Milling Machine Operations | Complete Guide | The Engineers Post

Milling Machine Operations The Complete Guide

Milling machine operations

This full article is about milling machine operations. If you haven’t read our complete article on milling machine you can read now by clicking here.

Let’s starts with some little introduction about milling machine.

A milling machine is a machine tool that cuts metal as the workpiece is fed against a rotating multipoint cutter. The cutter rotates at a very high speed because of the multiple cutting edges, it cuts metal at a very fast rate. This machine can also hold single or multiple cutters at the same time.

This is why a milling machine has wide application in production work. This is better to other machines as regards accuracy and better surface finish. And also it is designed for machining a variety of tool room work.

Want to know more about milling machine than read our popular article on 15 different types of a milling machine.

Types of milling machine operations

Following are the 15 different types of milling machine operations.

  1. Plain Milling
  2. Face Milling
  3. Side Milling
  4. Straddle Milling
  5. Angular Milling
  6. Gang Milling
  7. Form Milling
  8. Profile Milling
  9. End Milling
  10. Saw Milling
  11. Milling Keyways, Grooves and Slot
  12. Gear Milling
  13. Helical Milling
  14. Cam Milling
  15. Thread Milling

1. Plain Milling

Plain milling operation

The plain milling is the most common types of milling machine operations. Plain milling is performed to produce a plain, flat, horizontal surface parallel to the axis of rotation of a plain milling cutter. The operation is also known as slab milling. 

To perform the operation, the work and the cutter are secured properly on the machine. The depth of cut is set by rotating the vertical feed screw of the table. And the machine is started after selecting the right speed and feed.

2. Face Milling

Face milling is the simplest milling machine operations. This operation is performed by a face milling cutter rotated about an axis perpendicular to the work surface.

Face miiling operation

The operation is carried in a plain milling, and the cutter is mounted on a stub arbor to design a flat surface. The depth of cut is adjusted by rotating the crossfeed screw of the table.

3. Side Milling

The side milling is the operation of producing of a flat vertical surface on the side of a workpiece by using a side milling cutter. The depth of cut is set by rotating the vertical feed screw of the table.

4. Straddle Milling

straddle milling operation

The straddle milling is the operation of producing of flat vertical surfaces on both sides of a workpiece by using two side milling cutters mounted on the same arbor. 

The distance between the two cutters is adjusted by using suitable spacing collars. The straddle milling is commonly used to design square or hexagonal surfaces.

5. Angular Milling

angular milling operation

The angular milling is the operation of producing of an angular surface on a workpiece other than at right angles of the axis of the milling machine spindle. 

The angular groove may be single or double angle and may be of varying included angle according to the type and contour of the angular cutter used. One simple example of angular milling is the production of V-blocks.

6. Gang Milling

gang milling operation

The gang milling is the operation of machining several surfaces of a workpiece simultaneously by feeding the table against a number of cutters having the same or different diameters mounted on the arbor of the machine.

The method saves much of machining time and is widely used in repetitive work. The cutting speed of a gang of cutters is calculated from the cutter of the largest diameter.

7. Form Milling

form milling operation

The form milling is the operation of producing of the irregular contour by using form cutters. 

The irregular shape may be convex, concave, or of any other shape. After machining, the formed surface is inspected by a template gauge. The cutting rate for form milling is 20% to 30% less than that of the plain milling.

8. Profile Milling

profile milling operation

The profile milling is the operation of reproduction of an outline of a template or complex shape of a master die on a workpiece. 

Different cutters are used for profile milling. An end mill is one of the widely used milling cutters in profile milling work.

9. End Milling

end milling operation

The end milling is the operation of producing of flat surface which may be vertical, horizontal or at an angle in reference to the table surface. 

The cutter used is an end mill. The end milling cutters are also used for the production of slots, grooves or keyways. A vertical milling machine is more suitable for end milling operation.

10. Saw Milling

saw milling operation

The saw-milling is the operation of producing of narrow slots or grooves on a workpiece by using a saw-milling cutter. 

The saw-milling also performed for complete parting-off operation. The cutter and the workpiece are set in a manner so that the cutter is directly placed over one of the T-slots of the table.

11. Milling Keyways, Grooves and Slots

Keyways milling operation

The operation of producing of keyways, grooves and slots of varying shapes and sizes can be performed in a milling machine. It is done by using a plain milling cutter, a metal slitting saw, an end mill or by a side milling cutter.

The open slots can be cut by a plain milling cutter, a metal slitting saw, or by a side milling cutter. The closed slots are produced by using endmills.

T-slot milling operation

A dovetail slot or T-slot is manufactured by using special types of cutters designed to give the required shape on the workpiece.

The second slot is cut at right angles to the first slot by feeding the work past the cutter.

A woodruff key is designed by using a woodruff key slot cutter. Standard keyways are cut on the shaft by using side milling cutters or end mills. The cutter is set exactly at the centre line of the workpiece and then the cut is taken.

12. Gear Cutting

Gear cutting milling operation

The gear cutting operation is performed in a milling machine by using a form-relieved cutter. The cutter may be a cylindrical type or end mill type. The cutter profile fits exactly with the tooth space of the gear.

Equally spaced gear teeth are cut on a gear blank by holding the work on a universal diving head and then indexing it. The gear cutting operation performed in a milling machine is described in chapter XII.

13. Helical Milling

helical milling operation

The helical milling is the operation of producing of helical flutes or grooves around the periphery of a cylindrical or conical workpiece. 

The operation is performed by rotating the table to the required helix angle. And then by rotating and feeding the workpiece against rotary cutting edges of a milling cutter. The usual examples of work performed by helical milling operations are

  • The production of the helical milling cutter, helical gears, cutting helical grooves or flutes on a drill blank or a reamer.

14. Cam Milling

The cam milling is the operation of producing of cams in a milling machine by the use of universal dividing head and a vertical milling attachment. The cam blank is mounted at the end of the dividing head spindle and an end mill is held in the vertical milling attachment.

The axis of the cam blank and the end mill spindle should always remain parallel to each other when setting for cam milling. The dividing head is geared to the table feed screw so that the cam is rotated about its axis while it is fed against the end mill.

The axis of the cam can be set from 0 to 90° in reference to the surface of the table for obtaining a different rise of the cam.

15. Thread Milling

The thread milling machine operations are used to produce threads by using a single or multiple thread milling cutter. Thread milling operation is performed in special thread milling machines to produce accurate threads in small or large quantities.

The operation requires three driving motions in the machine. One for the cutter, one for the work and the third for the longitudinal movement of the cutter.

When the operation is performed by a single thread milling cutter, the cutter head is swivelled to the exact helix angle of the thread. The cutter is rotated on the spindle and the workpiece is revolved slowly about its axis. The thread is completed in one cut by setting the cutter to the full depth of the thread and then feeding it along the entire length of the workpiece.

When the thread is cut by multiple thread milling cutter, the cutter axis and the work spindle are set parallel to each other after adjusting the depth of cut equal to the full depth of the thread. The thread is completed by simply feeding the revolving cutter longitudinal through a distance equal to the pitch length of the thread while the work is rotated through one complete revolution.


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