Milling machines are used mainly for shaping and cutting solid materials such as metal, wood, plastics or even brass. These machines differs from a lathe in that the tool head itself rotates at high speed whereas with a lathe the part itself that is being worked on rotates. This sort of machinery varies greatly in terms of cost and in the specifications of the machine. Hobby machines will obviously be a lot more cost effective than their industrial counterparts.
So we will be a taking a look at some of the milling machine features and some of the important things to consider when looking to buy a machine for home or industrial use.
Types of Milling Machine
Found more often than any is the column type of machine. It has a few basic parts and is pretty simple. Materials can be drilled by means of the vertically suspended cutting device.
The turret mill is a more versatile option than the column machine. It is capable of producing many types of products as the spindle can be aligned in many different positions.
The C-frame is more usual to be found in an industrial workplace. It is tremendously powerful to cope with larger milling jobs.
Horizontal and Vertical Mills
These two types of machine are fairly similar, the main difference is the vertical machine’s spindle has a vertical orientation as the name suggests. It’s good for plunge drilling and cutting.
A horizontal mill has the cutter or cutters located on an arbor. This type of machine is good for heavy cutting like slots and groves for instance.
The CNC (computer numerical control) machine or sometimes referred to as machining center is a highly accurate form of milling. The machine is set up usually via computer aided design technology. This sort of control allows the part to be engineered to a high level of complexity such as engraved elements and relief. The precision achieved is unsurpassed and with little operator input needed following the set up phase and the production of the test piece it’s also cost effective.
Important Considerations For Purchase
It will depend an enormous amount on what the machine is required to do of course. So it’s important to look at the complexity of the work to be done and consider the number of axis variants required. The power of the machine will also be important as will the speed that it operates at. As some milling machines will come with various attachments others will require these at additional cost. The overall cost may be important and some really good used milling machines can be found online if needed.
So I have taken a look at some of the milling machine types and their uses along with what sort of things to look out for when considering the right one to get.