Milling constitutes a machining process widely used in manufacturing operations, including woodworking and metal working. During the milling of metal parts, a fabricator shapes and forms a work piece using rotary cutters to remove material selectively. This process frequently contributes to the production of industrial metal components. Today, it usually occurs in conjunction with automation, especially within high volume production environments.
Numerous types of milling cutter tools assist the manufacturing process. All of them will remove material from a work piece in a rotary fashion. In the past, machinists typically classified milling cutters as either horizontally or vertically oriented cutting tools. Unlike drills, which also remove material from work pieces, milling cutters generally do not move forward along the cutting axis in only a single direction, but instead operate in a perpendicular direction to the axis of the cut.
During former centuries, milling sometimes involved grinding materials placed beneath heavy rotating stones or cutting blades. With industrialization, fabricators mounted milling cutter blades on rotating spindles, allowing greater control over the milling process during mass production. Milling cutters today occur in a variety of sizes, shapes and dimensions, ranging from inserts used in hand held tools to cutting blades mounted within huge stationary machines. The milling process often occurs in conjunction with CNC automated production.
Types of Milling Cutters
Industrial engineers have developed a wide array of different types of milling cutters. A few of the most frequently used today include these broad categories:
End Mills: These milling cutters possess teeth across both an end cutting face and the sides of the cutter. They typically help shape and form cavities, slots and pockets.
Hollow Mills: These milling cutters formed in hollow thick-walled tubular dimensions contain interior cutting blades. They may help trim projections on complexly shaped work pieces, for example.
Face Mills: These cutters supply blades designed to shape and form the visible facing of a metal part. Typically, these heavy-duty cutting tools use disposable cutting blades which manufacturers replace as they wear out. Face mills can transform the texture of a surface.
Widely employed during machining in industrial settings, end mills enable manufacturers to shape and form slots and pockets within work pieces to meet specified parameters. These cutting tools remove material from the work piece, offering great assistance to machinists as they fashion metal molds and dies. Manufacturers have devised a great variety of useful end mills.
Types of End Mills
A broad spectrum of different specialized end mills assist metal parts fabrication today. Manufacturers can locate highly specialized end mills specially suited for specific types of milling tasks during machining, for instance. Some popular varieties of machining end mills include:
Roughing End Mill Cutters: These tools remove large quantities of material from a work piece. Within a specified period of time, the blades make extensive cuts into the metal. They produce a coarsely textured surface inside slots or pockets.
Ball End Cutters: These milling cutters cut away a specific, measured radius inside slots or grooves. The blade ends in a rounded tip making it suitable for use in the production of molds and dies which should not display sharp 90 degree angles.
Corner Radius End Mill Cutters: This precision cutting tool uses a specified radius on the tip and fluted sides. Manufacturers employ corner radius end mills to cut away material rapidly for the preparation of molds and dies with slots or pockets fitting specific diameters.
Slot Drills: These end mills strongly resemble corner radius end mill cutters. Equipped with at least one cutting tooth on the end permitting "plunging milling", and fluted sides designed to allow the cutter to penetrate through material, they permit rapid slot cutting.
Course Profile End Mills: This specialized type of roughing end mill removes significant amounts of metal as cost-effectively as possible. Since the cutter can withstand repeated heavy use well, it enjoys popularity in busy machining environments.
Materials And Applications
Since industrial end mills must cut through metal, these cutters typically consist of very strong, hard materials. They may utilize high strength steel, steel alloys containing high percentages of cobalt, cutters coated with powdered metal cobalt, cutters with tungsten carbide tips and even solid carbide. Some manufacturers rely upon end mills specially fabricated to accept different interchangeable types of durable cutting blades. Inserts composed of specialized ceramic or diamond cutters assist some end mill operations, for instance.
Milling may occur using a wide variety of tools, ranging from manual tools to computer-assisted CNC machinery. The use of sophisticated computer number controlled fully automated equipment has become more widespread during high volume production in recent years. Ensuring adequate lubrication during high speed milling remains an important consideration, since the operation of end mills in industrial settings generates a lot of heat. Sometimes companies will automate many machining operations, but still conduct some specialized milling processes by hand; the nature of the metal component and the desired tolerances of a part may impact production operations.
Numerous applications exist in virtually every industry for end mills. These cutters greatly assist the production of dies and molds. They also promote easier assembly of manufactured equipment across diverse sectors by enabling manufacturers to form and shape pockets and slots of specific dimensions.
End mills enjoy popularity in metal parts fabrication settings because they expedite the creation of uniform slots and pockets during the machining process. They ultimately facilitate the assembly of parts. More efficient, less wasteful, manufacturing results from their use.