The Advantages and Disadvantages of CNC Precision Machining

CNC machines are used by manufacturers to create precision CNC machining parts that require a high degree of exact detailing and can’t be cast in a furnace. Similar to fiber laser cutting, CNC precision machining is utilized in intersecting industries like aerospace, automotive, medical, electronic, and more. 

Keep on reading to learn more about the pros and cons of CNC precision machining, and find out if CNC machining is the best industrial processing device for you.

What Is CNC Precision Machining?

CNC precision machining manufacturers use computer numerical control (CNC) systems to handle complex machinery and tools. CNC precision machining is generally precise, efficient, and can produce intricate parts from raw materials.

person operating cnc machine software

High-precision CNC machining runs on computerized controls. These systems guide, control, and manage the movement and operation of machinery. Automated CNC systems can execute complex and precise movements on a large scale more accurately than manual controls. 

All products produced with CNC machining precision begin with a blueprint. Computer-aided design (CAD) software creates these highly detailed plans that provide a 3D outline the machine follows to create the product. Post-processor software translates the CAD blueprints into code that the machine can understand. Although the machines are automated, a highly skilled machinist oversees the process 

Advantages of CNC Precision Machining

CNC precision machines consistently produce products to exact specifications, which is one reason they’re so widely used. Some other advantages of CNC precision machining include the following:

Great Precision

The biggest advantage of CNC precision machining is its ability to produce accurate parts on a large scale. To achieve this level of precision, it uses advanced computerized systems that control the machining tools with a level of detail that is impossible to achieve through manual machining.

CNC systems can follow very complex paths and patterns to create parts with intricate geometries and tight tolerances. This precision is crucial in industries such as aerospace, medical, and automotive, where even the slightest deviation can lead to catastrophic failure.

Increased Efficiency and Productivity

CNC machines can operate 24/7 with minimal supervision, except for occasional maintenance and setup changes. While some jobs may require manual adjustment here and there, they are—for the most part—autonomous. With their continual operation, CNC machines significantly increase production capacity.

Automation drastically improves efficiency. Since manufacturers program CNC machines to carry out tasks automatically, they reduce the need for labor and minimize the possibility of human error — both of which are costly and time-consuming.

Versatility in Materials

Unlike some other manufacturing processes, CNC precision machining is not limited to specific types of materials. You can use it with a wide range of materials, including metals like aluminum, steel, and titanium, as well as plastics, composites, and even wood.

cnc machine cutting wood

Because it’s so versatile, companies use CNC precision machining for a broad range of applications. Inventors can use softer materials like plastics for prototypes or less demanding parts, while manufacturers use tougher materials like titanium for high-stress applications in aerospace or medical implants.

Disadvantages of CNC Precision Machining

Although there are many advantages to CNC precision machining, there are also some significant drawbacks. Some of the biggest disadvantages include the following: 


While CNC machining can certainly get down to the nitty-gritty details, the precision of the device is limited by the cutting bit. However, the smaller these cutting bits get, the less force they have—making it difficult to cut through thicker materials and achieve accurate cuts simultaneously. 

Fiber lasers, for example, allow for significantly more precise cuts. Because they utilize ultra-fine laser beams to cut through many types of material, the precision they achieve is superior to a CNC machine. Additionally, the power of your laser cutter determines the material thickness you can cut through. If you want to handle thick materials, opt for a more powerful fiber laser machine

Cutting Speed

CNC machine processing is faster and more precise than manual cutting, but it isn’t the fastest cutting device in the industry. This is because CNC machines use bits to slice through the material, and it takes more time for the tools to complete the cut. Fiber laser cutters, on the other hand, typically take only one pass to cut through the intended material. This makes the material-cutting process even faster than CNC machining.

Maintenance and Material Waste 

Just like woodworking, CNC machine processing often creates dust and debris that is not only dangerous to inhale but also makes for a messy workplace. This is due to the nature of CNC machining, which requires carving into materials to make precise cuts. Even with a fume extractor, CNC machining can lead to an untidy workspace. 

cnc machine cutting wood and creating wood dust

Unlike CNC routing, fiber laser cutting works by burning or melting into the material, which produces fumes but no fragments. This also means they produce less physical waste than CNC processing. With a fiber laser machine, you also won’t have to worry about dust or debris settling in your working area. Enjoy cleaner and more efficient material processing with fiber laser cutting!

Let OMTech Help

fiber laser cutter cutting metal

If you're looking for an alternative to CNC machining with superior cutting quality, processing speeds, and lesser maintenance and material waste, opt for OMTech fiber-laser cutting machines. While our fiber cutters might present a hefty upfront cost, the long-term benefits of faster production and efficient cutting are well worth the investment. With our wide selection of industrial metal fiber cutters, you’re sure to find the right fit at OMTech FC. Contact us today to learn more about our products!