Initial considerations for milling operations
1. The milled configuration
The features to be milled have to be carefully considered. These can be located deep, requiring extended tooling, or contain interruptions and inclusions.
2. The component
Workpiece surfaces can be demanding, with cast skin or forging scale. In cases of bad rigidity caused by thin sections or weak clamping, dedicated tooling and strategies have to be used. The workpiece material and its machinability must also be analyzed to establish optimal cutting data.
3. The machine
The choice of milling method will determine the type of machine needed. Face/shoulder or slot milling can be performed in 3-axis machines, while milling 3D profiles alternatively requires 4- or 5-axis machines.
Turning centers today often have milling capability due to driven tools, and machining centers often have turning capability. CAM developments mean that 5-axis machines are increasingly common. They offer increased flexibility, but stability can be a limitation.