Machinery of all kinds from the most simple to the incredibly complex is made of parts. The parts themselves need to be of high quality to stand up to their use. They must also be precisely sized so that their machines run efficiently. Making these parts takes great skill and a little help from a milling machine.
A mill is a machine that rotates raw material, usually metal or wood. As the material turns, cutters are employed to shape the materials and get them to a specific size. Mills can also cut grooves, notches, and other designs in the material. The result is a part that can then be used for a specific purpose. Mills have been used since the late 18th Century. Modern milling machines are driven electrically and controlled by computers. These are known as CNC mills.
Types of Mills
There are several different types of machines used for replacement parts milling. There are two basic categories based on the orientation of the part being turned on the cutters. They are:
- Vertical Mill – A vertical mill has the spindle orientated vertically. The spindle can be lowered or the table raised, either of which will allow a deeper cut. In a turret mill, the spindle is fixed and the table can move parallel and perpendicular to the spindle to create the desired cut. A bed mill has a table that can only move perpendicularly to the axis while the axis itself can move parallel.
- Horizontal Mill – Just as the name implies, in a horizontal mill the spindle is mounted horizontally. Some of these mills have a rotary table that can be adjusted for milling at any angle. These are called universal mills.
Mills have been around for nearly 300 years. They have become more technologically advanced but still perform the same basic function.