CNC Milling Explained
The first step to answering the question, “What is CNC milling?” is to take a step back and define milling itself. To a layperson not involved in the manufacturing or technical world, milling may bring to mind the process of grinding grain to make flour. In modern production, milling involves cutting or grinding different types of material to create a part or workpiece needed for a product or machine.
Computer Design of Part Models
The first step in any custom CNC milling process is the computer-aided design (CAD) of the part itself. Professional designers use a variety of computer programs to create three-dimensional models with all necessary features and measurements. This information is digitally fed into the Premium Parts milling machines that will rely on the computer numerical control to move the parts as necessary to complete the project.
With high-quality designs, Premium Parts can deliver excellence when it comes to satisfying client or end-user needs. If any of the measurements or instructions are off, the mill will not create a usable piece. It will deliver exactly what the designer creates whether it is good or not.
The capabilities of the parts design and production process involve many different structural changes. While you would not use a CNC milling machine to drill a basic hole through a piece of metal or acrylic, it can do that as part of the overall process. Drilling holes and shaped slots are simple. Grinding out larger sections, creating curves, threads, asymmetrical shapes, and milling highly complex three-dimensional structures are all possible and quite commonplace.
CNC Milling Machine Options
Unlike other parts creation processes like 3D printing, CNC milling machines subtract material from a block or sheet until the desired peace remains. This subtractive method is done using multiple types of cutting tools and surfaces that can rotate, revolve, tilt, and slide. Machines are frequently designated as horizontal, vertical, or multi-axis milling.
• Horizontal – The cutting tool moves in from one or both sides.
• Vertical – A tool presses against the mounted material much like a drill press.
• Multi-axis – Tools come from top, sides, and on diagonal axes, as needed for more complex parts milling.
Besides the configuration of the cutting tools and materials, CNC milling operations also differ based on the type of cutting or material removal they do. These methods include surface, face, form, or angular milling.
• Surface – Material is cut away from the surface with a tool parallel to the part.
• Face – Material is removed using a perpendicular tool on one side.
• Form – Removing material in curves and contours using bespoke tools.
• Angular – Create grooves and joins using angled tools from different sides.
How the material gets held and the cutting or milling method both matter extensively when it comes to delivering the precise part created by the computer-aided design process. However, two other criteria go into a custom CNC milling job. These include how the material is mounted to the machine and held securely in place, and how the tools are changed during workpiece creation.
Of course, it is of the utmost importance that the material never shifts or vibrates excessively during the milling process. This would create discrepancies in the measurements of the plan and the final piece. CNC machines do not usually hold the material, and thus the finished part, on a spindle. They are instead held with a variety of vices and clamps or custom-made fixtures designed and created on one of these machines itself.
Some milling machines require manual tool changes between different parts of the milling procedure. One cutting tool does its job, the machine is stopped, a person changes to a new machine, and the work continues. Others use automatic tool changers that are set up ahead of time with all the necessary choices needed to complete a particular workpiece project. This is, of course, more convenient and hands-off.
Premium Parts Handles All CNC Milling Materials
The flexibility of our CNC milling services allows for use with a wide variety of different materials. These include metals like aluminum, bronze, copper, stainless steel and steel alloys, titanium, and more. It is also used frequently with many types of plastic like PVC, Teflon, acrylic, nylon, and those reinforced with other fibers and composite materials.
We have production capability for any material you need for your parts. Almost any solid will work with the right CNC milling machine, and Premium Parts has the equipment to back up our promises.
CNC Milling Services Offered
Once you understand, “What is CNC milling?” you recognize the vast array of options that Premium Parts offers available to a wide variety of companies that need metal, plastic, and other material parts. The omnipresence of computer-aided design in all industries makes the associated parts creation process an obvious choice. We provide extreme precision, a high degree of quality control, and the essential ability to repeat the process over and over without deviating from the initial design. We can help you change the design and make new workpieces or parts as needed.
With the custom CNC milling capabilities of Premium Parts, your company gets exactly what it needs to stay productive, efficient, and focus on your own exceptional quality control standards. We can deliver any size, shape, or configuration specific to your needs.