In the CNC process of CNC milling, revolving cutters are used to chip away pieces of a block of material (or workpiece) until the required customs form (or feature) is created. It enables manufacturers to accurately produce complex parts while maintaining strict tolerance standards. The development of computer numerical control (CNC) milling machines throughout time has made it possible to produce precise components that satisfy the exacting standards of today’s demanding industries. There are several areas where CNC milling machines may be used, including the aerospace, automotive, robotics, and medical sectors, to mention a few.
We’ll go right to the details of CNC milling in this post. Do you wish to learn more about the process of milling? The various milling processes? What are the benefits of the procedure? Let’s talk about it below.
A CNC milling machine is what?
Let’s go back to the fundamentals of milling to grasp better what a CNC milling machine is and how it functions. Using revolving cutters to chip away pieces of a block of material (or workpiece) until the required bespoke form (or feature) is produced is known as milling. The workpiece is held in place by a moveable tabletop (or clamping mechanism) on conventional milling machines, which enables operators to move the workpiece in various directions in opposition to the spinning cutter.
Similar to traditional milling machines, CNC milling machines use revolving cutters and a movable desktop to remove material and produce components. However, how these machining procedures are carried out varies among them. Contrary to conventional milling, which involves manual control of the revolving cutter to manufacture components, CNC milling machines employ computerized controls to carry out machining operations. Let’s examine the milling procedure in further depth.
The Technique of CNC Milling
Three separate steps may be distinguished in the milling procedure.
Stage 1: Make a CAD model in 2D or 3D
The first step in the CNC milling process is creating 3D (or 2D) drawings of your desired component using CAD/CAM tools like Autodesk Inventor, Fusion 360, and SolidWorks. With the use of these computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technologies, you may specify the dimensions and tolerances that are necessary.
Stage 2: CAD model to CNC program conversion
As we said in stage #1, export your CAD model into a CNC-compatible file using the CAM application. Using the capabilities of CAM tools, you may convert your 3D CAD model into a computer program known as G-code.
The G-code then automates all of the steps necessary to build your product, including the cutting order, toolpath, machine tool speed, and workpiece movement, to name a few.
Stage 3: Configure the CNC Milling Machine and Run a Milling Job
In this stage, you’ll place your workpiece on the work surface of the CNC machine, secure your cutting implements to the spindle, and download the G-code you previously generated in stage 2. Once each of these procedures has been finished, start the machining program. Additionally, the milling machine will carry out all procedures necessary to convert your workpiece into the appropriate part.
Three frequent CNC milling techniques
1- Face Milling
The most frequent milling procedure used to produce flat surfaces is face milling. The surface of the workpiece being machined is perpendicular to the rotating axis of the cutting tool during this machining operation.
As the name indicates, a face mill cutter is used during face-milling operations. With the help of the numerous replaceable cutter inserts on these cutters, you can quickly create the surface you want. Face milling can also assist you in obtaining higher-quality surface finishes as compared to peripheral milling. This is so that you may remove less material than you would with peripheral milling thanks to the face mill cutter’s design, which offers precise control over the machining process.
2- Plain Milling
A milling technique used to create plain, horizontal surfaces is known as plain milling, sometimes known as slab milling. The cutting tool’s axis is aligned with the surface being machined during the machining procedure. plain milling cutters, a unique kind of cutter that has its teeth on edge and is used in this technique, enable machinists to carry out cutting operations.
3- Angular Milling
Similar to plain milling, angular milling aids in the production of flat surfaces. The positioning of the cutting instrument is the sole distinction between these two processes. The cutting tool’s axis is oblique to the surface of the workpiece while milling at an angle. You can create features like grooves, serrations, and chamfers, thanks to this.
Major benefits of CNC milling
- Comparatively to many current production technologies, CNC milling machines provide more accuracy and precision.
- Extremely complicated geometries may be produced using multi-axis CNC machines with tolerance constraints as tight as +/-0.004mm.
- Plastic, composites, and metals are just a few of the materials that CNC machines can work with.
Unquestionably, CNC machines can accurately produce intricate designs and adhere to precise tolerances. The success of your CNC milling project, however, mostly rests on the CNC milling machine operators, technicians, and engineers, much as with other machining technologies. You must thus choose the best manufacturer for your project.