Milling operations are operations in which the cutting tool rotates to bring cutting edges to bear against the work piece. Milling machines are the principal machine tool used in milling.

Metal Milling: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

This guide will take you through all the vital aspects of the metal milling process.

So, if you want to learn more about this metal machining process, read this guide.

What Is Metal Milling?

Metal milling is a process that involves cutting metals by removing different parts to get the desired design.

To achieve metal milling you will need a multi-rotary cutter that enables the removal of material from the metal workpiece.

Metal milling involves a series of processes to come up with the desired design of the metal work piece. The shape, size, hole diameter, and surface finishing are all different depending on the designs you provide to us.

Metal milling differs in the type of metal material, toughness, hardness, and also resistance to wear and tear.

What Are The Different Methods Of Metal Milling Available?

Metal milling involves a series of processes before you arrive at the final desired design of the metal workpiece.

This process varies from conventional to non-conventional processes. Metal milling can be thermal by cutting milling, multi-point cutting, or use of abrasive milling.

Each of these processes requires different milling tools and also different techniques on the metal workpiece.

Metal milling of metals requires these processes to be performed as a sequence of actions to meet the features and design that has been requested.

The following are some of the available metal milling methods. They include;

Abrasive Metal Milling Method

This metal milling method normally uses an abrasive tool to remove materials from the metal workpiece.

As much as the abrasive method is meant to improve on the surface finishing of the metal workpiece.

It’s also suitable in forming features and shapes on the metal work piece.

Some of the common processes you will come around while using the abrasive method include; lapping, honing, and abrasive jet milling.

Chemical Milling Method

This method is mainly suitable if you looking for a metal milling process in large quantities. Ideally, the removal of materials through this process involves the use of electrochemical processes.

Additionally, it’s more suitable if you looking to mill metals from hard materials.

Thermal Milling Method

This method involves removing materials from the metal workpiece by the use of thermal energy.

This method normally includes three steps; torch cutting, electrical discharge milling, and high energy beam milling.

Note with this method there is no mechanical power that is needed to achieve metal milling.

Mechanical Milling Method

Mechanical milling involves two processes of milling the metal workpiece. We have single-point milling and multi-point milling.

Single point milling uses only a single sharped-edged cutting tool to remove the parts from the metal work piece.

For instance, turning is the most common process which applies the single-point cutting process.

The metal work piece during metal milling will be rotated and later fed into the cutter to remove the materials.

Multi-point cutting involves the use of multiple teeth to remove the materials from the metal work piece.

During metal milling, the rotating cutter works on the metal work piece to bring out the desired design and features.

Metal milling process

Metal milling process

What Are The Common Operations You Perform During Metal Milling?

Different operations will be performed on the metal work piece during the metal milling process using milling tools.

This operation results in achieving the desired design and different features on the metal work piece.

Some of the features that you can achieve during metal milling include Chamfers, Pockets, Slots, Complex contours, Flat surfaces.

The following are the most common operations performed during metal milling. They include;

  • Chamfer milling: Chamfer milling comprises of milling chamfer-like surfaces which you can remove the materials on the metal work piece. You can either perform the milling on a single chain of chamfered edge, single chamfered edge or single closed chamfered edge.

For instance, you can opt for chamfer milling on a metal milling feature such as pockets.

  • Face milling: In face milling, the cutting operations normally occur at the end walls on the metal milling cutter. The result of face milling is normally flat surfaces into the metal workpiece you are working on or cut flat-bottomed cavities.
  • End milling: The end milling operation produces flat surfaces which will either be horizontal or vertical. This operation is suitable while milling metal workpiece of variant materials to achieve different features such as contours, die cavities, and profiles.
  • Peripheral milling: Peripheral milling normally occurs around the circumference of the cutter during metal milling. This means the cross-section of the metal workpiece during metal milling will have the shape of the metal cutter.

It can be seen during the milling process while the cutter is removing materials from the metal work piece. This is one of the best metal milling operations if you looking to achieve deep slots, gear teeth, or threads on the metal workpiece.

How Does Face Milling Compare To Peripheral Milling In Metal Milling?

 Metal milling process

Metal milling process

Both face and peripheral milling are metal milling operations that enable the cutting and removal of materials on a metal workpiece.

This allows operations allows you to achieve the desired design and features on the workpiece.

In face milling, the primary operation occurs at the end of corners on the metal milling cutter.

This operation is ideally used to cut into the metal workpiece flat surfaces or even flat bottomed cavities.

For face milling, the metal milling cutter presses against the workpiece to remove the materials out.

On the other hand, peripheral milling in metal milling removes materials primarily around the circumference of the metal milling cutter.

The cutting tool on face milling is normally placed perpendicular to the metal workpiece but for peripheral, it’s placed in parallel.

In peripheral milling, the location of teeth is only on the peripheral position of the metal cutter while face milling is on both sides of the peripheral.

Peripheral milling can only be done on a horizontal spindle milling machine while face milling can be done on both horizontal and vertical millers.

Face milling is more suitable while removing less quantity of materials while peripheral milling is suitable while removing more materials from the work piece.

Unlike peripheral milling, face milling provides a better surface finishing on the metal workpiece.

In the face milling is normally completed by the axis that is perpendicular to the metal milling cutter.

While for peripheral milling, the cutting is completed by the teeth of the metal milling cutter.

In face milling cutting is accomplished by peripheral teeth and teeth on the face of the cutter hence resulting in a surface finishing.

While for peripheral milling can be used in milling metal surfaces which is already formed depending on the axis contour of the metal milling cutter.

What Is The Difference Between Conventional Milling And Climb Milling In Metal Milling?

Climb metal milling

Climb metal milling

Convectional and climb milling are both techniques operations performed during metal milling.

The main distinguishing factor between these two techniques is in direction of the metal milling cutter while it’s rotating to the metal workpiece.

With conventional milling, the cutter rotates against the direction of the metal workpiece feed.

While for climb milling, the cutter normally rotates with metal workpiece feed.

Climb milling is the most recent suitable technique because it comprises of backlash or backlash eliminator.

This is different in convectional milling as does not contain a backlash making it more of a traditional technique than a modern one.

With conventional milling, the chip width starts from zero increasing to a maximum which results in more heat.

This heat will diffuse into the metal workpiece resulting in work hardening.

Climb milling the chip starts from maximum decreasing to a minimum which means less heat that will only penetrate the metal workpiece.

In climb milling, the removal of chips normally occurs at the back of the cutter thus reducing the chances of re-cutting the materials.

While for conventional milling the chips move upward with the help teeth which means they fall in front of the cutter.

This results in the re-cutting of the chips and the formation of a marred finish.

In conventional milling, the metals are prone to wearing out which means less shelf life as a result of increased metal rubbing.

In climb milling, metal milling results in the cleaner shear plane which rubs less increasing the life of the metal workpiece.

In conventional milling, the upward forces as a result of horizontal milling tend to lift the workpiece.

This means more intricate work is required to reduce the lift created.

In climb milling. Downward forces in horizontal milling will be created to hold down the metal workpiece.

This means less work is required especially when coupled with the downward forces.

What Kind Of Machine Is Used During The Metal Milling Process?

Metal milling is the process of removing materials from a metal workpiece.

To achieve this process, we use a metal milling cutter which is a rotary cutter containing different cutting points.

Metal milling cutters come in different designs with regards to the number and shape of teeth, features, and the designs of metal workpieces you require.

The metal milling cutter can either be;

  • Horizontal machine
  • Vertical machine
  • Drilling and milling machine
  • Universal machine
  • Handheld machine
  • Milling and engraving machine

Are All Metals Suitable For Metal Milling?

The question of which metal is suitable for metal milling is very common especially while deciding on which metal to choose from.

Different metals have different properties and it’s, therefore, important to first evaluate them before choosing one.

The most common metals we use during metal milling include;

  • Titanium
  • Aluminum
  • Copper alloys
  • Brass
  • Nickel
  • Steel

What Are The Benefits Of Metal Milling?

The metal milling process requires metal cutters to remove the unwanted material on the metal workpiece to get the desired design.

Opting for metal milling has immense benefits. They include

  • Reduced need for manual labor. With the advance in technology, the metal milling machines are automatic which means they are controlled by computers hence less manpower requirement.
  • Metal milling results in quality products after the metal milling process.
  • Low cost of production compared to the manual way of removing the materials on the metal workpiece.
  • It’s easy to produce the desired metal workpiece regardless of size, shape, features of the metal workpiece.
  • It’s easy to achieve quality and précising on the metal workpiece using metal milling.
  • Machines used during metal milling have a higher capability than manual machines.
  • During metal milling, it’s easy to achieve multiple cutting, which makes the metal milling process easier and faster.
  • Metal milling is more reliable. The metal milling process occurs consciously without failing regardless of the day.
  • Metal milling results in increased efficiency on the metal workpiece. Metal milling is one of the best ways we can guarantee efficiency on the metal workpiece. It improves the standard of the work piece while at the same time cutting down on the expenditure cost.
  • The final product after metal milling has very minimal errors despite the mass production process.

What Factors Should You Consider While Choosing Metals Used During Metal Milling?

Different metals used during metal milling have different features and properties.

It’s therefore important to best understand all these aspects before choosing which metal you want.

It’s important to consider the following factors. They include;

  • Resistance to wear and tear: Metals should have high resistance to wear even after exposure to varying heat.
  • Corrosion resistance: This increases the durability of the metal work piece even after metal milling.
  • The cost of the metals: the cost of metals varies different depending on metal properties and features. It’s therefore important to know what kind of metal you want and stick to the budget.
  • Strength of the metals: Metals used in metal milling should be strong to prevent any breakage during cutting to remove the materials.
  • Machinability: The materials used in metal milling should result in better surface finishing and longer metal life.

How Do You Achieve Precision And Accuracy During Metal Milling?

To achieve accuracy during metal milling we follow all specifications and measurements that have been given to us.

We ensure the cutter hits the right angle on the feed to remove the unwanted material chips.

We also ensure that the cutter hits if not directly but almost 3mm away from the set angle to ensure the metal is of high precision.

At Inox, we help you in all metal milling and die casting processes.

Contact us now for any inquiries and questions.

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