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Autodesk has a full suite of software solutions for CNC machining. Explore our CNC machining resources, products, and tutorials.

cnc machining

What is CNC machining?

CNC (computer numerical control) machining is a process that uses code, often generated using computer software, to control the movement of cutting tools to manufacture parts through material removal. CNC machining software, often referred to as CAM software, manages movements of the machinery through programming which eliminates the need for manual operation.

Types of CNC machining

cnc machining roughing


The first step in many CNC machining operations is to remove as much material as possible. See how Autodesk's Adaptive Clearing helps.

2 axis vs 3 axis milling


Learn how 2 axis milling compares to 3 axis, and the advantages that 3 axis CNC machining has to offer. 

turning for cnc machining


Turning, while still CNC machining, is quite different from milling. Find out how.

CNC machining milling styles

CNC machines are broadly classified by the number of axes involved and how they move.

  • 2.5 axis cnc machine

    2.5 AXIS

    2.5 axis machining creates prismatic features at distinct Z levels, moving the tool in only 2 axes simulatenously.

  • 3 axis cnc machine

    3 AXIS

    3 axis machining uses all three axes simultaneously to create complex and non-planar surfaces.

  • 4 axis cnc machine

    4 AXIS

    4 axis machining uses all three axes simultaneously to create complex and non-planar surfaces.

  • 5 axis cnc machine

    5 AXIS

    5 axis machining uses a combination of 3 linear axes and 2 rotational axes to efficiently machine a broad scope of geometry.

types of cnc machines ebook

Types of CNC machines

CNC machine design will vary greatly. On some machines, the part will move or rotate while the spindle and tool remain stationary. In other machines, the part is stationary while the spindle moves. Some machines are a combination of both these designs.

To learn more about various CNC machine designs, you can read our Types of CNC eBook. This eBook also includes descriptions of CNC machine components & programming and non-milling machines.

Featured CNC software

Autodesk has software for CNC machining and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).


How software for CNC machining is used

aerospace applications


Aerospace applications

Direct Aero Systems shares how they use Fusion 360 and HSM to program DMG Mori machines to produce high quality aerospace parts quickly, without sacrificing quality.


Industrial machinery

D&D Engineering services the food processing industry. To minimize machine downtime, D&D uses FeatureCAM to produce replacement parts with a fast turnaround time.


Mold manufacturing

Precision Mold & Machining uses PowerMill to program and CNC machine complex molds for the automotive, aerospace, medical, and defense applications.

Free CNC machining software


Fusion 360 offers free use to qualifying startup and hobbyist maker through a 3-step verification process.


Get a free 3-year license to the same PCB design technology that professionals use around the world.

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Resources for CNC machining

Get started with CNC machining with these tutorials, guides, tips, and tricks.

  • This PDF is a great resource for all CNC machinists, from beginners to experts.

  • Watch this introductory video about CNC machining processes to learn about milling, turning, routing, and more.  

  • Watch tutorials and videos on how to program using Autodesk Fusion 360 and HSM.

  • Access resources and learning content for FeatureCAM, PowerMill, and PowerInspect through the Manufacturing Hub.

  • Read this article for a complete introduction to CNC programming using computer-aided manufactuing (CAM).

  • Watch tutorials and videos on how to program with Autodesk FeatureCAM and PowerMill.