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CNC Drilling

What is CNC Drilling?

Numerical control drilling is a precision numerical control machining method, which uses computer numerical control (CNC) and uses a drill bit to drill holes in the material. Unlike manual drilling, CNC drilling uses the power of the computer program to control the movement of the bit, so CNC drilling ensures accuracy and consistency unmatched by manual operation. This approach is beneficial for industries that require high precision, such as medical, automotive, and electronics, where even small differences can cause major problems.

  1. How Does CNC Drilling Work?

The working process of CNC drilling usually includes the following steps:

1. Set programming mode, feed rate mode, drilling cycle and other parameters.

2. Specify specific parameters such as the center position, depth and feed speed of the hole through programming languages such as G code.

3. The machine automatically locates the drill to the specified position according to the programming instruction.

4. The drill rotates and feeds according to preset parameters to complete the drilling operation.

5. After drilling, the machine automatically lifts the drill bit to the safe position and waits for the next instruction or operation.

Different CNC Drilling Methods

Subtitle Description

Hole processing methods: drilling, reaming, reaming, boring, drawing, etc


Drilling is the first process of machining holes on solid materials, and the diameter of the drilling hole is generally less than. Drilling machining accuracy is very low, low productivity. It can be used for the final machining of holes with low quality requirements, such as oil holes, screw holes, etc. It can also be used for pre-machining of technically demanding holes or for bottom hole machining before tapping.


Reaming is one of the finishing methods of the processing of holes and is widely used in CNC holes production. For smaller holes, reaming is a more practical and economical  machining method than internal grinding and fine boring.


Boring is a processing method of expanding the prefabricated hole with a cutting tool, and the boring work can be carried out either on the boring machine or on the lathe.For large diameter holes (generally D>φ80 ~ 100mm), internal forming surface or hole inner ring groove, boring is the only suitable processing method.

Hole broaching

Hole broaching is a highly productive finishing method.Broaching has good quality and high productivity. The broach has long service life and simple broaching machine structure. But the broach structure is complex, the manufacture is more troublesome, the price is higher, so it is more used for mass and mass production of finishing.

Hole grinding

Hole grinding is one of the hole finishing methods, the dimensional tolerance level can be achieved is IT8 ~ IT6, the surface roughness Ra value is 1.6 ~ 0.4μm.Hole lapping is the finishing method of the hole, which needs to be carried out after fine boring, fine reaming or fine grinding.


Honing is a highly efficient finishing method for holes, which needs to be carried out on the basis of grinding or fine boring. Hole honing is widely used in mass production to process engine cylinders, hydraulic cylinders and various gun barrels.

Supported Materials in CNC Drilling

Subtitle Description

Metallic material

In CNC drilling, metal materials are widely used because of their high strength, high hardness and good wear resistance. Common metal materials include aluminum alloy, stainless steel, carbon steel, brass and titanium. These metal materials have good machinability and stability, and can meet the needs of hole processing with various complex shapes and sizes. For example, aluminum alloy is widely used in aerospace, automobile manufacturing and other fields because of its light weight, corrosion resistance and easy processing. Stainless steel, because of its excellent corrosion resistance, occupies an important position in chemical, medical and other fields.

Plastic material

For CNC drilling, plastic-based materials are favored because of their light weight, ease of processing and corrosion resistance. Common plastic materials include ABS, nylon, polycarbonate (PC), polypropylene (PP) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These plastic materials have excellent mechanical properties, chemical corrosion resistance and electrical properties, suitable for a variety of electronic appliances, automotive parts, medical equipment and other fields of hole processing needs. For example, because of its excellent mechanical properties and corrosion resistance, ABS is widely used in the manufacture of electronic product shells, auto parts and so on. Nylon, because of its high strength, wear resistance and self-lubrication, has an important position in machinery manufacturing, chemical equipment and other fields.

Composite material

In CNC drilling, composite materials are gradually receiving attention because of their unique properties. Composite materials are composed of two or more materials with different properties, which are combined by physical or chemical methods and have excellent mechanical properties and corrosion resistance. Common composite materials include carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP), glass fiber reinforced plastics (GFRP) and so on. These composite materials have the characteristics of high strength, high modulus, light weight and corrosion resistance, and are suitable for hole processing needs in high-end fields such as aerospace and automotive manufacturing. For example, carbon fiber reinforced plastics are widely used in the aerospace field because of their lightweight and high strength characteristics. Glass fiber reinforced plastics, because of its good corrosion resistance and mechanical properties, occupy an important position in chemical equipment, construction and other fields

CNC drilling technology has revolutionized manufacturing, bringing unprecedented precision, efficiency and flexibility. Through computer numerical control (CNC) technology, this advanced drilling method ensures consistent accuracy and superior quality. The following are the main highlights of CNC drilling technology:

When determining the cost of CNC drilling, there are several key factors that play a decisive role. Here is a breakdown of these factors:

Tool and equipment investment: Choosing the right drill, CNC and other cutting tools has a direct impact on cost. While high-quality tools may be higher in initial investment, they typically have a longer service life and higher accuracy, which helps reduce overall costs in the long run.

Material costs: The type of material used for drilling is also an important factor in cost considerations. Harder materials require more durable (and often more expensive) drill bits and can lead to increased drilling time, which increases equipment wear and costs.

Design complexity: Design complexity directly affects the cost of CNC drilling. Complex designs with high accuracy or requiring frequent bit changes will add time and cost to the project.

Production scale: Economies of scale apply in CNC drilling as well. Larger production batches can spread setup costs evenly, reducing unit costs per part.

Maintenance and operation: In order to maintain the efficient operation of the CNC drilling machine, regular maintenance and skilled operation are essential. These maintenance costs, as well as operator expertise requirements, are important factors affecting the cost of CNC drilling.

To illustrate the impact of these factors more specifically, we can compare two projects: a simple drilling project on aluminum plates and a complex project on titanium materials with high precision drilling. Because aluminum sheet material is easy to process and the task is simple, its cost is usually much lower. Let's say we have a batch of 100 aluminum parts that need to be drilled, with a total cost of about $500 and an average cost of $5 per part. However, when it comes to a harder and more difficult material like titanium, the cost per part can rise significantly, for example to $15 per part, even in the same production batch due to increased tool wear and reduced drilling speed.

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