A milling machine, also known as a mill, is a type of machine tool used to process various surfaces and profiles using revolving cutting tools. To suit specific requirements, there are a ton of different types of milling machines available to choose from on the market. In this article, we are going to learn about the classification of milling machine and find out the right option for work.
Milling machines can be used to cut keyways, gears, slots, racks and other features, as well as perform milling, boring, drilling, and more operations with various attachments and setups. Milling machines can generally be classified into horizontal and vertical milling machine based on the axis of the machine spindle. These machines can also be divided into knee type milling machines, ram-type milling machines, bed-type milling machines, planer-type milling machines, etc. CNC milling machine is designed for the large batch production run of milling parts with high consistency.
1. Column and knee type milling machines
Column and knee type mill is a common type of milling machine for general purpose. Column, spindle, cutter, table, knee, base are the basic parts of the vertical and horizontal type mills. On column and knee type milling machines, a vertical column is attached to the bed that contains all gear drives which rotate the knee and saddle, the knee is situated on the base to enable the part to move up and down.
– Vertical milling machine: employs a spindle with a vertical orientation. The spindle can hold or rotate the milling cutter against the stationary workpiece, also can move up or down. Vertical milling machines are a type of column and knee machines. The vertical milling machine is suitable for machining larger planes and machining grooves and step planes with various milling cutters with shank. The productivity of the vertical milling machine is higher than that of the horizontal milling machine. All kinds of cylindrical milling cutters, forming milling cutters, end milling cutters, and angle milling cutters can be installed directly or through accessories. It is widely used for machining plane, inclined plane, groove and hole of various parts, and ideal processing equipment for machinery manufacturing, mold, instrument, meter, automobile, motorcycle, and other industries.
– Horizontal milling machine: features a spindle horizontally oriented. The cutting tool mounted on the spindle can remove material from the fixed block selectively. The spindle sleeve can be fed manually, the worktable can be vertically and horizontally manually fed and vertically lifted, the main drive and feed adopt a gear speed change mechanism, with a wide speed range. Horizontal milling machines often have shorter and thicker cutters than vertical machines.
– Universal milling machine: usually, a mill is called a universal milling machine because it has both horizontal and vertical spindle, with proper attachments and accessories, it can do anything you want to. Besides doing the work of a plain milling machine, it can thus be used for an almost unlimited variety of other operations in the manufacture of machinery and tools.
2. Special type milling machines
– Ram type milling machine: characterized by a spindle mounted to a movable housing on the column, allows operators to position the cutter in a horizontal plane. Universal ram-type milling machine and swivel cutter head ram-type milling machine are the popular options among this category.
– Bed type milling machine: designed with a sliding table which is mounted on the machine bed, the cutting depth can be obtained as the requirement based on adjusting the spindle. This type of milling machine is suitable for continuous milling applications.
– Planer type milling machine: the cross-rail carrying a rigidly supported cutting tool, the table has a relatively slow feed required for milling. This type of mill is ideal for machining broad surfaces on workpieces.
– Gantry milling machine: a kind of milling machine with a gantry frame and horizontal long bed. On the gantry milling machine, the part can be processed simultaneously with multiple milling cutters, which also delivers high machining precision and production efficiency.
– CNC milling machine: refers to the milling machines that employ computerized controls to execute precise movements according to the programmed instructions, to progressively remove materials from the block and produce the desired part the same as the design.