What is machining?

Machining is a process where you cut, drill, mill or turn materials away to form the desired component. The primary purpose of processing is to convert raw or recycled material into beneficial components.

It is often metals such as iron, copper, brass and aluminum that are processed, but you can also process in different types of plastic.


Various CNC Machines

For machining materials machine shops often use CNC machines, such as CNC turning, milling and cutting depending on what kind of job you need done.

The different machines are available from less advanced 3 axis to more advanced with 4 and 5 axis. The new machines often have a high tolerance value of +/- 0.127 mm or 0.005” (The thickness of a human hair is 0.05 mm or 0.002″)

Read more about tolerance in the “What is tolerance” tab


To see the specification on our CNC machines you can download our machine list underneath:


What is tolerance?

Tolerance in machining is defined as the total number a certain dimension is permitted to vary from the given value. Also known as the minimum or maximum dimensional limit for components. However, if the dimensions of the component fall outside these limits, these parts are outside the acceptable tolerance and are considered unusable.


Why Are Machining Tolerances Important

Tolerance is very important, as the finished component is often part of another production, where the requirement for tolerance can be high for the whole thing to fit together. Manufacturers often have no idea how or where components should interact with other pieces.

Factors That Impact Machining Tolerances

There are many factors to consider when determining the tolerances.

These include the following:


Material: Materials behave differently when it is processed or when it is under different conditions and others are easier to work with than others. These material properties must be taken into account when determining tolerance.


Machining type: The way components are machined has a significant influence on the tolerance of the final component as some machining processes are more precise than others.


Surface treatment: Any surface treatment, such as painting, chroming, etc., should be taken into account when determining dimensions and tolerances. Coating and finishing can add small amounts of materials to the surface of a component. These small amounts still change the dimensions of the final product and should be considered before production.

What materials can we handle?

At our factories in Denmark and Latvia we have experiences handling various kind of materiales of metal and plastic.


This is the common materials we are machining:


Steel is the most common but also the most popular metal to process due to its strength and durability. Steel is easy to weld compared to other similar metals. It is especially used in industrial contexts, the automotive industry, the oil and gas industry.


Stainless steel:

Stainless steel is also a popular metal for machining due to its strength and corrosion resistance. Stainless steel is available in various alloys and aims to improve the steel’s mechanical and / or corrosion properties. The different types of stainless steel have a number of different treatment options and it can change the properties of the material and the way it is machined.



Aluminum has many advantages as it is light, easy to machine, non-magnetic, corrosion resistant and inexpensive. Aluminum is even becoming a preferred choice to steel. However, for best results, aluminum welding always needs to be handled by an experienced machining shop. Along with the listed benefits, it can be machined to tight tolerances and can coat with many different materials to make it harder or more conductive as a cheaper alternative to using steel, stainless steel or copper.



The advantage of brass processing is that it is easy to process, smooth, clean finish, non-sparkling and holds tolerances. Brass is better in intricate components that require sophisticated features.



Titanium is a highly valued and useful metal for machining. Titanium is highly resistant to heat and corrosion and has the most significant strength to weight ratio of any metal. It is also lighter in weight, making it suitable for a wide range of applications from aviation to medical tools. One of the disadvantages of titanium, however, is that it can be very difficult to machine and the price of the material.



Copper is another metal that is highly valued for machining. Copper offers the benefits of versatility, durability, electrical conductivity and natural corrosion resistance. Copper does not hold tolerances as well as aluminum, but it is a much better electrical conductor.



Plastic can be used as a cheap, non-metallic, non-conductive raw material for processing. Because plastics are inert and can be modified to suit a variety of properties, plastics-processed parts are used in a variety of industries, including medical, electronics, industrial, and scientific applications. Known for its smooth injection molding and extremely low cost.

What is the difference between CNC milling and CNC turning?

There are both CNC machines. CNC means computer numerical control, which means that CNC turning and CNC milling are both controlled by computer systems to guide the machining process.


What is the difference?

The two ways use different techniques to process components.
In CNC turning, it is often the material that rotates when machining, whereas CNC milling it is the tool that mills / drills in the material.

CNC milling is often used when making complex components from a metal block by milling away excess material, where CNC turning is commonly used for cylindrical components.


CNC Milling

The traditional CNC milling machines have 3 axes, where the milling tool can move in 3 directions.

The 3 axis machines have some limitations, but can perform most milling work, and you may have to manually turn the workpiece if you need to mill on both sides.

Multi-axis milling allows 4 or more axes, including rotation of the tool and work table. This adds an extra dimension of flexibility. 5-axis milling machines are the most common of these and are capable of creating pretty much anything that can be made with milling.


CNC Turning

As mentioned before, CNC lathes are used primarily for cylindrical components, such as shafts, special hollow tubes or other axially symmetrical part.


While 5-axis machining can also create cylindrical parts, turning is just more efficient and time cost for these machines is lower.


What we do at MSSP

When we receive a project from our clients, we discuss with the production manager and the engineer where the components should be machining and which machine is suitable for the project.


Factors affecting the choice of machines:

  • Size
  • Shape
  • Complexity
  • Volume


Additional questions?

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