Slide toggle

What is a milling machine and what is it used for?


Machining techniques are steadily developing, with an increasing emphasis on technology and IT. This will inevitably lead to the emergence of a new generation of machining tools that allow for ever greater precision and versatility in cutting. Some “traditional” equipment also benefits from this development and remains essential for machinists.

Among these, the milling machine continues to provide invaluable assistance in machine shops. Here is an overview of its main functions.

What is a milling machine?

Typically, a milling machine is required to machine a wide variety of parts made of different materials such as wood, aluminum or plastic. Known for its versatility and high precision, it can perform even the most complex manipulations. It is equipped with cutting tools and a mobile table where the materials to be shaped are placed. This means that the table moves while the tools perform the desired divisions.

As its name suggests, the milling machine is also equipped with a milling cutter, which is actually the primary tool of this machine. The cutter performs the material milling work by removing the desired material from a part. This tool resembles a rod, is equipped with teeth and can come in different shapes (cylindrical, conical, toric and hemispherical). Once these teeth are rotated on an axis, the desired material can be removed. The cutter is generally installed on three to five axes, depending on the type of milling machine. The type of cutter will be chosen based on the element to be machined.

You can also attach additional accessories to the milling machine to increase its versatility.

The different types of milling machines

There are different types of milling machines on the market such as manual, learning, CNC and gantry milling machines.

The manual milling machine is becoming increasingly rare in machine shops. Its movements are directly controlled by the milling machine, which manages the movements itself. The learning milling machine can memorize the actions performed by an operator and then reproduce them.

Today, we are more likely to find the CNC milling machine. It is equipped with a computer that saves the machining settings in advance.  There are three types of CNC milling machines.

The 3-axis milling machine

This milling machine consists of a vertical and a horizontal spindle. The cutter is vertical to the table and the table can be positioned in different ways.

The 4-axis milling machine

The only difference for the 4-axis milling machine is that a rotary table is added. It is regularly used in the automotive and aviation industries.

The 5-axis milling machine

The 5-axis milling machine is composed of three linear axes, as well as two rotary axes that can change depending on the selected model.

Finally, the gantry milling machine is also digital, but differs because of its large size. This allows larger parts to be manufactured.

Braidwood Industries Ltd: a team that is well versed in milling machines

In light of this information, you can probably understand how explaining precisely what a milling machine is can be difficult, given the wide variety of models and configurations available on the market.

On another note, if you are looking for a machine shop that can manufacture various parts and gears, including with a milling machine, do not hesitate to contact Braidwood Industries Ltd. Whatever your needs and requirements, the parts delivered to you will meet your expectations.

About the Author: