What are Conventional and Climb Milling?

Conventional and Climb Milling

Milling is one of the most commonly used methods of machining, allowing for high surface quality and precise dimensions of parts. Among the various milling techniques, two fundamental methods are conventional (or up milling) and climb milling (or down milling). Each of these techniques has its specific applications, advantages, and limitations, and their selection depends on several factors, such as the type of material, the geometry of the workpiece to be machined, and the requirements for surface quality and dimensional accuracy. In this article, we will take a closer look at both methods to better understand their characteristics and application in the metal industry.

What is Climb Milling

Climb milling, also known as down milling, is a technique in which the direction of the cutter’s rotation is the same as the feed direction of the workpiece. In other words, the cutting tool enters the material from the side that has already been partially cut, which minimizes the risk of cracks and tool damage.

Advantages of Climb Milling:

  • Reduced Tool Load: Because the tool enters the material smoothly, the loads are lower, which extends the life of the tool.
  • Better Surface Quality: This technique allows for achieving smoother surfaces, which is especially important for parts with high aesthetic or functional requirements.
  • Increased Stability of Machining: Climb milling often leads to less vibration, which is beneficial when machining parts with complex geometries.


  • The possibility of displacing the machined part due to cutting forces, which requires the use of stronger clamping.
  • Not always ideal for heavy cutting tasks where maximum chip removal efficiency is needed.

CNC Milling

What is Conventional Milling

Conventional milling, also known as up milling, involves machining where the direction of the cutter’s rotation is opposite to the feed direction of the workpiece. In this method, the cutting tool enters the material, attacking its full thickness, which leads to quicker material removal.

Advantages of Conventional Milling:

  • Efficiency of Chip Removal: This method allows for faster material removal, which is advantageous in large production volumes.
  • Lower Risk of Displacing the Part: The cutting forces act towards the clamping, reducing the risk of shifting the machined element.


  • Increased Tool Load: The cutting force can lead to quicker wear of the tool and generate larger vibrations.
  • Worse Surface Quality: There is a possibility of creating more significant unevenness and scratches on the machined surface, especially at greater cutting depths.

Choosing the Right Method

The decision to choose a milling method depends on many factors. Climb milling is often preferred when machining parts with delicate geometries or when a high surface quality is required. Conversely, conventional milling might be more efficient in mass production of elements, where machining time and chip removal efficiency are key criteria.

Regardless of the chosen method, it is important to adjust the machining parameters, such as the tool’s rotational speed, feed rate, depth of cut, and the selection of the appropriate tool for the material and geometry of the part. Proper selection of these parameters is crucial for optimizing the milling process, both in terms of quality and production efficiency.

In the metal industry, where the requirements for accuracy and quality are constantly increasing, understanding the differences between conventional and climb milling and the ability to apply them in practice are essential for engineers and machining technologists. Ultimately, choosing the right method and optimizing it can contribute to increasing a company’s competitiveness in the market.

Source: tokar.pl.

Related posts