The Mill Machine and its Different Subcategories

Posted on Oct 6, 2020

The Mill Machine and its Different Subcategories

A mill machine can come in many different variations. Generally speaking, the cutter in a mill machine rotates around its axis, while the workpiece does not rotate. This allows the tool to approach the workpiece in many different directions, which requires more complex and complex parts.

If it can be programmed, it can be processed in a mill machine, as long as you have the right clearance and choose the right tool. Mill machines are very versatile. Usually, they are used to machine flat surfaces, but they can also create irregular surfaces. They can also be used to drive, drive, split gears, and make grooves. The most common type of mill machine in the student store is a vertical spindle mill machine with a rotating head. The mill machine is also called a multi-task machine, it is a multi-purpose machine that can also mill and turn materials. Milling cutters have been mounted on the mill to help extract the material from the top of the workpiece. When the steel is cooled down, it is extracted from the mill. But there are different kinds of mill machines with some important differences. In this article, we will break it down for you one by one!


Mill Machine Components

Now, let us look at the composition of the mill machine. Although the new milling centers can perform various operations, they are also more complex. Therefore, we stick to a more traditional workbench here to outline the machine components.


Horizontal mill machine

The name of the horizontal mill machine is derived from the position of the tools-their axes are placed horizontally. The picture above shows one way to use them, namely flat milling. Of course, horizontal mills are also suitable for end milling cutters. The construction of the horizontal rolling mill is very simple.

The cutting tool is attached to the shank. When you need to change the tool, you can remove the holder and spacer to change the tool. A vise is required to fix the workpiece on the workbench. The reciprocating motion can move the worktable on the X, Y, and Z-axis to move the workpiece. Of course, newer machines look a little different and are therefore suitable for automation. Horizontal milling centers may have multiple spindles with various tools on them to speed up turnaround time. Moreover, the workbench and tools can be moved in more directions, including the rotation axis.

Advantages of a Horizontal Mill Machine

  • Option to produce parts within fewer production steps
  • More complex parts
  • 3-4 times faster than horizontal mill machine
  • Tool life is longer
  • Better surface finishes

:: Read more : Are CNC Horizontal Mills always the better choice?


Vertical mill machine

The name of the vertical mill machine is self-evident. Since the position of the tool axis is vertical, it is more suitable for end milling. The components of a vertical mill are similar to those of a horizontal mill. The head is at the end of the plunger. The cutting tool spindle is mounted on the tool head. Everything about the positioning of the table is the same as the horizontal mill machine, so the table can be moved in the same three directions. Modern 5-axis vertical mill machines provide the possibility of rotating parts to achieve more inspections and faster turnaround times. Automating all motions can improve accuracy, shorten lead times, and get closer to the same batch of parts.

The advantages of a Vertical Mill Machine

  • Cheaper than a horizontal rolling mill, the price difference is as high as 4-5 times
  • Usability and applications as more shop owners can afford it
  • Easy to use because with a vertical mill it is easier to see the machining status
  • The machine is smaller and requires less workshop space

Mill Machine Types

There are many varieties of milling centers available on the market today. The basic principles are almost the same everywhere, but some modifications have brought more possibilities, so let us explore the different subcategories of mill machines!

Bed-type Mill Machine

The design of the bed-type mill machine includes a stable machine bed. Large and heavy parts may cause knee-type machines to be unstable, while bed-type machines will stabilize their position. The long bed means that multiple parts can be connected to the bed at once, which reduces idle time and improves work efficiency. The table is directly connected to the machine bed and can be moved in two directions. Of course, the spindle head can move axially to determine the depth of cut. The position of the axis depends on the machine, as there are horizontal and vertical mill machines and general machine tools. All of these can also be automated by using CNC. The most common of these is the CNC universal mill machine.  Another way to increase productivity is to use a two-machine stand. This helps to install multiple parts on the workbench for simultaneous processing, or it is possible to install a larger part on the workbench. This loses the need to re-clamp it to handle the other end. It is important to note that this set opens up the possibility of tool collision, and the correct CNC program can avoid this.

Knee-type Mill Machine

These machines are suitable for the production of small to medium-sized parts. The limitation is that knee mill machines are less stable than bed mill machines. Likewise, the frame sets its limits on the size of the part. Traditional knee mill machines are an excellent choice for producing disposable parts, maintenance work, preparation tasks, etc. The one-way movement of the cutting head can limit the possibility of accidents. They are usually used to prepare workpieces for later fine grinding on CNC workstations. These machines require manual tool replacement after each operation, which slows down the whole process a bit. Nevertheless, modern CNC machining centers still have the function of a knee mill machine.

Ram-type Mill Machine

The cutting head of the ram-type mill is mounted on a ram that can slide back and forth. This allows the tool to be moved to the X-axis and Y-axis. Many of these mill machines also can rotate the cutting head, which opens up the range of potential machining applications.

Planer-type Mill Machine

The planer-type Mill Machine is very similar to the bed-type mill machine. Both have large worktables and spindles that can move in three directions. The main difference is that the planer type mill machine can accommodate more milling cutters at a time. Generally, the number of different tools is at most four. The extra flexibility increases their efficiency and reduces the need to stop processing due to tool changes.

:: Read more : Different Types of Milling Machines


Setting up the Mill Machine

Although the CNC milling machine automatically completes the cutting work, many other aspects of the process still require the help of the machine operator. For instance, fixing the workpiece on the worktable and fixing the milling tool on the machine tool spindle. Manual milling largely depends on the operator, and the new model has a more advanced automation system. Modern milling centers may also have the possibility of on-site machining. This means they can change tools anytime and anywhere during the manufacturing process. Therefore, the number of stops is reduced, but someone still needs to set up in advance. m After completing the initial settings, the operator checks the machine program for the last time, and then turns on the green light to the machine.


Mill Machines on

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