Fundamental Concepts To Learn About Milling Aluminum (1)
Aluminum milling is a broad area that has a wide domain of specialties and uses. There are many things needed to learn before jumping into milling -from cutting tools, processes, aluminum grade, suited parameters, and more. Discussed in this article are the fundamental concepts underlying milling aluminum parts.
Common Aluminum Milling Processes
Aluminum milling has diverse ways of machining raw materials and making them into finished products. These different processes subtract the material differently from each other, forming a unique feature on the milled part. These processes have dedicated types of cutting tools (e.g., end mills, drills, reamers, and many more). Although there are many milling processes, below are the most common in a typical fabrication shop:
Face milling is a process wherein the radial part of the tool is used as the cutting edge that does more cutting action. This process is used to cut flat surfaces on a material. It is important to note that in this process, the workpiece should be fed on the opposite way the endmill rotates. This way, the cutting action will result in a downward force that will secure the work part more against the table. The cutters used for this process are face mills specially designed for this purpose.
Profile milling involves all the multi-axis milling of shapes into a material -either two dimensional or three dimensional. This is the main operation in a milling process because of its different subcategories. These subcategories involve pocket milling, slotting, trochoidal milling, contour milling, and many more. The cutters used for this process involve end mills, wherein they have a cutting edge on the sides.
Side milling involves cutting through the material vertically to produce a flat surface. The cutters used for this process are side mills, wherein the cutting edge is situated around the circumferential area of the cylindrical cutter.
Hole feature Milling
Hole milling is the creation of hole features on a work part. These features include general holes, counterbored holes, countersunk holes, threaded holes, and spot holes. The cutters used in performing this process are twist drills, spade drills, end mills, reamers, taps, and many more.
Form milling is more of a special milling process because it involves shaping the cutting tool profile based on the desired shape or feature being achieved on the work part. This means the contours/ profiles on the cutting tool should be shaped based exactly on the target piece part.