Milling is the machining process of using rotary cutters to remove material from a workpiece by advancing (or feeding) the cutter into the workpiece at a certain direction. The cutter may also be held at an angle relative to the axis of the tool. Milling covers a wide variety of different operations and machines, on scales from small individual parts to large, heavy-duty gang milling operations. It is one of the most commonly used processes for machining custom parts to precise tolerances.
Milling can be done with a wide range of machine tools. The original class of machine tools for milling was the milling machine (often called a mill). After the advent of computer numerical control (CNC), milling machines evolved into machining centers: milling machines augmented by automatic tool changers, tool magazines or carousels, CNC capability, coolant systems, and enclosures. Milling centers are generally classified as vertical machining centers (VMCs) or horizontal machining centers (HMCs).
The integration of milling into turning environments, and vice versa, begun with live tooling for lathes and the occasional use of mills for turning operations. This led to a new class of machine tools, multitasking machines (MTMs), which are purpose-built to facilitate milling and turning within the same work envelope.