One of the more commonly used processes in CNC machining is milling. It’s a multi-functional process where a single tool creates different shapes and sizes on a product. If you need to convert raw metal into shapes and sizes to meet your unique requirements, milling is the way to go.

The cutting tool in the milling machine takes care of the process so there’s no need for the workpiece to rotate. During most processes, the workpiece is stationary or will move linearly against the milling tool. Let’s understand more about the milling process in CNC machining.

Milling Types and Categories

Milling can be broken down into several categories according to the workpiece, milling tools, and operational method. A common milling method in various industries is face milling, where the cutting tool is perpendicular to the workpiece. Face milling can offer the desired results if you need a flat surface on your workpiece or even shallow grooves.

If you want more of an “L” shaped surface, shoulder milling involves the machine moving around the material’s edge as it gets a 90-degree angle on the surface. This results in a smooth L-shaped surface. A more comprehensive method is profile milling, where a path is cut along a vertical surface. You can either have the tool parallel or perpendicular to the surface.

If you want a more specialized process where you need to insert threads into the holes on the surface of the workpiece, consider using thread milling. In this process, the cutting tool in the milling machine moves adjacent to the surface, creating various threads of different diameters.

Tools Needed for Milling Operations

You’ll need the help of quality tools and equipment too. To start, you’ll require  a reliable milling machine used for basic processes. These machines come in various sizes depending on the unique requirement of the manufacturing process.

CNC machine creating a prototype

Most milling machines combine with other tools to give businesses a one-stop solution or a machining center for their industrial requirements. The types of shapes you require on a workpiece depend upon the parts and rotation of the milling machine.

With new technology available today, you can find versatile machines that simultaneously perform milling, boring, drilling, and sawing. Gone are the days when you needed individual lathes and saws to get the same result. An all-in-one machine center guarantees fast and accurate results with a smooth finish. You can also consider installing turrets in your milling machines to give your cutting tool a more linear motion.

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