Comprehensive Guide to CNC Mills

Horizontal CNC Milling MachineryA milling machine is used when a detailed design is required to be cut into a certain type of material.

A special rotating tool is used and it moves back and forth, cutting thick layers into the material with each pass.

A CNC (computer numerically controlled) milling machine has the ability to cut 3D objects.

What to look for when considering purchasing a CNC mini mill – some features include:

  1. FRAME. The material the frame is built from will determine the overall strength of the unit. Aluminum is commonly used in the construction of mini mill frames.
  2. SPINDLE. The spindle for large CNC mills for sale are usually pre-determined, but for a CNC mini mill, you need to consider the motor size, and the minimum/maximum speed, as this will determine how fast the spindle will spin.? Regarding the spindle, accuracy is always more important than speed.
  3. WORKHOLD. The “workhold” is what is going to hold the material securely to the CNC mini mill machine table during the cutting process to ensure accuracy. To save on costs, you can use clamps that you currently have in your workshop.? Although, it is recommended to invest in a quality vise that has a deep and wide jaw. To avoid the material shifting ever so slightly, and not achieving the end result you intended.
  4. The CONTROLLER connects to the computer. The control panel is considered to be the heart of the machine. Check for software compatibility, or look for a computer that is pre-configured. A pre-configuration may be a more costly option, but may be worth it, when compared to time (and possible frustration) invested by non-computer savvy operators.
  5. Choosing the right SOFTWARE package is going to weigh heavily on the types of projects you plan to create. Choose a software package that has a “tool-path” feature, as this will not only provide you with the time it will take to complete the job – but it also provides you with a visual virtual walk-through of the milling process before the actual cut is made.

Choosing the right type of software package

CNC mini mill machinefor your benchtop mill or CNC mini mill machine is very important. This is an area that you must dedicate a lot of research. You want to choose the best software to meet the needs of the project.

Also, you want to look for software that will not become outdated, before you take it out of the box. Before purchasing CNC milling machine software, ask about the cost and availability of upgrades.

In addition to the CNC mini milling machine and benchtop CNC mills, the other types of CNC mill machines for sale include:

  1. Vertical CNC mills are highly recommended for vertical drilling work.
  2. A Horizontal CNC mill machine has the cutter running horizontally along the table.
  3. A Box Mill is perfect for a hobbyist/non-professional operator.
  4. The C-Frame Mill is the type of machine found in large factories, and industries that need to produce high quality product at a fast rate.
  5. There is also the Knee Mill, which is known for its X-Y table feature.

Besides the control panel, other main features of CNC mill machines, whether it be a benchtop CNC mill or a CNC mini mill machine include:

  1. Coolant Tube.? During the metal milling process, the machine and the material both become very hot. Coolant is pumped though tubes, to not only keep material cool, but also to lubricate the machine/tool to ensure a smooth cut.
  2. The Table is the flat surface that supports the material. The wood, metal or plastic piece is clamped to the table.
  3. Axis. CNC milling machines can have 1 to 6 axis.
  4. The Column runs parallel to the axis and holds the milling part in place.

The Cutting Tool is attached to the column, and this obviously is the instrument that actually does the cutting.

Choosing the Right Benchtop CNC Milling Machine

benchtop milling machineMilling machines have the ability to accomplish many different tasks because the heads can be changed depending on the type of material being cut and the desired shape of the end results. For instance, if the tool bit is not strong enough to cut through a workpiece (steel for example), the machine may be damaged.

On the other hand, if the bit is too strong for softer material (like wood), the workpiece is at risk for damage.

New a Used Milling Machine Basic Parts & Usage

A “cutter” is the most basic tool bit used with a benchtop milling machine, and it is used to cut and shape many different types of material. The cutter is attached to an arbor (also known as a mandrel), which securely holds the cutter firmly in place.

This versatile machine is used in many types of manufacturing shops. A milling machine can be operated manually, mechanically or digitally (via a CNC – computer numeric control panel).

Types of Benchtop Milling Machines

A manual milling machine usually delivers more precision, and is portable and lightweight, which makes it perfect for smaller jobs. Even large companies have a manual version of a milling machine as they are the perfect tool for creating prototypes and completing any light duty work. In addition, manual benchtop milling machinery is usually inexpensive.

Milling machines are usually classified as either vertical or horizontal position (and this simply refers to the orientation of the main spindle).

The recent models of benchtop milling machines are digital, and use CNC technology that requires very little user intervention. CNC milling machine operators still need to be properly trained, to ensure that the machine is operating correctly, and how to input the data and program the computer software.

A benchtop CNC milling machine (also referred to as a “machining center”) is fed specific instructions, via a computer, on how, when and where to cut. This type of machine is more costly and sophisticated than a manually operated milling machine, but CNC milling machines are great for businesses that need to create large volumes of the same type of product.

Bench Top Milling Practical Application

benchtop cnc milling machine in actionA bench top milling machine resembles a drill press in appearance, but unlike the limitation of a drill press (which you will have to keep the material stable), a bench top milling machine has the ability to move the workpiece toward the cutter.

Milling machines are used in a variety of industries including, but not limited to: graphic design, gun making, agricultural design and food

Some items that are milled using bench top or other models of machinery include:

  • After being casted, car engine blocks are then precisely milled by machine.
  • Prior to assembly, a car engine head is also milled.
  • Pistons, values, camshafts and some customized items will also pass through a milling machine.
  • Gears and other intricate machine parts.
  • Scale models.
  • Musical instruments.
  • Firearms.

Benchtop milling machines are used in many different types of operations, in addition to having the ability to drill and bore through many types of material.

There is such a wide variety in the size, cost and ability of milling machines, so it is advised that you determine how the machine will be used and to take into consideration, what is your price range. Used milling machines will offer the lowest prices on initial investment, and many work as efficiently as new versions.

Comparing Vertical Millers To Horizontal Millers

Vertical MillerThe first vertical milling machine was developed in the 1930’s as the Bridgeport style vertical miller. This Bridgeport style miller is also known as a knee miller or turret mill. Horizontal millers were created much earlier; first introduced around 1818. The new vertical design placed more importance on versatility and economy over higher speed metal removal rates offered by horizontal milling machines.

This versatility has made vertical millers the most prevalent design of milling machine in existence today. Horizontal millers are typically reserved for milling operations where duplicate parts are being created and when high metal removal rates are required.

Advantages Of The Vertical Miller

Vertical type millers offer many advantages over the older horizontal style milling machines. First, it’s important to understand the features that distinguish a vertical miller from the rest.

Key features of vertical millers include:

  • Sliding arm or rams, which allow movement of the work piece toward and away from the vertical column.
  • Knee and column support for the machine work table, which enables vertical movement of the workpiece in relation to the milling tool.
  • The spindle, motor and drive pulleys are held by a one piece tool head.
  • Saddle designed to support the work table and to enable movement of the workpiece toward and away from the vertical column.
  • Some milling machines offer the ability for the tool head to be tilted front to back or side to side.

An important advantage of the mechanical vertical miller is the retractable quill, which moves in and away from the cutting tool without need for cranking the work table up and down. This increases productivity and milling efficiency by reducing operator fatigue. Movement of the work table is still possible for making adjustments, however.

The next advantage is the vertical machine’s ability to easily make angle cuts. Horizontal milling machinery must either have the spindle made at an angle or the work piece must be positioned at the appropriate angle. Vertical millers have an adjustable table that can simply be tilted by the operator to cut at any angle.

Vertical millers are much simpler in design than horizontal machines. The one piece cutting tool eliminates the need for additional gearing inside the vertical column.

Advantage Of Horizontal Millers

The main advantage of the horizontal type miller is that they are much more rigid and can use cutting tools which remove more metal in less time. Vertical machines must use smaller tools which can accomplish the same results, but at a slower rate of speed. These smaller tools do, however offer more precise cuts, which is advantageous for production of small or intricate parts.

A horizontal miller can quickly and efficiently create duplicate parts and parts that require the removal of a lot of material. In this way, horizontal milling machines are more cost effective to use than milling with vertical machine tools. For this reason, horizontal millers are commonly used to mill large automotive components.

Newer milling machines are integrated with CNC or computer numerical controls making both styles of millers much more efficient and precise. The main differences are still the same, which is why vertical milling machines are used for their versatility and precise milling applications.? Horizontal millers are commonly used for milling of large parts and duplicate part milling applications.

The 2013 Toshiba Horizontal Milling and Boring Machine – Ascension Industries

Horizontal Milling and Boring Machines – Ascension Industries

Ascension Industries offers high quality turnkey manufacturing, machining and fabrication services with an array of top-of-the-line machine tools including two overhead 50-ton cranes.

In order to meet the needs of customers in the aerospace, metal-working, defense, automotive, turbo compressor, process equipment and automation industries, it’s important to have top notch machining centers and other machine tools.

For this reason, Ascension Industries recently decided to add the new Toshiba BF-130B horizontal milling and boring machine to their arsenal and replace the current Union machines throughout their facility.

More About Ascension Industries

Based in New York, Ascension Industries was founded in 1956. The provide high quality tooling, machining, automation systems and similar manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers and other precision metalworking capable users.
Over the years they have prospered and expanded to offer their services to users of machinery and fabrication equipment as well as OEM customers.

They currently operate in a 170,000 square foot manufacturing area fully equipped with dual overhead cranes making nothing too big or too small to be manufactured here. They offer additional services as well including filtration and separation, electrical, grinding, machining, and more.

The company’s goal is to work with clients and provide full support from their initial idea all the way to the final installation by providing immediate complementary technical assistance, supplying of all materials, tooling, machining, fabrication, assembly, inspection and testing to the user’s specifications.
Ascension Industries not only provides a variety of extremely valuable services, they are also manufacturers of their very own equipment lines. They are the sole manufacturer of genuine FSD, Durco/Duriron, AquaCare, and Enzinger brand equipment and replacement parts.

Toshiba BF-130B Horizontal Milling and Boring Machine Specs

? Maximum Travel: X Axis – 236” / Y Axis – 118”
? Maximum Travel Speed: Rapid positioning of X & Y Axis of up to 393” per minute
? Maximum Machining Speed: 160” pre minute
? Automatic Tool Changer: Holds up to 60 tools
? Computerized Numerical Controls: TOSNUC 999 CNC system including extensive

There are several new features included in this newest model of milling and boring machine from Toshiba that will not only enhance productivity, but also allow the company to handle jobs too big for their other machines to handle.
New Features:
? Increased spindle feed rate and speed
? Quill type spindle provides easy work piece access
Possibly the most amazing new feature is the ability to put a signal point tool in the spindle and actually create a 118″ diameter bore or turn grooves like you would on a lathe. For Ascension Industries, this is the single most important new feature of the new Milling and Boring Machine.
The combination of Ascension Industries more than 50 years of machining, production, and fabrication expertise in conjunction with their new Toshiba BF-130B Horizontal Milling and Boring Machines makes a truly unbeatable pair in the manufacturing industry.