Traditional machining operations, such as drilling and milling, have involved the use of sharp cutting tools to form a piece of material into a desired shape. With time, other machining operations, referred to as non-traditional, have been developed. These no longer use cutting tools, but rather they make use of physical processes for shaping a piece into its final shape.

Often, processes such as polishing are performed after other operations such as casting. This setup helps to speed up the whole operation and also to minimise waste.


There are several advantages of using machining operations to build a part:

  1. A large variety of materials can be machined into final shape.
  2. Numerous tool shapes are available for machining parts of any geometry.
  3. Parts can be machined to very close tolerances compared to other processes of fabrication such as casting and forging.
  4. Surface finish of the part can be controlled to very small surface roughness values.


However, there are some disadvantages also:

  1. There is considerably more wastage of materials involved than in casting.
  2. It is time consuming and might not be appropriate where time is an issue.