Milling Machines; What are They and What Do They Do?18 Aug 20
Milling machines are one of the most common and most useful pieces of machinery in many industries. However, they come in many variations with nuanced purposes, designs, and functionality. In this guide, we will show you what milling machines are, what they do and how they work. We will also look at the different types of machines, so you have a clearer idea of which machine best suits your needs.
What Are Milling Machines?
Milling machines are a type of machinery for removing material from a workpiece using rotary cutters. These machines can drill, bore, and cut an array of materials. This process of removing pieces of the material in line with the tool axis is known as milling, and thus the machines used in the process are called milling machines. Milling machines come in many types and are used across a variety of industries.
How Milling Machines Work
In many ways, milling machines are used to achieve similar results to lathes. However, unlike lathes which rotate the workpiece, milling machines hold the workpiece still using a vice or fixture. Milling machines use cylindrical tools such as drills and endmills to remove material. Milling machines are primarily used on flat surfaces though can work with some irregular surfaces too.
Types Of Milling Machines
Milling machines come in many forms including column, turret, c-frame, horizontal tracer controlled, bed type and planer-style. These machines can be manual or CNC (computer numerical control). CNC milling machines are computer automated versions of the manual milling machines.
Let’s look at the different milling machine types:
Column Milling Machines
Often used for creating car parts, a column milling machine is one of the simplest types of milling machine. They consist of 5 key parts the worktable, head, saddle, knee, and over arm and use a vertically suspended drill.
Turret Milling Machines
A turret machine is a versatile milling machine which can be used in the creation of many parts. Also, known as a Bridgeport-type milling machine, these machines can be repositioned opening a broader range of uses.
C-Frame Milling Machines
C-frame milling machines are sturdy and powerful. They use a hydraulic motor and are best utilised in industrial settings.
Horizontal Milling Machines
Named as it is positioned horizontal to the ground, horizontal milling machines work by moving the bench the workpiece is placed on sideways whilst the cutting tool moves vertically.
Tracer Controlled Milling Machines
Designed to produce duplicate parts based on a master model, tracer controlled milling machines can be used for machining grooves and contoured surfaces.
Bed Type Milling Machines
The worktable of a bed type milling machine is placed on the bed itself, as opposed to on top as with other milling machines. On a bed type machine, the knee is omitted to allow for longitudinal movement.
Planer-Style Milling Machines
A planer-style milling machine is similar to a bed type machine. However, this type of milling machine offers more milling capabilities due to the addition of cutters and heads.
Who Are Milling Machines For?
As a leading machine for cutting metal, milling machines are widely used for making parts within the automotive and aerospace industries.
Though they come in a variety of different forms the core purpose of milling machines remains the same. None the less it is important to get the right machine for the job. With this guide, we hope we have provided you with a better understanding of what milling machines are and how each machine can vary. When choosing milling machines be sure to reference this guide to better determine which machines can work for you.