Computer driven mills or lathes are helpful to produce thousands of parts at a time in a more precise manner. CNC mills are ideal to produce repeating same parts with same operation pattern.
Work in a CNC mill will be carried over in three Phases.
1. Program Phase
Everything starts with the draft design the programmer has. Acceding to that draft finalized after editing, the programmer has to select most fitting cutting tool. With CAD, he checks entire process. Then, he turns out the drawing or draft into a program formatted accordingly to CNC. After several checkups and testing, a programmer will feed that program to the machine to which he has prepared programming.
2. Setup Phase
The next stage is to set up CNC as per the program. Various parts are checked and the engineer who sets up the CNC machine will check up whether it is securely clamped and all other parts are in its place. He has to feed the necessary data into the system; what axis to be used and what kind of tools to be used. Any modification in the program to match, the data is done at this stage. Checking whether the machine is able to produce the parts according to the standards prescribed by the client must be done before starting the machining process.
3. Operation Phase
During this final stage, the operator receives proper instructions on how to handle machining. He has to run, gauge and check whether everything is within the programmed specifications. He has to measure parts using various tools. In case, any replacements are needed, it must be done at this stage.
CNC Mills for Woodwork
For large scale productions, top companies produce complete CNC mills and lathes to enable prototyping and machining. One such usage is woodwork milling machine. Carpenters and craftsmen who used to create artworks in wood with chisel and hammer can now easily create numerous products within a short period utilizing these milling machines. A Highly skilled art form of woodworking has seen great advantage with the introduction of these Computer driven machines.
CNC millings possess specially designed cutting tools which can produce very subtle designs in wood. Complete production can be performed with relevant software without the need for manual supervision. Moreover, the ability to direct router for various motion directions has provided the necessary flexibility for woodworkers. They can very easily instruct these programs in a step by step manner and can produce any type of art piece that is in their imagination with much ease.
In olden days, woodworkers have to work laboriously for many months and years to produce their art pieces. However, they can be produced within days using milling machinery. The only work required by woodworkers is to setup machines and software programs initially. Software programs are for converting ideas into machine handled job. They translate designs into practice. This helps woodworkers to double or triple manufacturing process.
Like the sample, we saw above, there are varieties of machines that can be used in producing different sorts of material like metal, glass, wood, stone, lathe and more. With each of the machine types, numerous parts can be produced. They are very easy to maintain. These can also differ in sizes. From small, compact desktop model to large gigantic industrial models are there to handle. Entire setup of machining depends on the work piece, tool and machine. Movement of the work piece is relative to the tool, whereas extra parts of the piece in accordance with given blue print or draft will be removed by the tool simultaneously.
Main parts of CNC milling machineries are head and table.
- Head: It holds the tools in place. Along with the motor it moves tools up and down. The movement is on z axis and motor spins the tools. Resulting speeds can be controlled easily.
- Table: Handwheels turns the table in x-y axis and this in turn places materials under the head or against the cutting tool.
They can be categorized according to their axis. X and Y axis denote horizontal movement, where as Z denotes vertical movement. Normal milling machines have four axis such as table X, table Y, table Z, Milling Head Z. Advanced machines have five and six axis attached to these machines.
Some common milling machines that are in use today are vertical milling machine that cuts vertically, horizontal milling machine with cutting tool at 90 degrees to the table, combination machines that can handle both, column mill with vertically positioned cutting tool and Bridgeport milling machine with motion spindle making it the most flexible type of all.
Benefits of using CNC milling machines:
- Business Expansion: Increased production combined with less wastage has opened doors to further business expansion. Non-stop milling is possible. Business owners can easily venture into large scale production.
- Possibility of Advanced CNC Milling: There is wide scope for innovative ideas and experiments with CNC Mills. Advanced machining centers can be set up with the latest technology to perform challenging jobs. Some of the advanced features include swing arm automatic tool change (ATC), touch screen integration, highly effective chip management and much more.
- A Competition made easy: These machines have spared owners attention on production. Instead, they can concentrate on marketing and sales. However, CNC Mills are widely used by all standard manufacturers. To stay on top they need to outsmart their competitors. This condition has created many innovative products and concepts.
- Safety and Standards: This atmosphere provides utmost convenience to operators. They need not bend, crouch and do any dangerous jobs. There is very less opportunity for the operators to have direct contact with machines. CNC Mills are ergonomically designed and hence they are good for working long hours.Decrease in Production cost: Unnecessary wastage is completely avoided. Production time is decreased and the number of products manufactured is increased. This definitely leads to a considerable reduction in the production cost.
- Increased customer confidence: Usage of these machines easily increases the confidence among customers. Becoming a reliable, trustworthy and effective company is possible only when advanced machines like CNC mills are used.
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