How milling machine works & it’s advantages

How milling machine works & it’s advantages

Milling is a process performed with a machine in which the cutters rotate to remove the material from the workpiece present in the direction of the angle with the tool axis. With the help of the milling machines one can perform many operations and functions starting from small objects to large ones.

Milling machining is one of the very common manufacturing processes used in machinery shops and industries to manufacture high precision products and parts in different shapes and sizes.

A milling machine is a tool found primarily in the metalworking industry. Milling machines are tools designed to machine metal, wood, and other solid materials. Often automated, milling machines can be positioned in either vertical or horizontal orientation to carve out materials based on a pre-existing design. In general, these machines are used to shape solid products by eliminating excess material in order to form a finished product. Milling machines can be used for a variety of complicated cutting operations – from slot cutting, threading, and rabbeting to routing, planning, and drilling. They are also used in die sinking, which involves shaping a steel block so that it can be used for various functions, such as moulding plastics or coining.

The milling machines are also known as the multi-tasking machines (MTMs) which are multi-purpose machines capable of milling and turning the materials as well. The milling machine has got the cutter installed up on it which helps in removing the material from the surface of the workpiece. When the material gets cooled down then it is removed from the milling machine.

History of milling machine:

In 1816 , Milling machine was invented to reduce hand filing of intricate shapes. Later, in 1818, Whitney invented the first milling machine. A bit later in the year 1818 Eli Whitney (inventor of the cotton gin) invented a milling machine in New Haven Connecticut. Prior to the milling machine, a machinist’s tools were primarily files and required a highly skilled operator. The milling machine allowed a less skilled operator to make the same quality of parts as the skilled operator with the file. The CNC (tape) machines started to show up around 1953, in the earlier past the wood milling machine made in England that was used in making patterns in a foundry. This machine had more axis than an octopus . The table had X-Y-Z, would rotate, tilt. All these motions were made by gear changes.

How milling machine works:

Milling is a cutting process that uses a milling cutter to remove material from the surface of a workpiece. The milling cutter is a rotary cutting tool, often with multiple cutting points. As opposed to drilling, where the tool is advanced along its rotation axis, the cutter in milling is usually moved perpendicular to its axis so that cutting occurs on the circumference of the cutter. As the milling cutter enters the work piece, the cutting edges (flutes or teeth) of the tool repeatedly cut into and exit from the material, shaving off chips (swarf) from the workpiece with each pass. The cutting action is shear deformation; material is pushed off the workpiece in tiny clumps that hang together to a greater or lesser extent (depending on the material) to form chips. This makes metal cutting somewhat different (in its mechanics) from slicing softer materials with a blade.

The milling process removes material by performing many separate, small cuts. This is accomplished by using a cutter with many teeth, spinning the cutter at high speed, or advancing the material through the cutter slowly; most often it is some combination of these three approaches.The speeds and feeds used are varied to suit a combination of variables. The speed at which the piece advances through the cutter is called feed rate, or just feed; it is most often measured in length of material per full revolution of the cutter.

Types of Milling Machines:

The two main configurations of the milling machining operations are the types of milling machines. These are the vertical mill and the horizontal mill.

Vertical Milling Machines:

The vertical mill has a vertically arranged spindle axis and rotates by staying at the same axis. The spindle can also be extended and performing functions such as drilling and cutting. Vertical mill has got two further categories as well: turret mill and bed mill.

The turret mill has got a table that moves perpendicularly and parallel to the spindle axis in order to cut the material. The spindle is, however, stationary. Two cutting methods can be performed with this by moving the knee and by lowering or raising the quill.

The other is the bed mill in which the table moves perpendicular to the axis of the spindle and the spindle moves parallel to its axis.

Horizontal Milling Machines:

The horizontal mill is also a similar cutter but their cutters are placed on a horizontal arbor. A lot of horizontal mills have rotary tables that help in milling in various angles. These tables are called the universal tables. Apart from this all the tools that are used in a vertical mill can also be used in the horizontal mill.

Advantages of Milling Machines:

  • The size and durable construction of the milling machine give tremendous support to handle large and heavier machines without damaging itself.
  • It provides flexible computer control options for cutting purposes.
  • It reduces the chances of human errors.
  • It assures accurate cuts.
  • Availability of customization.
  • Use of multiple cutters.
  • It can do multiple cuts simultaneously.
  • Milling is perfect for producing individual pieces in small or large batches.
  • It has the capability of producing complicated shapes, using multi-tooth and single point cutting tools.
  • The operation costs can be controlled to a great extent if general-purpose cutters and equipment are used.
  • Greater precision in the finishing of the work compared to other machines.


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