CNC Processes

CNC Turning

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Turning with Fictiv (1:23)

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CNC Turning Materials

A2 Tool Steel






Cast Iron



Garolite G-10








Stainless Steel





A2 Tool Steel

A2 Tool Steel has excellent wear resistance and toughness, commonly used to make fixtures, tools, tool holders, gauges, and punches.
Mill Lead Time:
As fast as 7 days
Finishing Options:
Media Blasting, Vibratory Tumbling, Black Oxide, Powdercoating

Finishing Options for CNC Turning

Name Applicable Materials Colors Can be applied with
Alodine Aluminum Clear, gold Media Blasting, Tumbling, Type II Anodizing* Type III Anodizing*, Type III Anodizing with PTFE*
Anodizing Aluminum Clear, black, grey, red, blue, gold Media Blasting, Tumbling, Alodine*
Black Oxide Steel, Stainless Steel Black Media Blasting, Tumbling, Passivation
Electroless Nickel Plating Aluminum, Steel, Stainless Steel Media Blasting, Tumbling
Electropolishing Steel, Stainless Steel
Hand Polishing Acrylic Enhanced cosmetic appearance
Media Blasting Aluminum, Steel, Stainless Steel, Brass, Bronze, Copper All post processes except Electropolish and Powdercoat
Nickel Plating Aluminum, Steel, Stainless Steel Media Blasting, Tumbling
Passivation Steel, Stainless Steel Black Oxide, Electroless Nickel Plating, Zinc Plating, Tumbling, Media Blasting
Powder Coating Aluminum, Steel, Stainless Steel Black (20% or 90% gloss), white (20% or 90% gloss)
Tumbling Aluminum, Steel, Stainless Steel, Brass, Bronze, Copper All post processes except Electropolish and Powdercoat
Vapor Polishing CNC Polycarbonate (Clear, Black) Enhanced cosmetic appearance, near optically clear applications
Zinc Plating Steel, Stainless Steel Clear: light blue coating, black: glossy black coating Media Blasting, Tumbling, Passivation

* = requires masking

Precision Machining Tolerance

Metals, PEEK, And
ULTEM With Drawing
Other Plastics
With Drawing
No Drawing
Linear Dimension +/- 0.01 mm
+/- 0.0003 inch
+/- 0.05 mm
+/- 0.002 inch
ISO 2768 Medium
Hole Diameters
(Not Reamed)
+/- 0.008 mm
+/- 0.0003 inch
+/- 0.05 mm
+/- 0.002 inch
ISO 2768 Medium
Shaft Diameters +/- 0.004 mm
+/- 0.00016 inch
+/- 0.05 mm
+/- 0.002 inch
ISO 2768 Medium

Depending on the machining process, Fictiv accepts parts up to 48" in length. If you have larger parts, please chat with our team. Also note that the tolerances listed here are minimums for an ideal case and looser tolerances may be required depending on the process, material choice, or part geometry.

Download Tolerance Chart

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About the CNC Turning Process

For cylindrical parts such as pins, shafts, and spacers, or parts with general rotational symmetry, ‘turning’ them on a lathe is usually the simplest and most cost effective choice. Contrary to a mill, a lathe operates by fixturing cylindrical stock, called a rod, into a rotating chuck jaw on the machine. As this chuck rotates at a high RPM, so does the stock, and a fixed-orientation tool then translates along and across the stock to cut part features.

A CNC lathe equipped with live-tooling has all the capabilities of a standard lathe, but instead of relying solely on stationary tools, it can have rotating cutters such as drills or endmills, allowing for greater machining freedom and the introduction of asymmetrical features into the part without additional fixturing setups.

CNC Turning FAQs

Technical FAQs

What minimum thickness can I incorporate into my design to prevent warpage?

Typically, we recommend a minimum wall thickness of 0.5mm for metals and 1mm for plastics. However, these values largely depend on the size of the part; therefore the larger the part size, the higher the recommended minimum wall thickness should be. Please keep in mind that this does not imply that wall thicknesses with lesser values are unachievable. These recommendations are simply thresholds to limit the risk of warpage.

What size of fillets are added when no specific fillet is specified by the 3D model or drawing?

If a specific fillet radius is required, please specify. If not, the fillet radii that allow for easy machining will be added based on the machinist’s discretion. For a general idea, internal vertical edge radii could be >1/3*Depth and internal horizontal edges may be left sharp or have a 0.5mm to 1mm radius.

General FAQs

What is a CNC turning center?

A CNC Turning Center performs a turning type operation. CNC lathes, or turning centers, have tooling mounted on a turret which is computer-controlled. CNC Turning is a process in manufacturing where workpieces are rotated as various tools are used to remove material and create the desired shape.

What is the difference between rough turning and finish turning?

Rough turning removes as much material as possible without a focus on accuracy and surface finish, getting the workpiece close to the desired shape. Finish turning “finishes” the process, producing the desired smoothness and accuracy.

What is the difference between CNC turning centers and CNC lathes?

CNC lathes are most often only 2 axis machines with one spindle. They also don’t have high production capabilities and typically don’t have a protective enclosure around the machine. CNC turning centers are more advanced versions of CNC lathes with up to 5 axes and more versatility in cutting ability. They also offer the ability to produce higher volumes and usually integrate milling, drilling, and other capabilities.

What are the benefits of CNC turning?

In addition to using turning tools, a CNC turning center can also be equipped with rotating cutters such as end mills or drills, which allows for greater freedom in machining, such as having the ability to handle asymmetrical features in parts. This increases production speed and efficiency, cost-effectiveness and safer operations. Several aspects of turning that are unique and different from milling, include the ease of achieving radial symmetry, high precision due to mounting part in chuck, and good surface finish.

What parts can be made with CNC turning?

CNC turning is used for creating a variety of parts, including auto parts, knobs, tubes, gears, toy parts, flywheels, crankshafts, hubs & disc cams. It is most often used to manufacture parts for automotive, aerospace, medical, and other industries.

Top Resources for CNC Turning


CNC Machining vs. Manual Machining


The Ultimate Guide to CNC Machining


Finding the Right Secondary Operations After CNC Machining, Part III: Hardware Installation

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