Why use CNC milling?
Besides CNC turning, CNC milling is one of the most popular custom manufacturing processes. CNC milling is used for the majority of machined parts because it can handle a wide variety of irregular geometries. It is also an efficient means of mass production once the setup is complete.
Different types of CNC milling
CNC mills are often defined by their number of axes. More axes mean they can move their tool and/or workpiece in a greater number of ways, giving greater cutting flexibility and the ability to make more complex parts in a shorter time.
3-axis: Standard CNC mills have 3 axes, allowing the spindle (and attached cutting tool) to travel along the X, Y and Z axes. If the cutting tool cannot reach an area of the part, the part must be removed and manually rotated.
4-axis: Some CNC mills incorporate an extra degree of movement by rotating on a vertical axis. This enables greater flexibility and the ability to create more complex parts.
5-axis: The most advanced type of widely used CNC mill is the 5-axis mill, which incorporates two extra degrees of movement, often by adding rotation to both the worktable and spindle. Parts usually don’t require multiple setups, since the mill can manipulate them into different positions.
Cutting tools for CNC mills
CNC mills can be fitted with different cutters / tools to enable different types of cutting. These include end mills, face mills, slab mills, fly cutters, ball cutters, hollow mills, roughing end mills and many others.