A milling machine, simply stated, is a machine tool deployed to machine solid metals. The milling machine is a versatile device that can carve, drill and mill solid metal into a number of different products. Milling machines may be classified as belonging to two different types - horizontal and vertical depending on the main spindle. This means they cut solid material either horizontally or vertically.
However the fact remains that both types of milling machines come in varying sizes - from small, bench-mounted devices to gigantic machines occupying enormous floor space. Apart from size, milling machines come in different models - manually operated, mechanically automated, or digitally automated through Houston CNC Machine Shop (an acronym for Computer Numerical Control).
Milling machines are indeed versatile and capable of performing a variety of operations including simple jobs like slot and keyway cutting, planning, drilling to complex jobs like contouring and die sinking.
In a vertical milling machine the spindle axis is vertically oriented. The CNC vertical milling machines are computer controlled vertical mills capable of moving the spindle vertically along the Z-axis. This capability facilitates their use in die sinking, engraving applications, and 2.5D surfaces. They typically use a drill or cutting blade that is mounted to an arm that can move up and down and side to side.
Vertical milling machines have a cutting blade that is vertically positioned over a table. The cutting blade points directly down to the surface of the metal that needs to be cut. This cutting blade moves vertically while the table suitably moves below it to position the metal. This allows different parts of the object to be cut, drilled or carved away by the cutting tool.
A CNC vertical milling machine is any machining operation with a computer controlled power tool using a vertically orientated tool bit. These CNC machines usually have multidimensional work planes moving both the cutting head and work piece around to finish the job on hand.
The machines are driven by CAD (computer aided design) programs which control bulk of the functions needing negligible operator input and accomplish perfect accuracy. The key issue about these machines is their software features. The software should use simple program with minimal supervision and the software should also be compatible with standard computers.
As CNC machining are programmed and predominantly controlled by computer, they need only very short set up times and have the flexibility to run batches from one offs to several thousands. Normally, a cutting operation entails regular tool change. But, latest CNC machine models contain swing arm ATC (Automatic Tool Changer) which perform tool changing process faster than older models that have umbrella type of ATC.
With the steadily declining price of computers as also the open source CNC software, the entry price of CNC machines has become increasingly affordable. Most suppliers of CNC vertical milling machine may not include cutting tools in their quotes and hence you need to buy them separately. If you are planning to purchase CNC vertical milling machines for your workshop, study the feature of the machine carefully and request quotations from reputed and reliable machine suppliers.