CNC milling is short for Computer Numeric Controlled Milling but that doesn’t really define it.
It is sometimes a little difficult to understand just what CNC Milling is, as the term is often used interchangeably with CNC Machining and in conjunction with CNC Turning. Even Wikipedia uses the terms interchangeably defining milling as “the machining process of using rotary cutters to remove material from a work piece advancing (or feeding) in a direction at an angle with the axis of the tool.”
If you have ever used a hand held drill then you can start to understand what the process of milling is. Imagine if while using that drill you could not only drill holes in a variety of sizes and depths but could also use the drill to simultaneously cut in almost any direction you wanted to. This is basically the process of milling. Of course hand holding a drill to achieve this is not very precise, so machine held and computer controlled tools have been invented to provide both accuracy and dexterity in the cutting and drilling process. This has become known as CMC Milling or sometimes less accurately as CNC machining. The cylindrical cutting tool in a CNC Milling Machine uses a rotating action and is able to be programmed to move along multiple axes allowing it to create all sorts of nooks and crannies in the form of cuts, holes and shapes. CNC Milling Machines also have the capability of moving the item being milled. This flexibility of movement is very effective and allows quite complex designs to be produced both cost and time efficiently.
The more complex CNC Milling Machines require computer programming and drawing integrating CAD/CAM software. This is required when the geography of the product is quite complex and the milling needs to cover many axes. Any type of material that can be cut or drilled in a conventional way can be CNC Milled although commercial applications tend to relate mainly to metal. Many CNC Milling Machines also incorporate a facility to pump a cutting fluid to the milling tool to assist the milling processes. As you would expect there are different tools available for use depending on the type and hardness of the material being milled.
The application of CNC Milling is quite widespread and can be used to create a whole range of parts and components very cost effectively without sacrificing the quality of the product. Working with your CNC specialist will ensure that you choose the correct process for your project. The computer revolution has led to rapid developments in the capability of CNC Milling and Machining in a whole range of industries such as the mining, resource, automotive and rail industries as well as more intricate sectors. When selecting your CMC Machining Centre and Designer make sure you choose a team that is skilled, experienced and can cover a whole range of disciplines. In other words it is usually best to choose a CNC Machining center that offers the whole package allowing development of your product from concept to final production. It will be exciting to see the development of CNC Milling and CNC Machining over the next couple of years. Based on recent developments almost anything will be possible.
If you need more info about CNC Milling, ask Abco Precision Machining now! We’d be very happy to help you.