In this post, I will break down the 7 major types of milling machines, show you what they do well, and what are the main used of it. After reading, you will have a solid idea about all types of milling machines and their usage. And more importantly, this post will help you understand which milling machine is best for you and your needs. Let's dive in.
Types of Milling Machines
Here is the list of most common types of milling machine used in manufacturing workshops:
- Vertical milling machine
- Horizontal milling machine
- Universal milling machine
- Dro milling machine
- CNC milling machine
- Tracer Controlled Milling Machine
- Omniversal milling machine
Vertical milling machine
Vertical milling machine is a machine tools commonly used in workshops to create slots, grooves, and flat surfaces in working pieces. The machine comes with vertically aligned spindle with worktable and you can move the spindle up or down according to your requirement.
Mostly vertical milling machine comes with manual control but some manufacturer embeds computer numerical control with it. You can use vertical milling machine to perform machining operations on metals, woods, and plastics.
Unlike horizontal milling machine, vertical milling machine does not require Arbor.
Horizontal milling machine
Also known as plain milling machine, a horizontal milling machine is the most popular type of milling machine of all time. It comes with the spindle positioned horizontally with worktable of the machine. This machine will give you the freedom to use various milling cutters to perform machining operations such as faces, slots, gear cutting, and groves in all type of materials. And, it is widely used by woodworkers and manufacturing industries.
You can feed the workpiece in three different ways by sliding the worktable in vehicle, cross, and longitudinal direction
Universal milling machine
Universal milling machine is an advance version of the horizontal milling machine in which you get a worktable with 45° swing on both axes. This additional feature gives you an extra axis as compared to the horizontal milling machine.
The universal milling machine is capable of performing almost any type of milling operations including helical milling operation. It can also perform all the machining operation a shaping machine can perform. So, when you buy a universal milling machine you eliminate the requirement of shaping machine.
Now days, many manufacturers and tool rooms use this milling machine to produce a milling cutter, reamer, twist drill, spiral, bevel, spur, and much more parts.
Dro milling machine
Shortly known as Digital Readout, a DRO milling machine is a special purpose milling machine that comes with a numerical display that is mounted on a universal type milling machine. It is designed for grinding and milling process.
The DRO milling machine comes with 3-axis that will provide you DRO to both the X & Y points of the mill plus the Z axis position of the cutting tool. This machine is mostly used for mass production in different milling industries.
CNC milling machine
As the name suggest, this is a modern CNC type milling machine that comes with a computer numeric control. It is mostly used to remove material from the workpiece.
The main purpose of the CNC milling machine is to increase production and to reduce the operation time.
Tracer Controlled Milling Machine
A traced controlled milling machine is a reverse engineering type of milling machine that can easily replicate or reproduce the prototype part without any coding. It comes with a tracing head mounted on the cross rail which is used to trace the dimension of the model parts.
You have to put the prototype under the probe and scan its surface manually. As you scan, the spindle on the other side of the machine will follow the same coordination and cut the workpiece.
This machine is mainly used for machining cams, grooves, contoured surfaces, die sinking, and reproducing of dies etc.
Omniversal milling machine
This is a customized horizontal milling machine. It consists of two spindles, one of which is in horizontal plane, as other is carry through a universal swivelling head. Latter can set in a vertical point and swivelled up to 45° on equally sides. Knee of this machine can too be swivelled in horizontal plane, therefore enable it to perform a large number of operations
In addition to the table movements obtained in a universal milling machine, the knee can be tilted to a required angle. It is useful for machining helical grooves, reamer and bevel gears. It is mostly used in tool room work.
Which type of milling machine will you choose?
Now that you know your options for the best milling machines, there’s only one question left to answer: Which type of milling machine is right for you?
Pick the machine that best matches your needs and go mill something big or small.