Conventional Machining vs Non-traditional Machining

conventional vs non conventional machining

Conventional Machining vs Non-traditional Machining


Difference Between Conventional Machining and Non-Traditional Machining

The main difference between conventional machining and non-traditional machining (NTM) lies in the way they remove material from a workpiece and the tools and processes involved. Here are the key distinctions:

Conventional Machining:

Material Removal:

Conventional machining methods involve the physical removal of material from a workpiece to achieve the desired shape and size.


Conventional machining primarily uses cutting tools, such as drills, milling cutters, lathe tools, and grinding wheels, to cut, shape, or grind the workpiece.


In conventional machining, the tool makes physical contact with the workpiece, and the material is removed through cutting, shearing, or grinding actions.

Material Types:

Conventional machining is typically suitable for a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, and composites.

Process Flexibility:

Conventional machining processes are generally adaptable and can be used for both small-scale and large-scale production runs.

Surface Finish:

While conventional machining methods can achieve good surface finishes, additional post-processing may be required to achieve high precision and smoothness.

Non-Traditional Machining:

Material Removal:

Non-traditional machining methods utilize various techniques, such as thermal, chemical, electrical, or mechanical energy, to remove material from the workpiece.


Non-traditional machining often employs specialized tools or equipment specific to the process. Examples include lasers, electron beams, ultrasonic tools, water jets, or electrical discharges.


Non-traditional machining methods do not rely on physical contact between the tool and the workpiece. Instead, they use energy or other means to remove material through processes like melting, vaporization, erosion, or chemical reactions.

Material Types:

Non-traditional machining processes can be applied to a wide range of materials, including metals, ceramics, glass, and composites.

Process Complexity:

Non-traditional machining methods are often more complex and require specialized knowledge and equipment. They are commonly used for intricate shapes, complex geometries, or challenging materials.

Surface Finish:

Non-traditional machining can provide exceptional surface finishes, precision, and intricate details, often eliminating the need for additional post-processing.

Similarities between conventional machining and Non-traditional machining

Although conventional machining and NTM have their differences, there are also some similarities between the two methods. Here are a few commonalities:

Material Removal:

Both conventional machining and NTM processes involve the removal of material from a workpiece to achieve the desired shape, size, or surface finish. Whether it’s through cutting, grinding, melting, erosion, or other means, the goal is to shape the workpiece according to the desired specifications.

Manufacturing Applications:

Both conventional machining and NTM methods find applications in various industries, including automotive, aerospace, medical, electronics, and general manufacturing. They are used for producing components, parts, and products with specific geometries and functional requirements.


Although the specific tools and equipment used may differ, both conventional machining and NTM methods rely on specialized tools to carry out the material removal process. In conventional machining, tools like drills, milling cutters, and lathe tools are used, while NTM methods may employ tools such as lasers, water jets, or electrical discharges.

Precision and Tolerances:

Both conventional machining and NTM processes can achieve high precision and tight tolerances. While conventional machining methods have been refined over time to achieve high levels of accuracy, NTM processes offer the advantage of producing intricate and complex shapes with precision.

Surface Finish:

Both conventional machining and NTM methods can achieve desired surface finishes on the workpiece. While conventional machining may require additional post-processing steps to achieve higher levels of surface smoothness, NTM processes can often produce excellent surface finishes directly, reducing the need for additional finishing steps.

Material Compatibility:

Both conventional machining and NTM processes can be applied to a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, composites, ceramics, and more. The suitability of a specific method may depend on the material’s properties, such as hardness, thermal conductivity, or brittleness.

While conventional machining methods have been widely used for many years and offer versatility and cost-effectiveness, NTM processes have emerged to address specific manufacturing challenges, such as complex geometries, hard materials, or delicate workpieces. The choice between conventional and non-traditional machining depends on factors like the desired outcome, material properties, production volume, and cost considerations.

CNC machining – a typical representative for non-traditional machining

CNC machining
CNC machining

CNC machining is a form of non-traditional machining. Traditional machining methods typically involve the physical removal of material through processes like turning, milling, drilling, and grinding, which are controlled manually or through mechanical means. On the other hand, non-traditional machining methods are relatively newer and often utilize unconventional techniques to shape or remove material.

CNC machining falls under the non-traditional machining category because it relies on computerized control systems to guide the cutting tools and the workpiece. The use of computer numerical control allows for precise and automated control of the machining process, resulting in increased accuracy and efficiency. CNC machines can perform various operations such as milling, turning, drilling, and grinding, but with the added benefit of computer control and automation.

Non-traditional machining methods also include techniques like electrical discharge machining (EDM), laser cutting, waterjet cutting, and ultrasonic machining, among others. These processes often involve different principles and mechanisms compared to traditional machining, offering unique advantages for specific applications.

In summary, CNC machining is considered a non-traditional machining method due to its reliance on computer control and automation, which distinguishes it from conventional machining techniques.

TDB provides CNC machining services
TDB provides CNC machining services

TDB Hanoi provides CNC machining services, including milling, turning, Swiss turning, and sheet metal fabrication.

With precision machining centers, combined with other advanced capabilities and an experienced team, we can handle all types of CNC machining parts in both metal and plastic materials.

Whether you need production parts machining, TDB’s CNC machining services will be your best choice. Leave us an RFQ now!

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