A finishing end mill is the end mill that is used for creating a smooth surface finish on the inside wall of a drilled hole, groove or slot. The finishing end mill is a type of cutting tool that is very commonly seen in manufacturing industry where drilling holes or slots in a work piece are required. The end mills are mainly used for side milling operations. The end mills and a regular drill bit are not exactly the same though they are all used for removing parts from a work piece. A drill bit is the cutting tool that only cuts in the axial direction while the end mill mostly cut in the radial direction. The finishing end mills as well as other types of end mill initiate the cutting work from the side of a work piece. The end mills are used mostly in operations such as profile milling, tracer milling, face milling and plunging.
Profile milling is essentially the type of milling that is used for semi finishing or finishing the vertical or slanted surfaces of a work piece. Therefore, the finishing end mills are applied in such applications. In finishing operations, multiple axes motion capability is required. As a result, the milling center that is used to perform the finishing process usually has the two or three dimension movement capability. A general profile milling CNC sequence is a two point five axis sequence.
The profile milling operation is crucial for large scale work pieces and machinery with complex configurations. Profile in milling is divided into two categories: the open profile and closed profile. The open profile is the profiles created by utilizing line, arc or spline commands and the closed profile is created by using circle, rectangle, or other closed loops. Semi finishing is the partially finished process that is done as the prep for other following processes. The finishing is done to create a smoother surface of the drilled holes or slots. Both of these processes are done after initial machining works.
Tracer milling is also called tracer controlled milling. Tracer controlled milling is used to reproduce or copy the geometries in two dimensions. In this process, the milling machine has a work table for two axes motions along the longitude and transverse of the machine: the X and Y axis motion. The spindle and an additional tracer head are mounted onto a cross rail. A template that is to be duplicated is placed on the work table below the tracer head; the work piece to be machined is placed on the work table as well but under the spindle head.
Before the operation begins, a probe is used to follow the profile of the template and direct the cutting tool on the spindle by means of synchronizing with the tracer head movement. This way, the work pieces can be machined and a similar profile to the template is reproduced onto the work piece. This type of milling application is commonly used for creating grooves, slots, or contoured surfaces. In some particular applications, a tracer machine with three axes motion capability is required.
Face milling is a type of surface milling which the end mills are used. Face milling is deemed as the most commonly utilized milling operation. It can be with a wide variety of milling tools. The end mills with the entering angle at forty five degrees are the most common in a face milling process. Yet, other types of cutting tools such as square cutters, round cutters, side mills and face mills can also be used in certain applications.
Generally speaking, face milling is the process to create a surface that is vertical to the rotation axis of the cutting tool. In other words, it is used to create a wide flat surface on a work piece. The end mill that is used in a face milling process advances toward the work piece at the side of it. When the end mill engages with the work piece at its side, the peripheral teeth of the end mill remove the parts that contact with the teeth. Besides creating flat surface, face milling is also used to mill pocket, profile and slot, etc.
When an end mill is rotating, it is the sharp teeth on the mill that perform the cutting work. The teeth on an end mill are professionally recognized as the flutes. There are multiple dimensions and configurations of the flute based on the type of the cutting tool. With different configuration of the flutes and the number of them, the end mills are best applicable for different cutting operations. Regardless of the types of the cutter, the flutes typically come as the style of spiral grooves or helix cutting edges.
The number of the flutes on the end mills vary from two to four, five or up to more than ten. The more the flutes are, the larger the core of the cutter is. In the modern milling applications, higher flute count cutters have increasingly become popular. But really, since the flutes serve as the space for the chips to evacuate, the fewer the flute count is, the more space for the chips to evacuate. The chips are the tiny shreds that are removed from a work piece. It is important to remove the chips or it can compromise the precision or smoothness of the cutting work. The end mills may wear faster if they are not properly used as well.
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