Milling machines are consists of important components called the mill tools. These are the ones used for cutting and are usually attached to the machine during the cutting process. The types of cutting tools are classified according to their shape and size. These cutting tools are further categorized depending on the rake angle and coatings. The process of cutting commences once the cutter started moving inside the machine.
For an effective cutting process, features of a milling cutter should be considered such as the flutes, shape, helix angle, center cutting, roughing, shank and coatings.
- Flutes. The milling cutter contains these deep helical grooves. There are sharp blades found at the edges of the flutes. The blades are what operators called the “teeth” and the ones responsible for cutting through a material.
- Shape. The cutter’s shape is what dictates the kind of cutting operation it can do. Many industries used standard shapes.
- Helix Angle. This is the one responsible for the angle by which a tooth enters a material. The angle also helps in reducing the cutting tool’s vibration.
- Center Cutting. It refers to the cutting tools orientation and it dictates whether the cutting tool can cut through the material or not.
- Roughing. This is another configuration of the milling cutter. It has serrated teeth which are used when materials need to be broke down to smaller pieces.
- Shank. The shank is the one that is attached to the milling machine. It is cylindrical in shape. The shank makes sure that the tool remains in place during the whole process.
- Coatings. The finish of the surface is improved by using coatings. An improved surface results to faster cutting and also helps in increasing the tool life.
The features enumerated above are responsible for the cutting tool’s performance. The type of cutting depends on the cutting tools used. There are many kinds of milling cutters such as ball nose cutter, slot drill, slab mill, fly cutter, face mill and many others.
- Slot Drill. This type of cutter can drill through the material. It is composed of two flutes and the tooth is located at the end face’s center.
- Ball Nose Cutter. This cutter is almost the same as the slot drill. The only difference is that a ball nose cutter’s end is hemispherical. This type of cutter is usually employed when making three dimensional shapes.
- Face Mill. It is used when the operation requires multiple tips. The tips, either disposable carbide or ceramic, are mounted on the body of the cutter.
- Slab Mill. For large, broad surfaces, quick machining can be done using slab mills.
- Fly Cutter. The fly cutter is composed of a single body wherein one or two tool bits can be inserted. The cutters may also be replaced.