In manufacturing, CNC milling machining is a vital technology known for its high precision, efficiency and flexibility. This article will introduce you to various aspects of CNC milling in detail and help you better understand and apply this technology.

CNC milling machine
CNC milling machine

What is CNC milling?

CNC milling is a subtractive processing method that uses a computer-controlled milling machine to cut materials. The movement of the milling machine is controlled by written programs to achieve precise processing of the shape and size of the workpiece.

How does CNC milling work?

    The working principle of CNC milling is quite simple: use CAD (computer-aided design) software to design the shape and dimensions of the workpiece, and convert these data into machining programs in CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) software.

    This processing program is input into the control system of the CNC milling machine. The control system drives various parts of the milling machine to move according to the instructions of the program to achieve cutting of the workpiece.

    What are the steps of CNC milling?

    Design and programming

    Use CAD and CAM software to design workpiece shapes and dimensions and write processing programs.

    Load artifacts

    Place the workpiece to be processed on the workbench of the milling machine and secure it.

    Set processing parameters

    Set processing parameters such as cutting speed and feed amount according to the workpiece material and processing requirements.

    Run program

    Start the CNC milling machine, run the processing program, and perform cutting.

    Check and measure

    After processing is completed, the workpiece is inspected and measured to ensure it meets the design requirements.

    What are the materials for CNC milling?

    metallic material

    Steel:Steel is one of the main materials for CNC machine tool processing. It has good mechanical properties and processability and is suitable for processing various parts.

    Aluminum alloy: Aluminum alloy is a lightweight and corrosion-resistant material. It is not only commonly used in aviation, aerospace, automobiles, ships and other fields, but also widely used in home appliances, electronic communications, machine manufacturing and other fields.

    Due to its good thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity, as well as its ease of processing, aluminum is a commonly used material for CNC milling machines.

    Titanium alloy: Titanium alloy is a difficult material to machine, and CNC milling machines can solve this problem through precision cutting processes. Titanium alloys are widely used in high-end manufacturing fields such as aerospace and medical care.

    Alloy materials: Alloy materials have the advantages of high strength, heat resistance, corrosion resistance, etc., and are widely used in aviation, aerospace, energy, chemical industry and other fields.

    non-metallic materials

    Plastic: Plastic is a lightweight, corrosion-resistant, heat-insulating, non-metallic material widely used in electronics, machinery, automobiles, construction and other fields.

    CNC milling machines can process various plastic materials to meet different production needs.

    Wood: Although wood is relatively rarely used in CNC milling, in some specific fields, such as furniture manufacturing, art processing, etc., wood is also one of the processing materials for CNC milling machines.

    CNC milling machines can also process other materials, such as copper, composite materials, etc. When selecting processing materials, factors such as material properties, processing requirements, and processing costs need to be considered. At the same time, in order to ensure processing quality and efficiency, appropriate tools and cutting parameters need to be selected.

    Types of CNC milling

    There are many types of CNC milling, each type has its specific application scenarios and processing characteristics. The following are several common CNC milling processing types and their introduction:

    Face milling

    • Definition:Face milling is the most commonly used type of milling and is mainly used to mill planes parallel to the tool face.
    • Features:The rotation axis of the cutting tool is perpendicular to the surface of the workpiece being processed. Face milling cutters feature multiple interchangeable milling inserts to produce the desired flat surface efficiently and with high quality.
    • Application:Commonly used to manufacture various parts with flat surfaces, such as metal plates, plastic plates, etc.

    Vertical milling

    • Definition:End milling is mainly used to process step surfaces of approximately 90°.
    • Features:The side of the tool (leading angle) is parallel to the axis of rotation. This milling method is particularly effective when machining a part of the workpiece with a 90° shoulder.
    • Application: Commonly used in workpieces that require processing of right angles or stepped surfaces, such as molds, fixtures, etc.

    Copy milling

    • Definition: Copy milling is used to machine a free-form surface (arc surface).
    • Features: Process workpieces by simulating or copying an existing model or template. Special profiling devices or programming techniques are required to achieve this.
    • Application: Commonly used in processing complex curved surfaces or irregularly shaped workpieces, such as artworks, molds, etc.

    Angle milling

    • Definition: Angle milling is a milling method that creates a flat surface, but with the axis of the cutting tool at an angle to the workpiece surface.
    • Features: By adjusting the angle of the cutting tool, plane processing at different angles can be achieved.
    • Application: Suitable for workpieces that require processing of inclined surfaces or planes with specific angles, such as helical gears, angle plates, etc.

    Slot milling

    • Definition: Slot milling is mainly used to machine slots of various shapes on the workpiece.
    • Features: Milling cutters of different shapes and sizes can be used to machine grooves of different depths and widths.
    • Application: Commonly used in processing workpieces that need to contain other parts or liquids, such as machine parts, containers, etc.

    Contour milling

    • Definition: Contour milling is used to machine the external contour of the workpiece.
    • Features: Control the motion trajectory of the milling machine through programming, so that the tool cuts along a predetermined path.
    • Application: Commonly used in processing workpieces with complex shapes, such as molds, sculptures, etc.

    Each of these CNC milling processing types has its own characteristics and application scenarios. In actual production, it is necessary to select the appropriate processing method according to the specific requirements and processing conditions of the workpiece.

    Advantages of CNC Milling machining

    • High precision: CNC milling can achieve extremely high machining accuracy and meet the processing needs of precision parts.
    • High efficiency: Through computer control, CNC milling machines can automatically complete complex processing tasks and improve production efficiency.
    • Flexibility: CNC milling can machine a variety of materials and handle complex shapes and sizes.
    • Repeatability: CNC milling is controlled based on a computer program, ensuring consistency every time.

    What are the applications of CNC milling?

    CNC milling has a wide range of applications in manufacturing, including aerospace, mold manufacturing, automobile manufacturing, electronic equipment and other fields. Used to manufacture various complex-shaped parts and components, such as engine parts, molds, circuit boards, etc.

    Different types of CNC milling machines

    There are many types of CNC milling machines, including vertical milling machines, horizontal milling machines, gantry milling machines, etc. Each of these different types of milling machines has its own characteristics and can be selected based on specific processing needs.

    How much does CNC milling cost?

    The cost of CNC milling varies based on a variety of factors, including equipment cost, machining complexity, material cost, and more.

    Generally speaking, CNC milling equipment is more expensive, but considering its advantages of high precision, high efficiency and high flexibility, it can bring higher economic benefits to enterprises in the long run.

    In addition, processing complexity and material costs also have an impact on the overall cost. Therefore, when choosing CNC milling, various factors need to be considered to determine the most appropriate solution.

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