Different Types of Milling Machines

Posted on Sep 3, 2020

Milling Machines

Milling machines are available in different types with different functions based on certain standard specifications. Some of the most commonly used machines are column, turret, C-frame, horizontal, bed, planer, and marker controls.

What Is a Milling Machine?

A milling machine is a tool in the metal industry that has many functions. It has a cutter that works in a different speed range in accordance with particular machining requirements. Thanks to the speed control function, each mill can be adjusted for a more precise cut. The machine can perform many tasks, such as carving, threading, milling, drilling, and cutting. You may occasionally hear people call it a multi-purpose machine (MTM) as a result.

What Is a Milling Process?

Milling is a process performed by machine tools where the cutters rotate to remove material from the workpiece at an angle with the axis of the tool. Many operations and functions from small to large objects can be performed with milling machines. In fact, it is one of the very common manufacturing processes used in machine shops and industry to produce precision products and parts of all shapes and sizes.


Though milling can be defined as simply as a process that cuts away materials from a given part, there are actually various forms and types to it. In the following section, we will briefly talk about some of the most commonly applied milling methods. Each of the methods has its own pros and cons and is ideal for specific machining purposes. They are end milling, surface milling, and gang milling.


End Milling

Many cutting tools are used in the milling process. End mills are required to perform end milling tasks. This type of cutter has specialized cutting surfaces on their end faces so that they can be placed on a workpiece by drilling. They also have extended cutting surfaces on each side of the target peripheral milling. The milling cutters have small cutters at the end corners. The cutters are made from highly resistant materials that are durable and produce less friction.

Surface Milling

As the name suggests, surface milling focuses on the surface processing of a part. Any material passing through the milling cut area is given regular gaps. The side knives have regular ridges on them. The distance between the ridges depends on the feed, cutter diameter, and a number of cutting surfaces. There can be significant differences in surface height.

Gang Milling

This means that more than two cutters are involved in the setup, such as horizontal milling. All the knives perform the same operation, or it may also be possible that the knife may perform different operations. This is an important operation for producing duplicate parts.

:: Read More: The vertical milling machines can work hand in hand with HMC’s

Two Primary Machining Orientations of a Mill

The two main configurations of milling operations are vertical milling and horizontal milling. The vertical cutter has a vertically oriented spindle axis and rotates while remaining on the same axis. The spindle can also be extended and perform functions such as drilling and cutting. The milling machine has a table that moves perpendicular and parallel to the spindle axis to cut material. The spindle, however, is stationary. On the other hand, horizontal milling has the machining orientation parallel to the floor level. This orientation is efficient when milling the sides of a workpiece is necessary.

Milling Machine Categorization

There are several types of milling machines, each with different functions based on standard criteria. Manufacturers often name different machines according to the type of control, the number of axes present, the orientation of the spindle, the size of the tool, its purpose, and power source. Though having these varieties, the milling machines essentially serve the same functions. Below is the list of seven types of milling machines.

Column-type Mills

It is the most popular milling machine which has 5 basic components, they are worktable, saddle, head, knee, and arm. Considered the simplest type of machine, its cutting device is suspended vertically to allow metal drilling. This is usually used when creating auto parts as it is small and handy.

Turret-type Mills

The turret is also known as Bridgeport and can be repositioned at any time to make the machine very functional. Its versatility makes it more practical as a variety of products can be made in addition to auto parts.

C-Frame Mills

Since it is stronger than a tower, this type is popular in an industrial setting. It is equipped with a hydraulic motor which makes it very powerful.

Horizontal Milling Machine

This machine runs parallel to the ground. The table on which the workpiece is put down moves sideways, while the cutting device moves up and down.

Bed-type Mills

The work table is on the bed itself, instead of walking upstairs in its usual position. The knee part of the machine is omitted to allow movement in a longitudinal direction. The table moves perpendicularly to the spindle axis and the spindle moves parallel to its axis.

Planer-style Mills

This machine type is basically the same as the bed-type mills. However, the planner-style includes cutters and heads that allow for a wider range of milling actions.

Tracer Controlled Milling Machines

This type of machine has the ability to recreate parts based on a master model. Most industries, especially automotive, choose this type of machine because it facilitates the production and specialization of machine parts.

Thanks to the extensive classifications of milling machines, you get to choose the one you need depending on how you intend to use it. However, if it is difficult for you to decide, do not hesitate to ask for help from a specialist who will help you choose the machine that gives you the maximum benefit.

:: Read More: Horizontal Milling Machines Basics


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