The advent of technology has given rise of computer numerical control machines, commonly known as CNC, for cutting metal and plastic tools. These automated machines allow greater reliability and control for producing customized tools on an industrial scale. Milling and turning are traditional cutting processes that have evolved into automated processes in the wake of CNC machines. If you are new to CNC and what it holds, here is a lowdown on the basics of CNC milling and turning.
What is CNC milling and turning?
CNC milling and turning are essentially automated cutting processes, each designed to carry out specific cutting tasks. Milling is an operation that is used to produce helical, flat surfaces with the help of milling cutters. Milling cutters contain rotating tools with multiple cutting edges, which move perpendicular to the axis of the milling machine.
Turning on the other hand is carried out in a lather machine. The process is used to reduce the diameter of a material. Unlike milling, the cutters in turning move parallel to the axis of the lathe machine.
Classification of CNC milling and turning
A milling center is also called a vertical machining center, which is used to carry out flat work that requires access to the tools from the top. A turning center on the other hand is also called a horizontal machining center, which is often used for cube-shaped parts. Other than those two, there is also the universal machining center. A universal machining center has a spindle axis that can swivel at horizontal or vertical angles, making it a very flexible machine tool. In fact, a universal machining center can carry out both CNC milling and turning.
Benefits of CNC milling and turning centers
While there are still manual machining tools available, CNC machining does come with its set of advantages that help you reduce time and cost of production. Here are a few features of CNC milling and turning centers that are worth mentioning:
- Automatic tool changing
Modern CNC machines can store anywhere between 16 to 80 cutting tools, which are changed automatically, with the help of program control that is fed into the machine. When the program senses that a tool needs to be changed, the rotary drum of the CNC machine rotates to the correct position, and the tool is swapped with a fresher one.
- Automatic work part positioning
Most CNC milling and turning centers come with the ability to place the work part relative to the position of the spindle. Thus, the rotary table that has the work part can be arranged at the desired angle to the vertical axis such that the cutters have access to the complete part all at once. This kind of automation helps in reducing production time.
- Automated pallet changers
Most CNC milling and turning machines come with two or more pallets, which allow you to unload the finished part comfortably and load the new part, all while another part is being cut. This kind of automation again helps in reducing production time considerably.
However, for CNC milling and turning to be beneficial, it is important that you get the following things right:
- You need a trained operator to handle the sophisticated machines. He should have thorough knowledge of machine code, and the mechanical aspects of how the machines function.
- It is imperative that you invest in quality cutting tools. Going for substandard tools isn’t going to help much, even with the reliability and accuracy of a computer program.
CNC milling and turning is used on a large scale for different small and large-scale industries. Visit this link if you want to know more information about the CNC milling and turning.