In turning the part rotates while the tooling for the most part stays stationary. On the contrary with milling the part rotates as well as the tool opening up a plethora of alternative design options. Milling is also a subtractive machining process, taking a stock piece and removing material to the ultimate effect.
Milling units are essentially machining centers due to the expanded capabilities of CNC programming. The other components of the milling process include a work-piece, fixture, and cutter which all must be positioned and programmed to a specific feature. Milling can produce a variety of features including holes, slots, pockets, and contours among others.
Typically the parts that Glaser Bolt supplies completely by milling are short run items, in the prototype phase, or special custom components. We usually look for the most efficient way to produce your high run, multi-process items and the turnaround time for solely milling is not as quick as some of our other methods. That being said, milling is also commonly used as a secondary process to fine tune and calibrate parts created in a different method with much more precision and efficiency.
Milling processes are usually all-in-one operation. Within the main utility itself there are cuts such as end, chamfer, and face milling which all create different profiles, slots, pockets, angled edges, or smooth finishes depending on the print and the program. In addition mills provide a number of other methods that could typically be found in standalone operations such as:
- Drilling – the mill is capable of creating either a through hole or a blind one to a specified distance.
- Boring – a single point tool on the mill can create different features on the interior of the stock piece.
- Counterboring – creates an enlarged diameter on the top portion of an existing hole to any specified size and depth.
- Countersink – similar to a counterbore but in a cone shape.
- Reaming – typically performed on pre-drilled holes to enlarge them.
- Tapping – creating screw threads in an existing hole.
For more information on how these features can be performed either as one or in combination on a part, please contact us.