Machining processes and techniques

Industrial machining is constantly evolving. With the development of new machining equipment, it has become quite difficult to understand the differences between the different processes.

Whether it’s for small series machining or for producing larger parts, manufacturers can customize the design of these machines and create unique shapes and sizes, using a variety of machining techniques and tools.

It can be difficult to understand the various techniques used and their roles, In this article, our industrial machining specialists will introduce you to the 3 most widely used machining techniques by professionals in this industry.

The 3 most widely used machining techniques

Machining operations are usually classified into 3 main processes:

  • Turning
  • Drilling
  • Milling

Each machining technique requires a specific machine tool. There are also other machining operations that fall into alternative categories, including boring, sawing, shaping and broaching, which we will go into more detail about later.

Machining technique #1: turning


Turning is a machining technique in which the machine tool rotates at a specific speed so that the blades cut parts of the workpiece. The objective is to create a cylindrical or conical part.

There are several types of turning, and each element of the process can be customized to meet different industrial machinery design needs.

This machining process can be used to create a wide variety of finished products, since it is possible to work both inside and outside the part:

  • Internal turning: jig boring, centering, boring and grooving
  • External turning: facing, straight turning, bevelling, grooving and threading

Turning can be done manually or with the help of a computer.

Machining technique #2: milling


Milling is an extremely flexible machining technique because the cutting tools can perform a wide variety of movements. In milling processes, the workpiece is attached to a moving worktable that adjusts to direct it towards fixed or moving cutting tools.

A wide variety of tools can be used for this process, but the ones that are specifically designed for this purpose are called milling machines. These machine tools come in different shapes and sizes, and their placement of flutes and teeth can vary, enabling the creation of complex designs.

Contact us now if you have any specific machining or machine maintenance needs!

Machining technique #3: drilling


With drilling, holes are made through the material of the industrial part. This type of machining is used to prepare the parts for the assembly of different components. Each material has recommended tools and settings to create smooth, easy-to-clean holes.

Drill presses are the perfect cutting tools for drilling through workpieces and creating round holes of various sizes in different materials.

It is often assumed that drilling can only be done on soft materials such as wood. However,  harder materials like metal can also be drilled. As long as the tool is harder than the workpiece, it should be able to “scrape away” the material to create a hole. But only a machining expert will be able to choose the right drilling equipment!

Alternative machining techniques

The machining techniques above are the most commonly used. However, there are various alternative effective solutions that might be useful for your project. Take a look at some other machining techniques below:


Boring is a machining method that involves the use of a single-point cutting tool or boring head to enlarge an existing hole in a workpiece. This process is complementary to drilling, which is used to create the initial hole in the workpiece.


Sawing is a technique that cuts through a workpiece. The tool used, the saw, has a set of closely spaced teeth. Sawing is used to separate workpieces into two or more parts, or to remove an unnecessary section of a workpiece.


Sometimes called grooving, shaping is a machining process in which the cutting tool rotates while the workpiece remains stationary. Shapers are generally used to cut shapes inside industrial parts, such as grooves, slots, squares, hexagons and straight flutes.


Broaching is a machining technique that uses a toothed tool called a broach to remove material in a precise, consistent way. The main feature of the broach is the height of its teeth, which increases progressively along the tool, unlike a saw. The broach has three separate zones: roughing, semi-finishing and finishing.

High-quality machining with HARtech

As you can see from the information above, there are many machining techniques, each of which could help progress a project of yours. Note though that it’s important to know exactly how to implement these techniques in order to get the most out of them.

Les Entreprises HARtech have years’ worth of experience machining and manufacturing machine components, castings, forgings, extrusions and tapping for a wide range of industries.

Contact us today to request a quote for your project or to learn more about the different machining techniques at our company located in Saint-Laurent, Quebec.

Similar publications
Plastic Machining
All About Plastic Machining

Plastic machining is a manufacturing technique that is key to modern industry, particularly in the automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical sectors. Unlike metals, plastics offer unrivalled lightness,

Read more »
usinage pièce de bronze
All About Bronze Machining

Bronze machining is a technique that is revolutionizing the automotive, marine and electronics industries. Bronze is a copper-based alloy made primarily of copper and tin that offers

Read more »