Multi-axis machines are increasingly common in most machine shops. Their presence is favored for many reasons. One type of popular such machine is the multi-axis milling center. Its origins date back to 1849. Modern versions offer different features including the choice of different numbers of axes.
Milling is an engineering process. It uses a machine consisting of rotating cutters. These act to remove any extraneous or designated material from a workpiece. The direct and amount removed depend upon the specific angle of the machine. The cut follows the angle of the tool axis. The intent is to produce high quality, precision components in a variety of sizes and shapes.
The Milling Machine
Some operators and shops refer to the milling machine as a multi-tasking machine (MTM). This results from its ability to both cut and turn the workpiece. It does so in a particular pattern. Different operations a machinist can perform on a multi-axis milling machine or center include:
* Angular Milling
* Cam Milling
* End Mills
* Face Milling
* Gang Milling
* Gear Milling
* Side Milling
* Slotting Milling
* Surface Finish
Machinists can accomplish this utilizing one of the several configurations including horizontal and vertical.
Multi-Axis Milling Machines
Multi-Axis milling offers machinists distinct opportunities to produce complex parts. They can do so without having to reorient the workpiece. This is valid for any machine with more than three axes. With a five-axis machine, operators can produce better finishing work within a reduced lead-time. The process becomes more efficient. The tools do not suffer as much wear and tear, extending the longevity of essential tools.
However, it is not sufficient for a company to simply purchase and then install a multi-axis milling machine. In order for the company to obtain the most out of it, training is essential. Only by ensuring all operators have the right instruction can a shop realize the true potential of their multi-axis machinery.
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