Difference Between Conventional and Non-Conventional Machining Processes

There has been a rapid growth in the development of harder-to-machine metals and alloys during the last two decades. Here, you will know about the Conventional and Non-Conventional machining processes and their differences.

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Before I jump to the topic of the article, It would be nice to let get an overview of these terms before. What do you say?

♦There is two types of Metal removal process

  • Conventional Machining Process
  • Un-Conventional Machining Process

Conventional Machining Process-

As the name suggests, the Conventional Machining process is- Where the metal removal process is done manually or physically. This machining process is also known as the Traditional Machining process.

A conventional machining process is one in which the machining is done using the traditional approach, which means that no modern methods are used.

A human operator directs and controls machining instruments such as milling, boring, and drilling machines, as well as lathes and other sharp cutting tools.

Conventional machining is uneconomical for such materials and the degree of accuracy and surface finish attainable is poor.

These are some examples of the same.

Example of Conventional machining process

  • Turning
  • Boring
  • Drilling
  • Milling
  • Shaping
  • Sawing
  • Planing
  • Broaching
  • Slotting
  • Reaming
  • Grinding
  • Tapping


Non-Conventional Machining Process-

Non-conventional machining processes are those- where the metal removal process is done through mechanical, electrochemical, chemical, thermoelectric and without involving conventional tools. It is also known as the Modern Machining process or Un-Traditional Machining process.

Or, Non-Conventional machining processes are defined as a group of processes that remove excess material using a variety of techniques involving mechanical, thermal, electrical, or chemical energy, or combinations of these energies, but do not require the use of sharp cutting tools as in traditional manufacturing processes.

Merchant(1960) emphasized the need for the development of newer concepts in metal machining. By adopting a unified programme and utilizing the result of basic and applied research. Non-Traditional Machining is a cutting-edge technique for overcoming the drawbacks of traditional machining.

The newer machining processes are often called ‘modern machining process’ or ‘Unconventional machining process methods’. These are unconventional in the sense that conventional tools are not employed for metal cutting, instead of energy.

Example of Non-conventional machining process-

Difference Between Traditional and Non-Traditional Machining process-

Here are some major differences are given below-


In conventional machining, To progressively remove unwanted material from the workpiece, only mechanical energy is used. Where, In non-conventional machining, To eliminate unneeded material, several sources of energy such as electrical, thermal, chemical, light, or a mix of both are used directly.

Removal of material-

In traditional machining, The materials are eliminated as tiny sharp pieces, called chips, Whereas, In non-traditional machining, Material is removed in a variety of ways, including as small metal particles, ions, molten or vapour and so on.

Principle of working-

Shear deformation is a mechanism that results in material removal in the conventional machining process. Whereas, In most non-traditional machining processes, shear deformation plays a major role in material removal.

Cutting tool Uses-

In Traditional Machining, Cutting action involves a sharp wedge-shaped cutting tool with specified geometry, material, and characteristics. Whereas, In non-conventional machining, no cutting tool is needed. In Electrical Discharge Machining and Electrochemical Machining, however, a cutting tool is necessary.

Physical Connection-

In conventional machining, To remove materials, physical contact between the cutting tool and the workpiece, as well as relative velocity between them, are required.

However, there is no physical touch between the cutting tool and the workpiece in the non-conventional machining process. But, Solid abrasive grits strike the work surface to erode material in processes like Abrasive jet Machining, AWJM, and Ultrasonic Machining.

Labour Cost-

The conventional machining process is so old and due to this, skilled labours are easily available at a cheap cost. Whereas, Non-conventional machining is a new and advanced process and due to that less skilled labour is available and at a high cost.

Surface Finish-

Surface finish is considerably better in non-traditional machining operations than in conventional processes. It can easily achieve a nanometer-level surface finish.

Material Removal-

Conventional techniques are appropriate for bulk material removal, making this process rapid, dependable, and cost-effective, with a high MMR. Non-traditional processes, on the other hand, have very strict and precise requirements. In terms of bulk material removal, this approach is time-consuming, less reliable, and uneconomic.

Critical Shapes-

Certain critical shapes are impossible to manufacture with traditional machining. On the other hand, Non-traditional processes can occasionally become a trustworthy choice for manufacturing crucial geometries.


Now, Let’s move to the difference between the Conventional machining process and Non-conventional machining process.

Difference Between Conventional and Non-conventional machining process-

Here are some differences are given in the table, Have a look-

S.No. Conventional Machining ProcessNon-conventional Machining Process
01.Microscopic chip formationMay or may not formation of microscopic chip
02.Direct contact of tool & workpieceDon’t have direct contact between tool & workpiece
03.Cutting forces are used to remove materialForms of energy are used to remove material
04.Less capital costHigh Capital cost
05.The high metal removal rateThe low metal removal rate
06.Surface finish & tolerances are limited by machining inaccuracyHigh Surface finish & tolerances can be achieved
07.Machining of blind holes, small cavities, and slits is difficult to processMachining of micro-sized materials can be easily processed
08.Lower Accuracy rateHigher Accuracy rate
09.Lower rate of surface finishHigher rate of surface finish
10.Requires direct contact of tool to the workpieceDoesn’t require direct contact with the tool to the workpiece


If you need a little bit more explanation, Here is the video guide to satisfy you completely. Give a watch-



The non-conventional machining process is taking over the conventional machining process due to a variety of reasons, which I discussed in the difference between conventional and conventional machining processes.

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