The milling machines were invented in the early nineteenth century, and today becomes one of the most basic and main engine of the machining process. The mills today thanks to the numerical control are the most versatile machines for machining and can perform a variety of different machining.
What is a milling machine
A milling machine is a machine or machine tool which through the movement of a cutting tool called a “milling cutter”, a part is shaped through chip removal.
Through the milling process it is possible to perform the machining of pieces of different materials such as wood, steel, cast iron, metal, among others.
Parts of a milling machine
The parts that make up a milling machine are:
- On / off button
- Handwheel for movement on x axis: Allows the part to be moved in the x direction
- Handwheel for movement on the y axis: Allows you to move the part in the y direction
- Handwheel for movement on the z axis: Allows you to move the part in the z direction
- Table: Part where the piece to be machined rests.
Maniavela: Allows the cutter to be lowered through a spindle
Spindle: Allows the vertical movement of the cutter to locate it in the correct position.
Motor: It is the part of the milling machine that rotates the milling cutter in order to obtain chip removal.
How Milling Machine Works?
The operation of the milling machines is based on a cutting tool that, when rotating at high speeds, allows to remove chips from a material. In this process, the person moves the cutting tool and the piece, to start tearing off the material and ending up with the desired shape.
With older milling machines , the operator must move the milling machine to shape the part. Today’s milling machines have a CNC control that allows work to be carried out with already predetermined movements.
The movements that can be done are:
- Longitudinal movement : It is the movement along the x axis.
- Transverse movement: It is the movement along the y axis.
- Vertical movement: It is the movement along the z axis.
Types of milling machines
Vertical Milling Machines
In these types of milling machines, the spindle axis is perpendicular to the table. Allows vertical movement of the tool.
Horizontal Milling Machines
In these types of milling machines, the spindle is “flat” and moves horizontally with respect to the table.
Universal horizontal milling machine
These types of mills differ from the common horizontal ones in that they have a table capable of moving up to 45 degrees and giving the part an angle.
CNC milling machines
They are milling machines with the latest technology. They have a computerized numerical control that allows automating the movements of the milling machine so that they do not depend on a person, making them faster and more precise.
The sequence of movements to be carried out are programmed and the CNC milling machine interprets the programming code and executes it in due course.
How to operate a milling machine (universal)
Below we will detail the steps to follow to operate with a milling machine:
The router must first be switched on .
Then the work table must be accommodated , the piece placed, fixed and the machine column accommodated.
The corresponding cutter is placed on the spindle.
Begin milling by moving the X and Y handwheels to give the part the desired shape.
What is a milling machine for?
As we mentioned in this article, milling basically serves to give the desired shape to certain pieces. It is a fundamental machine in workshops or industries that produce parts.
Next we are going to detail all the operations that can be carried out with a milling machine.
Front milling: This process performs a chip removal in order to leave a flat surface on the front face of the part. It is a finishing process.
Side milling: By means of this process, the chip is removed from the sides of the piece.
Plane milling: It is the milling of flat surfaces.
Straddle milling: Side milling of the two opposite sides of the piece is performed simultaneously.
Angle milling: An angle milling cutter is used to perform this operation. In this case, the milling of two flat surfaces that form an angle between them is carried out.
Gang milling: In this case, two milling cutters are used to perform two milling operations simultaneously.
Shape grinding: It is a milling performed on pieces with special surfaces (curved, straight) and a cutter with the shape of the contour of the piece is used.
End of milling: In this type of milling, flat surfaces are finished horizontally, vertically.
Milling saw: It is a milling process to produce grooves in the piece.
Gear Milling : Gear cutters are used to perform gear milling
Helical milling: It is a type of milling that is carried out to machine parts with a helical shape.
Cam milling: It is a type of milling in which cams are produced.
Thread milling: It is a type of milling in which threaded parts are produced.