Milling and Turning on 5 axes, 7 axes or more
Machining is an industrial production process in which the excess material is removed from a block of raw material large enough to contain the entire final product, with the assistance of machining equipment, such as lathes or milling machines, to the level of precision of up to one thousandth of a millimeter. In the process of removing the excess materials use is made of special tools (drills, milling knifes, saws and so on) that are connected to the previously mentioned machines. These tools are of different shapes intended for diverse uses and many kinds of raw materials. The processes are determined with the aim of conserving resources and saving time, while maintaining the quality of the surface and required precision. Industrial engineers have the task of finding a compromise between the various factors.
The action of the lathe, known as “turning”, involves the removal of material with the assistance of the blade of the lathe, which spins around the raw material. Operation of the lathe can be manual or computerized – CNC (Computer Numerical Control). This procedure is used to process symmetrical items on an axis. The processed materials can be metals, wood or various plastics.
The milling machine is a machining instrument used for precise processing of flat and shaped surfaces. Milling is the most common method of machining, and is used for processing almost all geometric shapes. The actual implement used in this process is the milling cutter. Contrary to turning, the milling cutter rotates on its spindle, while the item being processed approaches it (except for the horizontal direction, Z). Milling cutters are available in two basic configurations: horizontal and vertical according to the orientation of the spindle.
Basic mulling machines allow for movement on three axes (X, Y, Z), however there are milling machines with a single rotation axis, as well as with two or more.
In industry it is usual to differentiate between two types of machines:
1. Conventional milling machines – machines that for the most part are manually operated.
2. Digitally controlled (NC/CNC) milling machines – the operation of which is performed without the intervention of the worker. There are machines on the market that are capable of processing on four or five axes.
There are different types of milling machines for various purposes, among them:
1. Disk mill - for cutting purposes.
2. Rod mill– for cutting and finishing or for deep grooves.
3. Roughing end mill – for rough removal of shavings.
When processing to a special shape is required, it is possible to use a non-standard shaped mill.