What is a CNC Milling Machine?

Industrial Cnc Metal Machining By Vertical Mill

Industrial Cnc Metal Machining By Vertical Mill

Most folks are familiar with CNC cutting machines and 3-D printing machines these days, but CNC milling systems are another matter entirely. Designed to grind and smooth away material from a target block as opposed to cutting into it, CNC milling provides an entirely different approach to unique and one-off product creation that can be very useful in both industrial settings as well as commercial product production. Three of the biggest industries using CNC milling on a regular basis include the aviation industry, electronics, and medical industry to name a few.

Background on CNC Terminology

CNC, technically speaking, refers to a computer-controlled production system titled “Computer Numerical Control.” The entire system functions off of a pre-fed program set of instructions that the machine understands and executes. Controlled by a computer, every movement, function, change, and activity is part of the program set without deviation unless there is an error (in which case the machine usually stops and flags the problem). There is no manual or handwork involved, at all.

How CNC Milling Works?

The material targeted starts off as a sizable raw block or form. As the instructions are processed by the computer, the CNC machine then goes about removing materials to create the desired shape. The accuracy and level of detail produced is amazing, and would be extremely hard to do by hand aside from an expert. Even further, the machine is able to do the work hundreds of times faster than a human, creating an exponential increase in output efficiency. Manufacturing industries favor CNC milling in particular because it’s an ideal way to produce replacement parts, new prototypes, and one-off items that help in a pinch versus shutting down the entire assembly process for weeks.

The CNC milling machine is able to perform its “magic” using a series of rotational positions and angles. Both by using angles as well as points of contact, the machine’s equipment applies different effects to create the overall shape desired in the programming. The typical physics involved use anywhere from three to five different axes to effect specific contact directions. The extension of the arm in these axes then allows for depth and curvature to be applied. As the machine’s controls reach the extent of one axis, then it shifts to a different axis to pick up the difference. This allows for three-dimensional construction that is not possible with other types of cutters or lathes.

Variations Due to Operational Design

How the machine goes about making contact produces different results with the output. The systems are produced in two major versions: vertical and horizontal. The vertical version works downward on the source material, while the spindle operates in a vertical fashion, changing the position of the material by spinning it around 360 degrees. The horizontal system operates from the sides, using less extension and beefier tools for contact work. Vertical-oriented machines are far nimbler and better applied to delicate work. Horizontal machines work far better on larger pieces that take longer to mill and shape with the associated grinding. A variation of the vertical machine involves a turret approach where the tools are able to rotate around the spindle which stays put. Again, this type of system is better with delicate pieces versus beefier products.

Uses and Application

CNC milling can be applied to a number of different materials. The most common industrial resource tends to be metal, but the system can be used on ceramics, composites, plastics, wood, rock, and similar. The main difference tends to be the cutting and grinding tools needed to do the work on the given material. These are changed out accordingly and replaced as needed when things wear down.

Professional CNC Milling Expertise at Your Fingertips

With Evden Enterprises as your CNC partner, your company and production line can take advantage of advanced CNC milling services as needed. Evden provides support for both small and larger demand projects, as well as handling both delicate and large, durable product production as well. Instead of using manual milling, which always has an inherent risk of error due to human interaction, your operations can rely on Evden for high-accuracy perfection only a computer-run system can provide. There are plenty of one-off services in the phone book or by word of mouth, but when you want a high level of professionalism applied in your CNC work, Evden Enterprises will be at the top of your shortlist for support.