What You Need to Know About Milling

Some things can be used as they are, and other things need to be cut. This is true for wood, metal, and other hard surfaces that we’d think we’re stuck with the way they came. One of the coolest things about machining is the fact that you can get the same cut done in various ways.

What Is Milling?

Milling is when you use a machine with rotary cutters to cut away material. Large and small parts can be cut in this process. It’s so commonly used because it helps you make your parts precise. One of the most common machining tools is an end mill. End mills use the sides and the end of the cutter to allow pocketing and ramped cuts. These mills are used to create unique patterns and finishes. Two main types of milling include face milling and peripheral milling. No matter which type of milling you choose, your machine will probably need some type of milling machine coolant at some point.

What Makes Face Milling So Cool?

Face milling alone has various ways to get done. It all depends on what end result you need. If you need a flat or shiny surface, you’ll want to use face milling. Face milling is basically cutting perpendicular surfaces apart. This process of milling uses the very tip of the machine to cut the workpiece. In face milling, fly cutters and shell mills are the most common cutters used. You could also use an end mill if you need that type of result.

What’s the Difference Between Shell Mills and Fly Cutters?

Shell mills will give you a consistent finish and they are the go-to mill type for high quality face milling. They are good for handling most materials. They can be counted on for a quality surface finish at a high speed. The fly cutter will allow a fine finish but without all the horsepower. A fly cutter will use a single insert and work slower, but the result is a very uniformed surface finish.

What’s the Goal in Peripheral Milling

Peripheral Milling places the cutter parallel to the workpiece. During this form of milling the cutter’s sides are grinding away the workpiece top. In peripheral milling is best at chipping away huge pieces of material. Use peripheral milling for your applications that require a deeper cut or bigger scoops of material.

How to Do the Best Milling Job?

Always consider your spindle’s horsepower and the stability of your tool. You don’t want to overload your shell mill using a tiny spindle. If you plan to cut hard metal such as steel, then you should probably use a shell mill. The fly cutter can handle the job, but it will take a bit longer. For your softer materials like aluminum, you can go ahead and use the fly cutter to get great results. Don’t try to face mill over slots or holes unless you reduce your feed rate. Also remember to position the cutter off-center from your workpiece for the slimmest chip at the cutter’s exit. You’ll be happy to see a finer finish and cleaner cut that way.