Metal Milling Machine: Classification and Characteristics of Equipment

Metal Milling Machine: Classification and Characteristics of Equipment

From this article you can find out what features a metal milling machine that can be used in a home workshop has: technical characteristics of the equipment, classification of the tool and its application. The text briefly describes the capabilities of vertical and horizontal structures, table and manual type milling machines, as well as drilling-milling, engraving-milling and universal CNC machines.

Types of milling machines: photos and design features

For processing metal billets, milling machines are used. The tool in this category is very popular and is widely used in the field of metalworking. And you can buy a metal milling machine, not only for production purposes, but also as equipment for the home workshop.

Types of milling machines
Each type of metal machine has its own functions, scope and is selected for use in a certain direction.

An extensive range of milling tools is on sale. Almost all models of machines have the same device and work according to a single principle. Differences can affect only the functional side, which depends on the presence in the design of additional systems and nodal components.

Consumers can buy the following CNC milling machines for metal:

  • vertical
  • horizontal
  • drilling and milling;
  • desktop turning and milling machines for metal;
  • universal;
  • hand held;
  • milling and engraving.

The listed modifications are basic. Each type of equipment has its own characteristics and functionality.

Characteristics of vertical milling machines

Vertical constructions are a very common tool category. The equipment for a metal milling machine of this variety is represented by cutting elements of a cylindrical, shaped and end type. In addition, the equipment allows you to perform drilling operations.

Purpose of CNC vertical milling machines:

  • groove formation;
  • processing of frame parts;
  • gear manufacturing;
  • processing of corners, as well as horizontal and vertical metal surfaces.

The vertical type equipment due to its structure has a very rigid structure. Due to this, it becomes possible to perform processing of metal parts at a high level of quality. The gearbox is mounted on the spindle head.

There are two categories of vertical metal milling machines:

  1. Cantilever-milling.
  2. Unconsolidated.
Consoleless metalworking machines
Consoleless metalworking machines make it possible to engage in milling of vertical, horizontal and inclined surfaces

Note! In those designs where there is no console, the movement of the desktop is carried out due to the guides placed on the tool bed.

The machine, in the design of which there is a console, differs only in that its sleeve and spindle can move relative to the axis of the equipment. For the manufacture of parts of complex shape, 5-axis CNC milling machines are used. Such designs provide very high quality processing and savings. They can have built-in memory and the ability to connect to the Internet, as well as many other additional options. Some options have removable tables.

Features of horizontal milling machines

Horizontal designs are distinguished by the fact that the spindle has a horizontal character of placement in them. A tool in this category is used to process small metal parts.

The following types of metal milling cutters are used as equipment for horizontal structures:

  • shaped;
  • angular;
  • end;
  • face;
  • cylindrical.
The horizontal milling machine
The horizontal milling machine is a machine bed with a horizontal spindle on which the mill, gearbox and table are located

The standard equipment of a horizontal milling machine with CNC does not allow the processing of workpieces on a helical surface. To perform such an operation will require additional equipment.

Due to its structure, the horizontal tool allows you to set the counter top in different positions. The table can be perpendicular or parallel to the axis of the spindle. All nodal and working structural elements are mounted on the bed. A gearbox for adjusting the rotational speed of the spindle is located inside this section.

The specificity of metal drilling and milling machines

Drilling and milling equipment allows you to process both vertical and horizontal, and inclined surfaces. Using this tool, it is possible to form grooves of any modifications on large workpieces. The machine of this type is equipped with a drilling and milling head. It allows you to perform processing of surfaces placed at an angle with respect to the horizontal axis, and drilling operations at an angle.

metal drilling and milling machines
On drilling and milling machines it is possible to efficiently and accurately perform processing of parts with curved surfaces, to calibrate, to form holes

A distinctive feature of the bench-top drilling and milling machine for metal is its advanced functionality. The working head can operate in reverse mode. Due to its versatility, this unit can at the highest level perform such popular operations as drilling and milling.

Note! Due to its multifunctionality, a drilling and milling machine allows you to save money when buying, since a consumer in one design receives several useful and effective tools at once. In addition, universal equipment allows you to save working space in the workshop.

Characteristics of universal metal milling machines for the home workshop

The capabilities of universal machines will be useful for small private industries and workshops that specialize in mechanical and repair work.

Universal metal milling machines can perform processing of various objects:

  • vertical surfaces;
  • stamps;
  • horizontal planes;
  • spiral surfaces.
universal metal milling machines
The universal milling machine is designed to perform metalworking with cylindrical, face, end, shaped and other mills, as well as drills

Given the presence of a large number of functions, universal milling cutters differ from standard tools in some design features. Important components such as the gearbox, spindle assembly and other operating elements are located on the inside of the bed. The design of the tool provides for the presence of horizontal and vertical guides. They are designed to move the desktop and console.

In addition, the work surface can be further adjusted. This element can be installed at any convenient angle with respect to the spindle. Thanks to this, the operator has the opportunity to perform processing of any metal parts. Workpieces with a very complex configuration are no exception.

Features of desktop metal milling machines

Tabletop designs are compact in size. Thanks to what this type of equipment is suitable for the technical equipment of various objects:

  1. Home workshops.
  2. Workshops of small industries.
  3. Workshops in educational institutions.
desktop metal milling machines
A desktop milling machine with a sufficiently high functionality can be successfully used for processing workpieces from ferrous and non-ferrous metals

To perform operations such as forming holes, creating threads and machining parts, it is better to buy a desktop metal milling machine. It is easy to use and due to the presence of various milling cutters allows you to perform a wide range of work. The result is quite high accuracy, since the design of the tool is very rigid (subject to proper installation).

CNC benchtop metal milling machines have a high level of productivity, which makes it possible to use this type of equipment for manufacturing products in small serial lots. Despite a significant efficiency indicator and an extensive range of functionality, the tool consumes a small amount of electrical energy. In addition, the design has compact dimensions, so it can easily be installed in a workshop with limited free space.

Advantages of desktop designs over standard models:

  • light weight and compact dimensions;
  • simple operation system;
  • mobility;
  • low noise level;
  • affordable cost.
desktop designs over standard models
The workpieces that need to be processed on a desktop machine are fixed on its desktop, and the processing itself is performed by a rotating cutting tool – a milling cutter

Note! The size of the workpiece can not exceed the width of the table.

The specificity of metal turning and milling machines

On sale you can find turning equipment for the home workshop, which is able to provide a complete cycle of work for the manufacture of the necessary parts.

Turning and milling machines for metal are divided according to the accuracy class into the following categories:

  • normal accuracy;
  • high quality;
  • high precision machining.

Using the drawing for the manufacture of a particular part, it is necessary to indicate all tolerances for linear dimensions, as well as the degree of purity of processing. Desktop versions of the tool are practically no different from full-sized machines.

The specificity of metal turning and milling machines
Turning and milling machines for metal have a clear user interface that allows you to monitor production and quickly make changes to equipment settings

The most common types of metal milling cutters for this type of milling machine:

  • disk
  • face;
  • cylindrical;
  • end;
  • shaped.

To perform certain operations, the appropriate cutting nozzle is selected. CNC turning and milling machines are not able to process workpieces that are bodies of revolution. If shaped and flat surfaces will be used in the work, you will have to move the part in the necessary direction with respect to the cutting tool. The mill itself is capable of performing exclusively rotational movements.

Features of CNC machines for metal: milling and engraving tools

Milling and engraving equipment has many advantages when compared with standard metalworking tools. Thanks to the numerical program control, the processing of parts is very accurate and accurate. This advantage is especially advantageous in cases where the metal part has a complex configuration, because it is extremely difficult to achieve the same quality on a manual milling machine.

milling and engraving machine
CNC milling and engraving machine is designed for milling and engraving metal with small engravers and milling cutters, jewelry engraving products

Most often, such equipment is used at enterprises engaged in individual as well as small-scale production of products. The capabilities of the tool will come in handy in industries such as jewelry, furniture manufacturing and the manufacture of souvenirs. The assortment of the market for metalworking equipment allows you to choose a router with the necessary characteristics for cutting sheet metal and inscribing products.

Why is it profitable to buy a CNC milling and engraving machine:

  1. Simple service system.
  2. Extensive functionality.
  3. High quality metal processing.
  4. Reliability and durability.
  5. High rate of efficiency.

According to the type of design, the following varieties of milling machines are distinguished:

  • automatic constructions equipped with a head with three spindles and pneumatic clamp;
  • desktop milling machines with a mechanical method of clamping the workpiece;
  • automatic designs with pneumatic clamping of the workpiece.
the following varieties of milling machines
Rotating at high speed, the cutters process the material by cutting, drilling, cutting and engraving it in accordance with a given program under the control of the CNC operator

Note! Milling work on CNC machines allowed to reduce to almost zero the number of defective products in production.

Characteristics of mini-milling machines for metal

Mini-models designed for home workshops differ from industrial-type stationary structures in technical characteristics. The power level of such a tool usually does not exceed 400 watts. This is enough to perform high-quality processing of parts made of soft metals or to create products in small batches. If processing of workpieces made of steel or cast iron is required, the power of the tool should exceed 600 watts.

The dimensions of the countertops also differ. The maximum dimensions of the table, which are equipped with compact milling machines, are 65×25 cm, the minimum size is 35×15 cm. The parameters are selected taking into account the details that will be processed.

The level of productivity of a milling cutter, and also its ability to work with certain materials depends on rotational speed of a spindle. The harder the metal of which the workpiece is made, the lower the rotational speed should be. For soft alloys and aluminum, higher parameters are used.

Compact tabletop milling machine
Compact CNC tabletop milling machine

Metal milling machine: manufacturing technology

Vertical type constructions are the easiest to manufacture. Assembly requires a hand drill, a little time and effort. Work will require inexpensive and affordable parts. In addition, a home-made milling cutter can be endowed with additional functions and make a turning tool out of it.

To make a diy milling machine for metal with your own hands, the following materials and tools are needed:

  • channel;
  • square-section metal pipe;
  • welding machine;
  • diamond-shaped jack for a car;
  • metal corners;
  • angle grinder;
  • file;
  • metal pins for manufacturing axles;
  • drill;
  • collet or drill chuck;
  • thick plywood sheet;
  • Morse cone 2.
general view of the milling machine
a – general view of the milling machine, b – kinematic diagram. 1, 5 – guide rulers; 2 – gear sector; 3 – a mill; 4 – fencing; 6 – control panel; 7 – additional support for the spindle; 8 – bracket; 9 – handwheel lifting bracket; 10 – a flywheel of a tension of a belt; 11 – an electric motor; 12 – spindle; 13 – handwheel spindle height adjustment; 14 – bed; 15 – spindle speed switch; 16 – switch; 17 – table

DIY manufacturing technology for a metal milling machine

First, from a metal channel by welding, it is necessary to connect the column and the bed. The result should be a U-shaped design. The lower cross member will serve as the base for the machine. Guides designed for vertical movement of the console are made from a corner. It must first be sanded and attached to the column using bolted joints.

In order for the console to move vertically, a diamond-shaped car jack will be used. The distance in this case will be 10 cm. To create guides, it is required to insert pins with a screwed thread into a metal pipe with a square section. As a result, the counter top will be able to move back and forth within a segment equal to 9 cm, and the lateral amplitude will be 13 cm.

Helpful advice! Before assembling a home-made design, it will not hurt to get acquainted with the principle of operation and the arrangement of factory equipment, study the drawings and carefully prepare the details necessary for work.

The counter top is made of plywood sheet. For fixing, screws are used, the heads of which should be recessed. After that, you need to install a vise on the counter top. They can be home-made: the structure is welded from a pipe with a square profile and a metal corner, a pin having a thread must be passed through them. As fasteners for fixing the vise on the counter top, you can use self-tapping screws.

Next, a drill is fixed in the bed. This is done so that the spindle eventually looks down. Fixing is done by screw connection. For this, special jumpers must be welded for this. Then, the Morse cone 2 is attached to the spindle, followed by the installation of a collet or drill chuck on it.

On the obtained home-made machine, it is possible to process workpieces made of soft metals, for example, aluminum or bronze. In this case, the console moves during operation, while the milling cutter remains stationary. The design can be made in another way, so that the workpiece is fixed, and the router with the carriage moved. This will require an elevator.

Metal milling machine during assembly
Metal milling machine during assembly

How to make a lift for a homemade metal milling machine

Due to the lever or the lever, the elevator will move smoothly along the milling cutter. In this case, there is no direct contact of the wizard with the equipment. For this reason, it is advisable to accurately calculate in advance all the dimensions of the formed grooves and quickly perform a change of torches.

Elevator manufacturing technology:

  1. A plate is cut out of a piece of textolite and fixed on a countertop. It will be used as a support.
  2. Two racks are attached to the base plate. Be sure to make sure that they are parallel to each other.
  3. Racks will be used to move the carriage onto which the router is mounted. The movement will be provided due to the pushing mechanism.

Note! The design of the elevator should be stable and rigid. In the presence of even the slightest backlash, the processing operation may be disrupted and defects in the parts may appear.

The efficiency of processing metal parts is affected not only by the quality of the machine, but also by the coordinate table on which the workpiece is fixed. It is presented in the form of a flat plate and can have from 1 to 3 degrees of freedom. If you plan to process flat parts, it is enough that the table moves in a horizontal direction. Work with bulky products also requires vertical movement. The same applies to structures in which the drill is fixedly fixed.

The elevator allows you to quickly replace the cutting tool on a homemade machine
The elevator allows you to quickly replace the cutting tool on a homemade machine, as well as accurately verify the geometric parameters of the milled products

How to create a coordinate table with your own hands: the selection of materials and components

The design of the coordinate table can be moved by electricity, mechanics or CNC. As the material for the manufacture of the base, you can take aluminum, steel or cast iron. The choice depends on the weight of the workpieces that will be processed on the machine. The base of the aluminum frame is assembled and fixed due to threaded connections. The result is a simple and lightweight design, affordable.

Cast constructions are made of cast iron. They turn out to be very heavy, but they allow you to perform large production volumes. The molded structure is stationary mounted on the foundation.

It is better to make a bed of metal using a welding machine. It is very important to reduce the weld stress of the material by letting go. Otherwise, high rotational speed of the equipment will cause cracks. The table can be a portal (for flat products) or a cross (for three-sided processing of bulk workpieces).

In the manufacture of the coordinate table, special attention should be paid to the correct choice of guides, as well as the method of their fastening. For work, elements of a cylindrical or rail type are usually used. They have the ability to add a carriage and have already installed bearing assemblies.

Design and dimensions of the coordinate table
Design and dimensions of the coordinate table

When choosing guides, the type of drive should also be considered. If high precision is needed in the work, it is better to give preference to plain bearings. Rolling bearings are suitable to reduce friction, but they will create play.

Given the technical features of the carriage, two types of guides can be distinguished:

  1. With an oversized flange – the element is attached to the bottom of the table.
  2. Waferless – are fixed in the usual way through threaded holes.

For a home-made table, a ball screw (6-12 microns), a rack-and-pinion gear (up to 10 microns) or a belt drive (50-100 microns) can be used. Each of these systems has both advantages and disadvantages, so the choice depends on the type of work that will be performed on the machine. To increase the service life of all driving mechanisms, it is advisable to timely clean the nodal elements from debris and dust, as well as lubricate them.

Homemade coordinate table option
Homemade coordinate table option

In general, it is very simple to make a home router and a table for it. The main thing here is to take into account working conditions and comply with safety requirements. All mechanisms present in the design must correspond to each other in terms of parameters: service life, load, cooling and heating times. If these indicators coincide, in the process the tool will give good results. This requirement is of particular importance if the equipment for the home workshop is manufactured independently.


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