What is an End Mill Tools and the Application?

Posted on Nov 7, 2019

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In the metalworking industry, an end mill is a type of milling cutter, which is a cutting tool utilized in industrial milling process. It is distinguished from the drill tool in the corresponding application, geometry, and production. A drill can only cut in the axial direction, while a milling bit can generally cut in all directions, though some cannot cut axially.

What is an end mill tool?

In the metalworking industry, an end mill is a type of milling cutter, which is a cutting tool utilized in industrial milling process. It is distinguished from the drill tool in the corresponding application, geometry, and production. A drill can only cut in the axial direction, while a milling bit can generally cut in all directions, though some cannot cut axially. End mills are used in milling applications for profile milling, tracer milling, face milling, and many other applications.

Classifications

There are a great variety of machining tasks such as grooves, slots, and pockets in the work piece may be processed from a variety of tool bits. Common tool bit types are square end cutters, ball end cutters, t-slot cutters, and shell mills.

Besides, square end cutters can mill square slots, pockets, and edges. Ball end cutters can mill radius slots or fillets. The T-slot cutters mill T-shaped slots. Shell end cutters are used for large flat surfaces and for angle cuts. There are variations of these tool types as well. There are four critical angles of each cutting tool, including end cutting edge angle, axial relief angle, radial relief angle, and radial rake angle. Based on the material being milled, and what milling duties should be performed, different tool styles and methods may be adopted. For instance, when milling a material like aluminum, it may be advantageous to use a tool with very deep, polished flutes, which is a very sharp cutting edge and high rake angles.

Other variables

On the other hand, when machining a tough material such as stainless steel, shallow flutes and a squared-off cutting edge will optimize material removal and tool life. A wide variety of materials are used to produce the cutting tools. Carbide inserts are the most ordinary style because they are good for highly productive milling. High speed steel is commonly used when a special tool shape is needed, not usually used for high production processes.

Materials such as ceramics inserts are typically used in high speed machining with high production. Diamond inserts are typically used on products that require tight tolerances, typically consisting of high surface qualities (nonferrous or nonmetallic materials). In the early 90s, use of coatings to reduce wear and friction (among other things) became more common.

Installation and application

End mill cutters are normally installed on the milling machine or machining centers for general end milling tasks. On the milling machine, either it is manual type or programmed model, the process is controlled sophisticatedly on the end mill task. On the other hand, machining centers can also be installed with the end mill cutters while the purpose would be for the latter process after the main machining process is done.

Therefore, machining centers are more convenient nowadays for manufacturers to conduct their manufacturing process concerning the end milling process. For that reason, the installed tool magazine normally has to be with great capacity of containing more tools for the multiple tasks to be done.

Why machining centers

Machining center is a highly developed machine tool that can deal with multiple types of milling tasks at once. At first, machine center is evolved from milling machines at the 1960s and since then, the development of this specific type of machine tools progresses well in the industry, and after that machine centers are widely applied in all kinds of industries, contributing a wide range of industrial efforts. Regarding milling, as its name tells, is the process of machining that utilizes spinning tools to remove materials by advancing a tool into one or several work pieces. This machining method could be done on different directions. Besides turning, milling covers a wide variety of various operations and ranges a wide scale from single tiny parts to heavy and large gang milling operation tasks. Similar to turning, milling is one of the most usually adopted machining methods that render accurate tolerances.

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