – a subtractive manufacturing process – by discussing the operations of CNC Turning machines, the types of parts that can be produced through turning, and the optimal design practices for maximising the benefits of CNC machining.

CNC turning involves the use of fixed cutting tools to eliminate material from a workpiece, which is held in place by a revolving chuck. This process is particularly suited to creating parts with symmetry about their central axis, and generally results in quicker and more cost-effective production than milling.

CNC turning, or lathing, is a common technique for producing cylindrical components. However, contemporary multi-axis CNC turning centers, fitted with CNC milling tools, can now fabricate non-cylindrical parts as well. By combining the efficiency of CNC turning with the versatility of CNC milling, these systems can generate an extensive variety of rotational symmetric geometries

How do CNC Turning Machines work?

1. Producing a CAD model

Design software, such as Solidworks and Autodesk Fusion 360, is used by engineers and machinists to produce a CAD model of their specific components.

2. Convert CAD model for CNC machine

The CAD model is then imported into the computer-aided manufacturing system. With proper execution, this process generates a sequence of digital instructions referred to as G-code, which dictates the CNC machine’s actions. These G-code commands specify the machine’s movements and velocities, enabling it to fabricate the desired component accurately.

3. CNC Milling Machine preparation

Firmly Secure the workpiece or block of material into the lathe chuck, and perform all of the necessary steps for configuring the turning machine.

4. Starting the turning process

Commence the CNC turning process by loading the program. Specialised cutting tools, either rotating at high speeds or set to a fixed revolution per minute, are utilised to remove material from the workpiece until it precisely duplicates the desired component.

What is the difference between CNC milling & turning

Cnc milling and turning

CNC turning is primarily used to construct cylindrical or conical surfaces. In contrast, the turning procedure necessitates the use of a lathe, which is a machine tool capable of revolving a workpiece around an axis of rotation, of executing various operations, including cutting, drilling, turning, and threading. Furthermore, it utilises a single-point turning tool that stays in direct contact with the workpiece throughout the process.

CNC milling, on the other hand, is utilised to generate flat surfaces using a milling machine. This process involves a multi-point cutting tool or a milling cutter. In contrast to turning, the milling process depends on intermittent cutting and multiple machine steps. 

A brief description of the procedure by which a CNC Lathe  creates components

To begin, the operator generates G-code using a CAD model and sets up the machine with a cylindrical stock material, or blank.

The workpiece commences rotating at a high velocity, while a fixed cutting tool tracks the desired profile, steadily eliminating material until the intended geometry is achieved.

If necessary, internal cutting tools and center drills can be employed to create holes along the workpiece’s central axis. In case the part requires flipping or relocation, the process must be repeated.

Otherwise, after the material has been removed, the component is ready for use or additional post-processing steps.

Are you ready to supercharge your manufacturing utilising Geomiq’s revolutionary Ai-powered platform? Click the button below to request a CNC quote through our platform.

March 31, 2023

Posted in

Share with your Friends

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geomiq. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world analytic products as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of any Geomiq Employee.

What is CNC Turning

CNC turning machine


World-class CNC Turned parts delivered to your door in days

Upload your files to get started

Order high-quality CNC Turned parts with Geomiq

With CNC Turning, your mechanical parts can be created with an extremely high level of accuracy. When you rely on Geomiq for your CNC Turning needs, you can trust that we’ll connect you with the right manufacturer for the job. Our partners’ expertise – combined with the power of our data-driven software and the 1400+ machines on our network – will ensure your parts are affordably quoted, quickly delivered and made right the first time, every time.

Why order CNC turned parts from Geomiq?

process icon


Rapid turnaround

We’re committed to reducing friction at every stage, so you can be as delighted with the speed of your CNC Turned parts’ arrival as you are with their exceptional quality. Order now to receive your parts in as little as 5 days!

manufacturing icon


High accuracy

Our standard CNC tolerance is +/- 0.127mm, and when you use our tolerance configurator, you can expect precision machining to +/- 0.005mm.

automated package carrying icon


Unmatched scalability

Whether you’re after a one-off prototype or 100,000 units at the most competitive price, CNC Turning is a go-to manufacturing method for rapid scalability.

icon writing 100%


The perfect finish

We offer high-quality finishing processes for most CNC Turned parts; including anodising, polishing and plating, heat treatment, powder coating and more.

gear icon


A wide variety of materials

We offer over 60 production grade materials, and take great care to ensure the right material is used for every part.

options icon


A wide range of industries

From aerospace and robotics products to medical and automotive parts, we’re proud to create beautifully CNC Turned parts for any and every industry.

CNC Turning materials

Click on each material to find out more

Available aluminium varieties:

  • Aluminium – Grey (6061)
  • Aluminium – Grey (6082)
  • Aluminium – Grey (7050)
  • Aluminium – Grey (7075)

Available stainless steel varieties:

  • Stainless Steel – Grey (303)
  • Stainless Steel – Grey (304)
  • Stainless Steel – Grey (304L)
  • Stainless Steel – Grey (316)
  • Stainless Steel – Grey (316L)

Copper – Red/Bronze

  • Brass – Yellow (CZ 121)
  • Brass – Yellow (CZ 131)

Magnesium – Grey (Magnesium AZ31)

Steel Alloy – Grey (Allow 4140)

Titanium – Grey (Grade 5 Ti6AI4V)

  • ABS, Black
  • ABS, White
  • ABS, Natural
  • ABS, Clear
  • ABS/PC, Black
  • Copolymer, Grey
  • Copolymer, Natural
  • Homopolymer, Black
  • Homopolymer, Natural
  • Homopolymer, Black 20% glass fibre-UV
  • Homopolymer, Black UV stabilisted
  • CVPC on request
  • HDPE, Natural
  • LDPE, Natural
  • PA6, Natural
  • PA6, Black 30% Glass Fibre
  • PA6, Natural 30% Glass Fibre
  • PA6/6, Natural 20% Glass
  • PA6/6, Black 25% Glass
  • PA6/6, Black 30% Glass Fibre
  • ABS/PC, Black
  • PEEK, Natural 
  • PEI, Black
  • PEI, Natural 
  • PET, Natural 
  • PMMA, Clear 
  • PMMA, Frosted
  • PP, Homopolymer Black
  • PP, Homopolymer Natural
  • PP, Copolymer Natural
  • PP, Natural 
  • PP, Natural 20% Glass
  • PPSU, Black
  • PS, (HIPS) White
  • PSU Natural
  • PTFE, White
  • PVC, Grey
  • UHMW

Post-processing and finishing options

Click on each option to find out more

  • This is the finishing option with the fastest turnaround. If you opt for as-turned finishing, your parts may be left with visible tool marks and potentially sharp edges and burrs, but we can remove these upon request.

  • Coating services:

    • Galvanic zinc
    • Nickel and chrome
    • Anodising (hard and colour)

  • Surface finishing options:

    • Polishing
    • Blasting
    • Painting and powder coating

  • Heat treatment options:

    • Quenching and tempering
    • Normalising and tempering


CNC Turning (a form of subtractive manufacturing) is a manufacturing process on a lathe. A bar of metal or plastic is held in a chuck and rotated at high speed, while a tool removes material into the desired shape.

The Geomiq process:

Engineer checking a 3d model part on a computer
step 1 yellow box text


It takes just seconds to upload your design files to the G-Quote engine. We benchmark a minimum of 3 quotes from trusted partners and deliver you the best price within one business day.

engineering working on a mechanical part with a cobot arm
step 2 yellow box text


Once the best quote for price, quality and speed is selected, our trusted partners will get to work creating you the highest quality of mechanical parts – and your parts will be manufactured in days!

male engineer operating a manufacturing process
step 3 yellow box text


Our expert team of engineers carry out two stages of rigorous Quality Control to ensure thorough inspections of your parts and ensure they are right the first time.

Different types of cnc machined parts
step 4 yellow box


Utilising our proprietary software and our on-site teams, we ensure on-time delivery and communicate project status at every stage from order through to delivery.