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Swiss CNC Machining

Swiss Machining: The Ultimate Guide to Swiss CNC Machining

Swiss machining has been a mainstay in the CNC industry since its development in 1870. Although primarily developed for watch production, Swiss machining has applications in other industries, notably the medical field, for the machining of bone screws.

Swiss machining is a manufacturing technique that uses specialized tools to cut and design materials into intricate parts, slender or delicate components. It is ideal for producing parts that require extreme precision machining, which gives it application in various industries, including medical, automotive, hydraulics, aerospace, firearms, and electronics.

So, what are the benefits of using Swiss CNC machining over other types of machining? What are the applications of this manufacturing technique? Keep reading as we provide you with answers to these questions and other important information about Swiss Machining.

What is Swiss Machining?

what is swiss machining

CNC Swiss machining is one of the best ways to manufacture precision parts. The Swiss machine features a sliding headstock that works in conjunction with a guide bushing. The purpose of this bushing is to provide stability to the bar stock along all axis, including the longitudinal axis. With stability guaranteed, machining complex slots, threads, holes, and multiple diameters into the workpiece becomes easier.

The CNC part of these Swiss turning centers makes the process highly automated. It guarantees that all machined parts meet the tight tolerance requirements precisely.

Now that we have a general idea of what Swiss machining entails, when do you employ this manufacturing technique?

  • When Optimal Quality Finishes are Important: Swiss machining is ideal when you need to achieve a high-quality finish. The quality of finish obtained from this machining eliminates the need for the application of a secondary finish.
  • When High Precision and Volume are essential: CNC machines are highly accurate. This makes the technique ideal for use where accuracy and precision are important. Furthermore, combining the advanced machine’s accuracy with that of skilled operator results in the manufacture of high-volume precise parts.
  • When producing highly complex parts: With a Swiss machine, machining out the complex geometries of tiny-diameter parts becomes easier. It also does this with a high level of Swiss precision machining.
  • When Cost Effectiveness is a Factor: With an increase in the manufacturing volume, the CNC Swiss machining process costs less. This makes it the ideal manufacturing technique for the mass production of precision components.
  • When Components Require both Turning and Milling Features: With the CNC Swiss-style machining, there would be no multiple setups. Let me explain, using this technique gives parts many milled features, including hex edges, flats, and slots during the turning process, eliminating the need for milling.

What Materials can be Used in Swiss CNC Machining?

There is a long list of materials manufacturers use for Swiss-type lathes. They use these materials for various reasons, including cost-effectiveness, corrosion resistance, electrical conductivity, etc. Let us examine the most commonly used materials for CNC Swiss machining.


This material is non-magnetic, non-sparking, and cost-effective. Engineers use this material for CNC Swiss machining because it offers structural integrity, corrosion resistance, and excellent electrical conductivity. Besides, it produces parts that have tight tolerance and high strength.

Tool Steel and Carbon for Swiss Style lathe

Carbon steel diversity, strength, and alloys make them a go-to material for CNC Swiss-type lathe manufacturing. A combination of this material and Swiss lathes is ideal for producing brackets, bushings, sockets, screws, shafts, and connectors cost-effectively.

Stainless Steel

s304 swiss lathe as machined
Stainless Steel 304 swiss lathe as machined

Using stainless steel for this manufacturing technique offers parts durability and corrosion resistance. This makes stainless steel ideal for creating complex components in the automotive, aerospace, military, and medical industries.


Swiss machining of bronze material leads to the manufacture of durable parts that are wear and corrosion-resistant. These properties make bronze ideal for use in the consumer-product, electrical, industrial, and aviation industry.


al5083 cnc turning as machined
aluminum 5083 swiss lathe as machined

This is the most commonly used material for CNC Swiss machining, as it is the most cost-effective. The properties that make aluminum ideal for this technique include corrosion resistance, lightweight, high-detail machining, and excellent electrical conductivity.


This material is also ideal for this manufacturing technique, especially rigid ones. Turning this material results in the production of fittings, screws, sleeves, cases, insulators, and custom-fit bushings for various industries.

Other Materials Include

Titanium: This is the ideal material for Swiss CNC machining due to its high ductility.

Copper alloy: Copper and copper alloys are excellent for CNC Swiss machining parts due to their excellent electrical conductivity, non-sparking, corrosion resistance, and non-magnetic properties.

What are the Benefits of Swiss Machining?

benefits of advancing to a cnc swiss lathemage

There is a wide range of benefits manufacturers derives from using Swiss machining. Here are the key benefits of this manufacturing technique.

  • Short set time: Because CNC Swiss machine parts have both milled and turned features, it saves the setup time spent on conventional turning while reducing cycle time considerably. This is primarily because there are fewer setups as instead of setting up multiple operations, the manufacturer sets up one operation.
  • Streamlines the Machining Process: Since the CNC Swiss machine can perform diverse functions including, sawing, drilling, and milling, it eliminates the need for secondary processes. Thereby streamlining the entire machining process.
  • High Volume Production and shorter lead time: Lead times are shorter due to the Swiss-style lathe speed. This machine speed results in high volume production of parts in a short time and at a lower cost.
  • Low Labor Requirement: With an automated process, a Swiss CNC machine can run unmanned for hours at a time. This cuts down the labor cost of mass production while allowing engineers time to focus on other details.
  • Tight Tolerances: Unlike conventional lathes, the Swiss turning machine type holds the machined parts close to the tool post or tooling area. This helps the machine maintain tight tolerances while designing or cutting small parts.
  • High accuracy: Swiss-type machines do not concurrently produce more than one section of bar stock. This helps increase precision while decreasing the chance of error in CNC Swiss machines.

What are the Applications of Swiss Machined Parts?

Although originally developed for manufacturing screws used in the watch-making industry, including the production of pocket watches, the entire process now has applications across various industries. Some of these industries include:

  • Medical Industry: This industry often requires parts with high precision machining and accuracy, so the use of CNC Swiss machine parts should not surprise you. Swiss machined part manufacturers employ the use of Swiss screw machines to create orthopedic bone screws, implants, and surgical screws.
  • medical industry
  • Aerospace Industry: Swiss Machined parts also have applications in the aerospace industry. Manufacturers machine flight metals such as aluminum, alloy steel, and titanium to produce components like fasteners, flanges, fans, and other aircraft components.
    aerospace industry precision parts
  • Defense Industry: With CNCSwiss lathe, engineers manufacture military products and parts that require extremely precise parts like firing pins, cover pins, and rifles.
  • Oilfield and Energy Industry: With the aid of CNC Swiss turning, engineers manufacture parts for the oil and gas sector. They use this technique to manufacture oil field parts for tracking production in offshore rigs and monitoring pipelines.


Using a Swiss-type machine is one of the best options if you are looking for a cost-effective way of machining high-precision products and parts.

If you are looking for a trusted and reliable contract manufacturer that offers Swiss machining service, with a fast turnaround time and the right quality certifications, Contact AT Machining today.

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Hey there, I’m Sam!

From AT-Machining, I’m a CNC Machining Expert in this field for more than 20 years.  We offer cost-effective machining services from China. Ask for a quote for your ongoing or upcoming projects now!

Best Regards, Sam, Co-Founder

AT Machining

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