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Conventional & Non-Conventional Precision Machining: Guide
11-10-2022

Precision machining is used across industries to produce intricate parts and components with tight tolerances. This process involves CNC (computer numerical control) which uses computer software-generated codes to complete tasks like drilling, milling, turning, boring, cutting, etc. There are two major types of CNC machining processes — conventional and unconventional. Learn their major differences in this blog.

Major differences between conventional and unconventional precision machining

Overview:
Conventional precision machining depends on more rigid tools or abrasive equipment to remove material from the workpiece to create the desired shape. Processes like milling, boring, grinding, drilling, etc. come under this type. On the other hand, unconventional methods utilize various forms of energy like electrical, thermal, and chemical to achieve the desired outcome.

Materials:
Unconventional machining is often used to manufacture difficult-to-machine materials like superalloys. Conventional methods cannot be applied to such materials as they will lead to high tool consumption and faster wear.

Cost:
Conventional machining costs less as it involves relatively cheaper methods and tools. However, even though unconventional precision machining uses expensive methods, they provide cheaper unit costs. Hence, machine shops with long-term projects often opt for unconventional precision machining.

Complex geometry:
Complex geometries in a hard metal can be easily achieved with the help of unconventional machining, as opposed to the conventional process that requires expensive tooling or high tool consumption. This is also due to the robust methods used by unconventional methods.

Volume:
Unconventional precision machining can produce high-volume production than its conventional counterpart. Processes like waterjet cutting are designed for mass production at a lower cost. While conventional methods are precise and easy to operate, they are slower and more time-consuming compared to unconventional methods.

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