To machine any kind of surface either flat or curved and irregular the process of milling is usually used. To be milled the workpiece is usually passed through a rotating cutter with lots of cutting edges.
The major constituent parts of the most common mills are as a rule a motor driven spindle, a milling cutter and a reciprocating adjustable worktable serving to mount the workpiece and feed it against the rotating cutter.
There are two basic classes of milling machines: vertical and horizontal ones. Although, among the existing types of milling machines one can also identify more classes, such as ram-type, knee-type, planer-type and manufacturing type. Irrespectively of the class milling machines are mostly equipped with the self-contained electric drive motors, power-operated table feeds and coolant systems, and have a wide range of spindle speeds.
Milling machines are rather cross functional. They can be used for machining flat and irregular surfaces, as well as for drilling, boring, cutting gears or making slots. One of the most widely met types of milling machines is a vertical spindle machine with a swiveling head. It can be often seen in the student workshops. This article will give you more detailed description of the milling machines of this type.
What helps the milling machines provide the perfectly milled and smooth surface to the workpiece is the power feed for one or more axes. Comparing to the manual feed it is more capable of producing the better surface finish and more time-saving. Besides, on some machines power feeds are equipped with speed control knob and forward reverse lever control.
Thanks to the wide range of opportunities for the vertical milling machine head adjustments (such as side-to-side and back-to-front ones) this machine is rather cross functional. The only weak point here is the need for periodical checks and adjustments of the head, as the prior adjustments can drift. One must check from time to time the position of the spindle to the table surface. To change the adjustments of the vertical milling machine you need to have your dial indicator installed into the spindle with the 6-inches offset from the spindle axis. Keep the indicator probe face down. Place the spindle to the table the way that the dial indicator readings mark is one half of a revolution and with the dial indicator toward you adjust the bezel to zero mark.
If after having been rotated 180 degrees (it is done by hand) the dial indicator still shows zero then spindle has the front-to-back adjustment. In other case continue with the head settings up to the attainment of half of the original dial readings mark. Repeat this operation until you get the acceptable limit readings. For the side-to-side head adjustment do the same operations again with the dial displaced left and right.
If the process of milling is performed with the help of the vise fixed onto the bed (which is mostly the rule), then there is a great necessity to align the vise with the feed axes of the milling machine. For this purpose the vise is usually bolted to the bed with the help of T-bolts (not too tight to make possible the adjustment of the vise orientation).Then the dial indicator is set in the milling machine spindle (set the probe indicator face away from you). Then the spindle is leveled down and the bed of the table is drawn back to put the fixed jaw of the vise in contact with the indicator until the one half of a revolution indicator mark reached.
Then the bezel is adjusted to zero. To let the indicator pass across the face of the vise one should use the cross feed. In case of the squared vise the indicator readings will be at zero mark. If it is not, one can realign the vise by tapping it with a soft hammer.
It is necessary to mark down the indicator readings by half comparing with its initial ones. Then one should repeat this operation until the zero mark of the dial indicator while the full travel across the vise face is attained. One should avoid changing the vise orientation while tightening the T-bolts down. At the end it is necessary to check the vise alignment again.
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If you want to carve, drill a piece of metal or just simply need to mill it - than you exactly need a milling machine. Read more and you will find the full info about the milling process.