Boring Operation – Lathe Vs. Milling

by | Jan 30, 2019 | machinery and equipment

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Do you have parts with holes? Some holes are easily created while others require a boring operation. Boring means to enlarge a hole and this is often done for engine cylinders and gun barrels. It is one of the best ways to create precise and accurate parts. For some types of boring, lathe machines and milling machines work well. But which one is best? Here is a closer look to give you a better idea of the process.


Lathes or turning operations are commonly used to finish outside diameters. In fact, next to turning and drilling, boring is the most common uses for lathe machines. It creates a smooth and even finish, and the same process also works well for turning inside diameters in boring operations. Boring bars sometimes supported on both ends, and this is called line boring. On the other hand, when the bars only have the support of one side, this is known as back boring. Tapering is also possible with lathes, and it only takes a change in settings to accomplish this.

Swiss Lathe Machines

A CNC Swiss lathe can perform many functions, and you can program a number of processes. For example, with one pass you can shape the external diameter, thread a section of a part drill and bore. This makes a complete part.


Milling machines are sometimes used for boring operations. For example, internal diameter cylindrical grinding can create high tolerances and tapers. In many cases today, CNC machines are programmed to do most of the work. With computer numeric control you can create a number of programmed moves to deliver the results you need.

Which is Best?

Both lathes and mills can give you what you need. It depends on the machines you have and the materials you need to work with. You can also outsource the work to a trusted machine shop.

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