Milling is a process where a rotating, multi-toothed cutter removes material from a workpiece. Even though companies use various types of machines for the purpose, none beats the accuracy, efficiency, and capability of computer numerical control (CNC) machines.
The machine movements of CNCs are controlled by a computer with a pre-programmed code that determines the processes to remove the material and create the part required. This automated process is better than manual lathing as it takes less time and ensures optimal accuracy.
Hiring an experienced company offering CNC miling machine services ensures you get perfectly milled, turned, or ground parts. This type of milling is fast, cost-effective, and repeatable, making it extremely popular amongst machining companies. It also produces an excellent surface finish.
What should you know about these services before hiring a company? Continue reading to find out.
How does a CNC machine work?
But how does the process work? A part program, developed from a computer-aided design (CAD) file, determines the order of moves to be followed to create the desired mechanical part. The entire process does not involve the slightest manual intervention, making it highly precise and quick.
Types of milling machines
The two most popular types of milling machines are vertical and horizontal, based on the rotation axis of the cutting tool.
Compared to horizontal machines, vertical mills are more widely used than horizontal ones because they hold the tool on a vertical axis, making them versatile or capable of handling various components.
Vertical mills are easy to operate as they don’t require additional fixtures and take up less floor space, making them convenient for use. Because of their various advantages, it is better to look for a machining company that uses vertices for most of its milling operations.
The newest type of machine is the 5-Axis, consisting of two additional axes of movement. Compared to that, a vertical mill has three movements of axes: the X-Axis (in which the table with the material part moves in a left to right direction) and Y-Axis ( where the table moves forwards and backward).
The 5-Axis has two extra axes of movement, enabling its angle and tilt to adjust to the cutter axis while working on the workpiece. The extra movements give it two additional benefits: machining contours and eliminating the need to remove the workpiece from the table and install it in a different position, thus saving time and ensuring a perfect geometric relationship between the surfaces.
Things to know before choosing a company
Before choosing a company that offers milling services, you could consider, for example, their maximum capabilities. The term covers things like CNC max travel limits (for 3-Axis and 5-Axis) and A and C axis travel limits.
Additionally, you should consider the maximum weight on the table that a 5-Axis machine can handle. An experienced company recognizes the capabilities of its machines and designs part programs to ensure they deliver the best results.
A good company also reduces the machining time without compromising accuracy and surface finish. You might consider asking if they can work with materials like stainless steel and engineering polymers. Working with steel and polymers involves selecting the right cutting tools, correctly positioning the part, optimizing feed rates, and cutting fluid wherever required.
You should hire an experienced company offering CNC miling machine services that promise the fastest turnaround and highest quality at a reasonable price. However, you should consider the vital factors, including the mills they use and their capabilities.