CNC Dental Milling: Cycle Time and Surface Finish

Steve Braykovich · Jan 20, 2014

How long does it take your mill to machine a (insert restoration type here)? 


This seems to be an area that the digital dental labs and milling centers are most concerned with and can likely be a key criterion in their purchase of a milling machine.

Of course machine cycle time is important but it is in reality, not a true gage of a milling machines production and effect on overall throughput and profitability.

While the VersaMILL is capable of producing single unit zirconia restoration in as little as 6 minutes and titanium implant abutments in less than 20 minutes, our answer to this questions is typically: “How long do you want it to take”?

This may, on the surface, appear to be a flippant answer but in reality we are quite serious. Often time sacrifices are made and indeed even tolerated in the pursuit of fast cycle times.

Sacrifices that include:

  • Decreased Cutting Tool Life
  • Increased Manual Bench time
  • Decreased Accuracy
  • Inferior Surface Finish (i.e. Occlusal Surfaces)
  • Poor Feature Definition (i.e. Margin Definition)
  • Increased Design Time



Does it make sense to be able to pull a restoration off of the milling machine in 4 minutes only to spend another 10 minutes on the bench to clean it up OR determine it is unacceptable thereby having to re-make it OR spend additional time designing the restoration to avoid machine issues OR spend additional money on expensive diamond tooling due to improper feed/speed rates, OR to sacrifice finish or detail, etc.?

The achievement of high quality, in terms of work-piece dimensional accuracy, surface finish, production rate, wear on the cutting tools and economy of machining in terms of cost saving are the main challenges of modern dental manufacturing.

Machine stability in terms of vibration dampening characteristics of the axes and spindle drive systems, spindle run-out, machine positional accuracy, cutting tool materials and geometry, machining parameters such as speed, feed, depth of cut and CAM programming strategies all play a factor in enabling you to reach your throughput and profitability objectives. We at Axsys not only have the PRODUCTS, we even more importantly, have the KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE to maximize their effectiveness in pursuit of your goals and objectives.

With our products we can provide you with the throughput you need to be competeitve while enabling you to ship superior product to your customers while yeilding high, predictable profits. You may even find that with the VersaMILL and our expertise, an extremely quick return on investment can be realized in zirconia restoration alone; thanks to the tooling cost savings associated with our extremely long tool life (in many cases over 200 units per tool) from tooling that costs a fraction of what competitive solutions offer.

Contact Us today to learn more about the Axsys Advantage so we can put our experience to work for you.