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CNC Milling Processing - What is cnc Milling?

2022-12-02 16:43:20 JTC Model Technologies Co., Ltd., 0

CNC Milling Processing, Machines & Operations

CNC milling is among the most commonly used techniques used when making intricate components. Why is it so complicated? When other methods of fabrication like plasma cutting or laser cutting achieve the same result and are less expensive, it's better to choose these methods. However, these methods are not comparable with the power that are offered by CNC milling.

Therefore, we're going to do an in-depth look at milling and look at many elements of this process and the equipment. This will allow you to determine the need for Milling CNC services to make your components or if there's an alternative that is more affordable alternative.

What is CNC Milling?

We'll analyze the processes, machines and so on. in later paragraphs. However, let's first clarify the meaning of CNC milling actually means, and then bring clarification to some of the most unclear aspects about the word in itself.

The first is that people usually seek out CNC machining in search of milling. Machining involves both turning and milling, however, they have distinct distinctions. Machining is a type of mechanical cutting process that utilizes physical contact to cut away materialusing a diverse selection of tools.

Second All CNC processing uses CNC machines. However, it is not the case that all CNC machines are designed for making. Computing numerical control (CNC) is the concept between the three letters. Any machine that is using CNC utilizes computerized machines to control cut-off processes.

Thus, CNC machines include plasma cutters, laser cutters, presses brakes and so on.

Thus, CNC machining is a mixture of both terms, which gives us the solution to the question under the heading. CNC milling refers to a subtractive machining technique that makes use of computers to control the process. making the process more efficient.


CNC Milling Processing

We can be content with describing the fabrication process , however providing a comprehensive overview of the entire process provides a better understanding.

The milling process consists of:

  • Drawing the parts using the CAD program
  • Converting the CAD files to the code needed for machining
  • Installation of the machinery
  • The production of the parts

The CAD file design and the translation into code

It is the first stage of to design the representation of the finished product using the CAD software. There are a variety of robust CAD-CAM applications which allow users to make the required G code needed for machining.

The code is readily available to check and modify, should it be necessary, in order to meet the capabilities of the machine. Manufacturing engineers can model the entire cutting process by using this type of software.

This allows you to check for any errors in the design and avoid making models that aren't feasible to make.

G code is also manually written, as was the case before. Thishowever prolongs the entire process significantly. So, we recommend making the most of the options the latest engineering software has to offer.

Installing the machine

While CNC machines perform the cutting task in a controlled manner, many other elements of the process require the hands of a machine operator. For instance fixing the workpiece to the worktable and connecting the milling tools on the spindle.

Manual milling is heavily dependent on the operator while the latest models feature more advanced automated equipment. Modern milling centers may include live tooling capabilities. This means that they can alter the tools in the middle in the production process. There are fewer stops, but they still need to prepare them in advance.

After the initial setup has been completed, the operator will check the machine's programming one more second before giving the machine the green signal to begin.

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Production work

Milling is a process that uses the rotation of a tool which is in touch with the piece of work in order to remove pieces. Continuous cutting produces the shape you want.

There are several different methods to cut:

  • Conventional milling
  • Climb milling

The name suggests, conventional milling is the most common method of milling at least for a while. The fundamentals of traditional milling:

  • The cutting chips increase in size. This could result in elevated temperatures that cause work hardening.
  • The first cut will cause more friction and rubbing speeding up wear on the tool and reducing its life.
  • When the teeth move chips upwards, they could slide back into the cutting pathway, which can reduce their quality. final.
  • The tighter clamping and fixing of the workpiece is essential to prevent the workpiece from shifting due to the huge upward forces.

Modern CNC mills rely on the climb milling technique. The benefits of climbing milling include:

  • The cutting chip reduces in thickness, leading to heat to the chip, rather than the workpiece.
  • Its cutting edge is more clean which results in less friction and a longer longevity.
  • The chips are deposited into the cut, which reduces the possibility of contamination of the cutting route.
  • Horizontal climb milling produces downward forces, thus reducing the need for clamping.

The milling process typically comprises of a variety of different steps however this is contingent on the design of the finished product as well as the condition of the raw piece. In most cases, milling is required to provide a clean finish, and also for adding features such as threaded holes.

However, it can also be used for making a finished product made from a block. Initial operations employ bigger tools to swiftly cut away the material, thereby accelerating the process to achieve the approximate shape of the final product.

The need for a tool change is to produce highly precise machined parts. The incredible precision milling that it is renowned for comes at the end of the process by bringing precision engineering measurements and roughness of the surface to levels difficult to be matched with other manufacturing process.


Milling Machine Components

Let's look at what is the basis of the milling machine. Although new milling machines are able to carry out various kinds of tasks but they're however more complicated. We'll stick with the older benches to present a general overview of the components of the machine.

Horizontal milling machine

Horizontal milling machines take their names from the position of the tool , namely their axis runs horizontally. The above images show the way to utilize them , which is called plain milling. Of course the horizontal mills are appropriate for end milling.

The construction of horizontal mills is quite easy. The cutting tool is attached on the arbor. If a change in tools is needed you can take off the arbor bracket as well as the spacers in order to replace the tools.

The fixation of the workpiece to the table requires an angle vise. The traverse is able to move the table around X Z, Y, and X Axis to move the workpiece.

Of course, the latest machines appear a bit different, which makes them ideal to be automated. Horizontal milling machines may have multiple spindles and a range of tools to speed up turnaround times. Additionally, the table and tools are able to move in a variety of directions, with rotational axes included.

However, the fundamentals remain identical and knowing the old-fashioned machine can help comprehend the newer machines.

The benefits from horizontal milling:

  • Possibility of producing parts using less work
  • The ability to design more complicated parts
  • About 3-4 times more efficient than vertical milling.
  • Longer tool life
  • A better finish on the surface (the two last points are related to less chips falling into the path of cutting)

Vertical milling machine

The name of vertical mills is obvious when you look at the picture above. Since the location of the axis of the tool is vertical, it's more suitable to end milling.

There are some distinctions between vertical and horizontal milling equipment. However, the core components are similar. Machine heads are located at the bottom of a long ram. The spindle used for cutting tools is connected on the head.

Everything regarding the position of the table is the same as the horizontal mill, giving the capability of moving it around in the same three directions.

Modern vertical mills with five axes are able to rotate the piece to allow more access and speedier turnaround times. Automating all motions results in higher precision, faster lead times, and almost identical batches of components.

The benefits of vertical milling

  • Much less expensive than vertical mills, with prices ranging from 5x
  • Accessibility because more workshops are able to be able to afford them
  • It is easier to use since the vertical mill offers greater visibility into what is actually happening
  • Machinists with more experience who can give excellent results
  • The machines are smallerand take up lesser space inside the CNC machine shop


Types of Milling Machines

There's a great deal of varieties available currently. Many ways of classifying are also available. The basic principles remain identical across the globe but with some modifications that offer more options and a different type of machine.

These are the most commonly used kinds of milling machines:

  • Bed-type
  • Knee-type
  • Ram-type
  • Planer-type

Bed-type mills

Bed-type milling machines has an extremely stable bed. Although heavy and large parts may cause instability in knee-type machines beds-type milling machines are able to hold their own ground. Because of the bed's length, several parts can be connected to the bed in one go decreasing idle time and increasing efficiency on the floor of work.

The worktable is attached directly to the machine's bed and is able to move in two directions. Its spindle's head obviously is able to move in a lateral direction to determine the cut depth. The axis's location depends on the specific machine because there are both vertical and horizontal bed mills as well being universal machines. They can all be controlled by CNC.

The most popular of these is the CNC Universal Milling Machine. Although vertical and horizontal mills have their limitations These machines offer greater flexibility.

Another method to boost productivity is by using a stand that has two machines. It allows you to mount several parts on the table to process them simultaneously or one big component. This eliminates the need to re-clamp it in order to process the other side. It is vital to keep in mind that this setup creates the possibility of collision between tools which is prevented with an appropriate CNC program.

Knee-type milling equipment

They are suited to produce parts that range from small to medium-sized. The reason for this is the reality that knee-type mills have more stability than for instance bed-type milling machines. Additionally, the frame has its own limitations for dimension of the part.

A knee-type traditional mill is an excellent alternative for manufacturing one-off pieces or maintenance work, as well as for preparing tasks and more. The unidirectional motion of the cutting tool reduces the chance of accidents. Making use of them to prepare the workpiece to be refined later at the CNC station is typical.

They require manual adjustments of the tools following each procedure, which can make the procedure a bit more difficult. But, modern CNC machines have features of knee milling machines.

Machines for milling Ram-types

The mill with a ram has its cutting head attached to a ram which can be moved between two axes. This allows the tool to move to two axes: the X and the Y. Vertical and horizontal options for ram mills are readily available in the market. A lot of these mills come with the option of rotating to rotate the cutter head.

Planer-type mill

Planer-type mills resemble in design to the bed type milling machine. Both feature large work tables as well as spindles that be moved in three directions. The major difference lies in the planer milling machines' capacity to hold multiple milling tools simultaneously. The number of tools is usually up to four.

The flexibility of the tools increases their effectiveness and eliminates the necessity of interrupting the process to make the change of tools.


How Many Axes?

We've already discussed the various axes we have discussed within this post. However, let's make evident what each axe is referring to.

3-axis mill

A vertical mill with 3 axes means that the table is able to move in two directions: either X or Y. This allows you to move the workpiece with respect to cutting tools, while the distance stays the same. The third axis, Z-axis is created by allowing the lower of cut tools.

CNC controllers allow simultaneous movement of all three machines, providing the flexibility needed for the majority of processing requirements.

4-axis mill

A mill with 4 axes has all three axes as mentioned previously. There is also a fourth the A-axis. The table is now able to rotate around the X-axis, which allows face milling to be done without the need to reposition the workpiece.

5-axis mill

As you're able to guess, the same principle that applied to the 4-axis mill is also applicable to the 5-axis mill. Now we have added the B-axis that allows for the ability to rotate in the direction of the Y-axis.

5-axis CNC machines are more expensive than other models, but enable the creation of highly complex components all in one. It is not necessary to set up additional settings and the tool's life is extended because it makes the proper parts positioning possible.

6-axis mill

6 axis CNC grinding centers aren't too widespread due to their high cost. They can be as much as 75% faster than 5 axis machines, however the need for this kind of capability isn't enough that it is not worth the cost. The video above compares the 6-axis mill and a 5-axis one.

The 6-axis mill is equipped with an stationary worktable, and all flexibility of movement is provided to its cutting heads. It is able to move in three directions and move around the axes.


CNC Milling Operations

Milling can be used for various features like threading, chamfering slotting, and so on. This permits creating complex designs with one CNC milling machine with impressive precision. Its limits for CNC milling are approximately +0.01 mm. 0.1 millimetre.

The production of these characteristics requires a range of different milling processes:

  • Surface milling
  • Face milling
  • Angular milling
  • Form milling
  • Profile milling
  • Gear milling, etc.

Plain milling

Plain milling is also called surface milling. It's the term horizontal mill which means the cutting tool's axis of rotation is aligned with the cut surface.

Surface milling can employ different cutters, whether wide or narrow, based on the outcome you want to achieve. A wide cutter could result in faster removal of material when combined with a slow cutting speeds, a high feed rate, and sharp teeth on the cutter. Naturally the cut may not be in line with the specifications.

Thus, a subsequent procedure could be a switch of tools to utilize more fine teeth. This will also require quicker cutting speeds and lower feed rates, which means that how much material removed per unit of time is lower. However the final cut is more precise. Therefore, the combination of both can be a smart decision from a cost-effective perspective.

Face milling

This procedure uses the cutting tool, which includes teeth on its sides as well as at the top. The tool's axis runs perpendicular to the machined component.

Face milling is often done following surface milling, because it produces more precise lines and leave a beautiful appearance. The teeth on the sides perform most of the cutting while the teeth at the tips take care of finishing the surfaces.

Angular milling

This milling procedure allows us to create grooves, chamfers etc. There are a variety of ways to create these capabilities.

If you are using an ordinary 3-axis machine, the use of various cutters is the most sensible. These could be dovetail cutters for creating angles or angled grooves, or an ordinary mill that has conical cutting heads to chamfer. It is important to note that these two terms are in essence opposites of one another.

The cutter's axis could be perpendicular to or parallel to the surface.

Form milling

This type of milling demands special tools for creating more complicated surface contours. Concave and convex cutters are examples of tools that are in application in this area.

Form milling can help create these contours on the surface in one cut. It can be used to make round recesses and circular edges as well as round edges. The tool must be equipped with the appropriate parameters to create the desired result.

Gang milling is a subcategory of form milling, whereby using multiple cutters at the same time to make patterns.

Profile milling

Commonly, milling operations are used to create concave and convex components. The process comprises three steps : roughing, semi-finishing and finally finishing.

Round inserts are used for the first step to remove the majority part of the substance. End mills with ball-noses are the ideal choice for finishing and semi-finishing.

The work is largely benefited from CNC milling because 5 and 4 axis technology will significantly speed up the process and also provide more quality.

Gear milling

Milling is also a method of its use in the manufacture of various kinds of gears. The entire process of creating gears is comprised two steps.

First comes gear milling. The softness of the material enables you to create the component with greater ease and also achieves great tolerances. The gears will then undergo an heating process to make the surface more durable. Then, CNC turning will determine the final result.


Suitable Materials

CNC milling can be utilized in a wide range of materials. The decision, naturally is based on the specifications. The process of selection comprises the following steps:

  1. The part geometry is created.
  2. Determining the forces that affect the piece. CAD software that includes FEA Addons could be of great assistance here.
  3. The specification of the properties of the material is in relation to the results.
  4. Making a list of potential materials.
  5. Selecting a product that meets the criteria with the greatest efficiency in terms of cost.
  6. Make sure that the material you are using is appropriate for milling.

Therefore, we are able to assist with the final step.

Metals that are suitable for CNC milling

  • Steel with a mild luster
  • Steel made of stainless steel
  • Tool steel
  • Aluminium
  • Brass

Milling-compatible plastics:

  • ABS
  • Nylon
  • Polycarbonate
  • POM
  • PTFE
  • HDPE
  • PEEK

Once you've decided now is the time to select a reputable manufacturing contractor to do the task. If you're in search of someone to assist you in milling metals, it is easy to reach out to the sales team at.