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

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cnc machining

What's 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 machining creates prismatic features at distinct Z levels, moving the tool in only two axes simulatenously.

  • 3 axis cnc machine


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

  • 4 axis cnc machine


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

  • 5 axis cnc machine


    5-axis machining uses a combination of three linear axes and two 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 machining software

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


How 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 minimise machine downtime, D&D uses FeatureCAM to produce replacement parts with a fast turnaround time.


Mould manufacturing

Precision Mould & Machining uses PowerMill to program and CNC machine complex moulds for the automotive, aerospace, medical and defence applications.

Free CNC machining software


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


Get a free 3-year licence with 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.

  • CNC Handbook (US site)

    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.

  • What's CAM? (US site)

    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.