What Can a Horizontal Milling Machine Do?

Posted on May 21, 2021

Horizontal Milling Machine

When it comes to the orientation of the milling machine, it can be either vertical or horizontal. The vertical milling machine refers to the vertically mounted spindle, which had the cutting tools cut travel through the workpieces with up and down movements. As for the horizontal milling machine, the spindle is horizontally mounted and the cutting tools are allowed to cut from the above or the sides of the workpieces.

What is a horizontal milling machine?

A horizontal milling machine is a type of milling machine that arranges the spindle as well as the cutting tools horizontally, which makes the cutting tools parallel to the surface of where the workpieces are placed, so as to enable the workpieces to be machined from different edges. In other words, the horizontal milling machine can be applied when intricate production on the products is required.

A milling machine is a device that utilizes the cutting tools, which are the end mills, to remove materials from some parts of the workpieces, in order to create the configurations of the products depending on the required geometries of them. During the machining processes, there are chips produced from the workpieces. The speed of removal and the sizes of the removed chips determine how the products are machined.

Depending on the applications of products that are supposed to be manufactured, the scale of the milling machines may range from small to large, which accommodate the machining on the light-duty and heavy-duty workpieces. In addition to the size of the milling machine, the orientation of the spindle can also differentiate the capability of the milling machine as well.

When it comes to the orientation of the milling machine, it can be either vertical or horizontal. The vertical milling machine refers to the vertically mounted spindle, which had the cutting tools cut travel through the workpieces with up and down movements. As for the horizontal milling machine, the spindle is horizontally mounted and the cutting tools are allowed to cut from the above or the sides of the workpieces.

Without the assistance of the additional components, the vertical milling machine can only cut from the top surface of the workpieces. However, by adjusting the position of the spindle on the horizontal milling machine, there are more areas for the cutting tools to achieve on the workpieces, which allows for making more intricate cuts on the horizontal milling machine.

In addition to adjusting the position of the spindle as well as the cutting tools on the horizontal milling machine, the replacement of the cutting tools is also involved in achieving the intricate design of the products. The cutting tools on a milling machine are called end mills. An end mill consists of a handheld part and a cutting tip. The cutting tip is designed with teeth, which makes a number of flutes. As the number of flutes and the grooves between each flute change, variations in the shapes of the cut parts are created.

In short, it is the horizontally mounted spindle and the compatibility with different cutting tools that provide this type of milling machine with versatility and capability in intricate productions.
 

:: Read More: Vertical and Horizontal Milling Machines and the Differences
 

What are the advantages of using a horizontal milling machine?


versatility

As far as we know, due to the arrangement of the components on the horizontal milling machine, this machine is enabled to perform more intricate cuts when compared to its vertical counterpart. In other words, the horizontal milling machine can be recognized as a versatile machine because of the capability of conducting multiple tasks.
 

clean working site

In the metalworking or woodworking industries, when the cutting tools come in contact with the workpieces, there would be chips produced from the removed materials of the workpieces. 

Since these substances are removed, they are no longer useful. What benefits the manufacturing processes of the horizontal milling machine is that the chips can be naturally discarded from the contacting surfaces between the cutting tools and the workpieces due to gravity, which keeps the working site clean without excessive remaining chips.
 

maximum accuracy

Once the chips are discarded right after they are produced, the working site can be kept clean. This has something to do with the performance of the machine because when there are no excessive chips remain on the surfaces of the workpieces, the cutting tools would not have the chance to double-cut the same parts on the workpieces, which ensures the maximum accuracy of the cuts, and thus result in the smoothest surface finishes on the products.
 

What comprises a horizontal milling machine?

In addition to the various forms of cutting tools and the workpieces, which are the main elements of a milling machine, the other components are all significant for facilitating smooth operation. A horizontal milling machine is comprised of an overarm, an arbor bracket, an arbor, a work-holding device, a table, a knee, and the traverse handles.
 

overarm

The overarm acts as part of the frame of the milling machine, and is also used to support the arbor bracket underneath the arm as the arbor bracket is in the resting condition, which is when the cutting tool is in the original position.
 

arbor bracket

The arbor bracket is the shelf of the arbor, which is used to support the arbor during the adjustment of the positions of the cutting tools, and to fix the arbor in the original position by tightening the nuts and bolts to the overarm.
 

arbor

The arbor can be thought of as the tool holder on the horizontal milling machine. It contains a cylindrical rail and several spacers that are wrapped around the rail. The rail is for the supporting purpose, and the spacers are movable, which are as the name implies, used for spacing the arbor and the cutting tools as the arbor moves along with the arbor bracket.
 

work holding device

The work holding device is the device that holds the workpieces and allows them to be machined. Depending on the applied workpieces and the operation methods, this device can be a vise, a jaw chuck, or simply several clamps, etc.
 

table

When looking from the front of the machine, the table that is equipped with guideways and supports the work holding device, which allows the workpieces to travel forward and backward on the axis as they are machined.
 

knee

The knee is set under the table and supported with a column, which is connected to the knee from one end, and the base of the machine on the other end. The knee in combination with the column allows the workpieces on the table to travel with vertical movements, which is useful when it is necessary to adjust the position of the work holding device during the replacement of different sizes of workpieces.
 

traverse handles

There are two traverse handles and each is on the table and the knee respectively. The traverse handle on the table is applied for moving the workpieces forward and backward, and the handle on the knee is turned when the height of the work holding device as well as the workpieces have to be adjusted.
 

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