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CNC Machining

5 CNC Milling Techniques for Your Best Designs

The tensile qualities of metal make it one of the most exacting materials to work with. This difficulty also poses a significant challenge to producing detailed and accurate components. Traditional methods just couldn’t keep up with the tighter tolerances that modern engineering calls for.

This is where CNC milling techniques come in. Today, it is among the most common metal-working industrial processes. While others, such as laser and plasma, represent cutting-edge technology, they can’t simply stand up to the capability and complexity a CNC mill can deliver.  

To best understand CNC milling techniques, let’s take a look at what it is and how to use them. When you need accurate production on complicated designs or have a fabrication issue that needs to be solved, contact Elemet Manufacturing. We provide innovative solutions for manufacturing problems of all shapes and sizes.

What is CNC Milling?

CNC milling is a machining process that uses computer-controlled rotary cutting tools to remove material from a workpiece. The milling process can be used to create custom parts and prototypes from a variety of metals and other materials.

CNC milling machines are generally more accurate and efficient than traditional machining methods, and they can be used to create complex shapes that would be difficult or impossible to produce with other methods.

CNC milling is an essential machining technology for the modern manufacturing industry.

CNC Milling Techniques

As you can expect, there are various ways in which a CNC machine can achieve the various designs you create. You begin with a computer-aided design (CAD) or 3D model of the component you want.

The software then translates the model into a machine-readable form, which the Computer Numerical Control reads. The CNC mill carries out the instructions and uses different paths and movements to achieve the product. To accomplish your goal, a CNC machine may use the following techniques. 

1. Surface or Plain Milling

As the name suggests, the CNC machine employs various tools to subtract material from the surface of the item it is machining. During this process, the mill’s rotation axis moves parallel to the work item. 

The type of tool you use depends on the outcome you are expecting to achieve. If you’re looking for a quick outcome, use a wide cutter to remove material from the workpiece quickly. The result, however, may not be the finish you are looking for. 

To get a finer finish, it’s best to utilize a tool with finer teeth. You end up using fast cutting speeds and slow feed rates. The outcome is well worth the effort. 

2. Face Milling

industrial metalworking cutting process by milling cutter

When using the face milling technique, the machine’s rotational axis will be perpendicular to the surface of the workpiece. The tool faces the workpiece face down for the express purpose of removing material from it. 

It would be best if you relied on face milling for more intricate contours with a fine finish. The results tend to be superior in comparison to plain milling because the side teeth do the cutting while the tip teeth do the surface finishing.

3. Angular Milling

The angle milling process the metal plate part by flat end mill tool.

The cutting tool in this technique faces the workpiece’s surface at an angle. If your design has angular cuts such as dovetails or grooves, then this technique will take care of them quite easily. 

If you’re using a 3-axis mill, putting different cutters should be the way to go. You can count on dovetail cutters to attain angled grooves and a conical cutting head if you’re looking for chamfering. 

4. Form Milling

Form milling is your go-to technique when you want to get radii, counters, or curves. You employ different cutting tools to achieve specific accuracy for each detail you’ve worked into your design. Therefore, you spend less time switching between cutting heads.

Done right; you can realize the non-flat cuts in a single session. The tools can help you obtain various outcomes, such as round edges and recesses. They’ll need to be the appropriate tools to attain the result you want as accurately as possible. 

5. Profile Milling

CNC Milling Techniques

For concave or convex designs, it takes a three-step process to get desirable outcomes. These are rouging, half-finishing, and final finishing. For a proper profile milling session, use round inserts for the roughing and then ball-nose end mills for the semi-finishing and finishing steps of the process.  

Do You Need Advanced CNC Machining Services?

Then look no further than Elemet Manufacturing Services. We have been a market leader in providing innovative solutions for problems facing manufacturers all over the globe. We are a joint venture between Precision Waterjet Concepts and Aitkin Iron Works that merged; we provide you with over 100 years of experience.

Not only do we provide advanced CNC machining services, but we also offer 5-axis waterjet cutting, painting, welding, and other solutions. Our combined knowledge and experience make us a manufacturing powerhouse.

Let our team solve your manufacturing problems. Get in touch with us today.

Categories
CNC Machining

When to Use CNC Milling

What Is the Metal Fabrication Process?

Metal fabrication is the process of cutting, forming, and assembling metals to create structures or individual parts. The cutting process involves using tools to remove material from the workpiece and can be done either manually or with a machine.

Welding joins two pieces of metal together and can be done using various methods such as oxyfuel welding, tungsten arc welding, and resistance welding.

CNC milling is a machining process that uses computer-controlled cutting tools to remove material from the workpiece. The metal fabrication process includes additional steps such as surface finishing, heat treatment, and assembly.

The following is a brief description of various metal fabrication processes and a more in-depth look at when to use CNC milling.

Contact Elemet Manufacturing to learn more about the wide range of metal fabrication services available, including precision waterjet cutting, welding, and CNC machining.

Cutting

Metal cutting is a manufacturing technique that uses a sharp tool to remove material from a metal workpiece. You can use this method to create everything from simple objects like coins to complex pieces like car engine components.

In most cases, the metal workpiece is a sheet that is first cut into smaller pieces using a saw or laser cutter.

Once you have cut out the desired shape, the parts are welded or fastened together to create the final product. Metal cutting is an essential manufacturing technique used in many industries.

Folding

Folding requires shaping a metal surface at a specific angle. It is one of the most challenging methods of fabricating metal components. It is a technique unique from metal bending and limited by geometry and tonnage.

Intricate, acute bends are often not possible as the folding beam has to be able to reach the bend without running into other surfaces on the component. When a folding machine cannot exert enough force, that is when a press brake comes into play.

Metal folding is frequently used in the manufacturing of automotive parts, food packaging, and appliances. It is an efficient and cost-effective way to create strong and durable products.

Welding

Welding is a metal fabrication process that involves joining metal parts together by heating the materials to their melting point, which fuses them when cooled. Several different welding methods include laser welding, TIG welding, MIG welding, and stick welding.

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice for a particular project will depend on the material selection, the desired strength of the joint, and the budget. 

Machining

Factory Asian male worker

Machining involves removing material from a workpiece to create the desired shape or finish and is performed using various tools, including lathes, mills, and routers. Machining is generally divided into two categories: subtractive and additive.

In subtractive machining, material is removed from the workpiece, while additive machining, on the other hand, involves using 3D printing technology to build up the desired shape layer by layer. 

Punching

This method uses a drill to punch holes in metal placed beneath a die by drilling through it. The circumference of the drill must be small enough to fit appropriately through the die for the punch to be effective.

The scrap slug produced as a result of the operation may be thrown away or recycled. Slugging is another name for stopping short of punching through the metal when making things out of metal.

Shearing

Shearing is when sheet metal is cut into pieces using power-driven blades. It is commonly used to cut metal plates, sheet metal, or metal tubing. Shearing is a quick and efficient way to produce parts with a high degree of accuracy.

However, it can also produce burrs and sharp edges, which you must remove before having a usable piece. Metal shearing is an important process in many industries, including automotive, aerospace, and construction.

Stamping

The metal stamping process is a manufacturing method that uses dies to form complex parts from sheet metal. In contrast to punching, the goal is typically to form a shape in the metal and not punch through it.

The process can produce varied shapes and sizes and is well suited for mass production. The metal stamping process is an efficient way to create parts with complex shapes from sheet metal.

Casting

Casting is a process in which you heat metal until it liquefies and pours it into a mold. The metal takes the shape of the mold as it cools, and once it has cooled completely, you break the mold to reveal the finished product.

Casting is often used to create metal objects with complex shapes that would be difficult or impossible to create using other metal manufacturing methods. You can also use casting to produce large metal objects relatively quickly.

What is CNC Milling?

CNC milling technology

CNC (computer numerical control) milling gradually removes material from the workpiece using rotating multi-point cutting tools and digital controls. This technique creates a specific part or product tailored to the customer’s specifications.

This method can machine many materials, including metal, plastic, glass, and wood, and create a vast range of goods and parts with unique designs.

CNC milling, drilling, turning, and others are mechanical processes in which material is removed from the workpiece mechanically, such as by the actions of the milling machine’s cutting blades. CNC milling technology is one of the most dependable ways to make parts from various materials.

Benefits of CNC Milling

The most notable benefits of utilizing CNC milling technology are outlined below.

Precision

Manufacturing parts precisely to specifications is one of the main benefits of using CNC milling machines. The danger of real-time human error, common in manually run machines, is eliminated by CNC mills. 

CNC mills depend on pre-programmed computer instructions, which can be reviewed and checked for accuracy before production. You can form complex pieces accurately with tolerances as tight as 0.004mm.

Efficiency

Conventional milling machines may require an operator to change the cutting tools manually depending on the work required. It is time-consuming and ineffective because it allows for human error during the changeover procedure.

On standard CNC mills, rotating carousels can usually store up to 30 different tools. These instruments are automatically replaced on the spindle during machining operations, allowing you to complete cutting activities more quickly and accurately.

Automated tool changeovers and pre-programmed instructions can reduce fabrication time from days to a few short hours.

Wide Range of Material Options

CNC mills are compatible with many materials, including plastics, metals, and composites. If you have blocks of the material to mill, CNC mills will have no trouble with it.

High Rate of Production

Because CNC milling is an automated operation, the cutting tool can transition through procedure steps more quickly than humans. The actual cutting rates are limited by the design and materials used. It still creates a higher output rate than most other manufacturing methods.

Affordability

CNC milling is an accuracy- and speed-oriented technique that you can use to produce parts with complex shapes. It is also relatively affordable, making it a popular choice for both prototyping and low-volume production runs.

When choosing a CNC milling service, it is important to consider the accuracy and speed requirements of the project, as well as the cost. By carefully selecting the right CNC milling service provider, it is possible to produce high-quality parts at a reasonable price.

Choose the Right Method for Your Project

Metal fabrication requires sophisticated tools and expertise. Elemet Manufacturing has developed expertise in many metal fabrication techniques for various commercial and industrial applications.

Call us today if you need more information about a specific metal fabrication method or want to know which one is appropriate for your project.

Categories
Metal Fabrication

5 Types of Metal Fabrication

Did you know the metal fabrication equipment market will reach an impressive $92.84 billion by 2025? This growth is because of a rapidly increasing need for advanced infrastructure and growing industries – an industry in which you may already be a part.

How do you keep up with the demand for high-quality products? How do you stay on top of your competitors? First, you need to work with a manufacturer who is the best at what they do.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the different types of metal fabrication and what Elemet Manufacturing can do for you.

Who Is Elemet Manufacturing?

Elemet Manufacturing exists because of the dual efforts of Precision Waterjet Concepts and Aitkin Iron Works. With the combined expertise of Aitkin’s over 87 years of farming, logging, and mining experience; and Precision Waterjet’s understanding of complex manufacturing work, there is no better company to serve your custom metal fabrication needs.

Machine shops come and go, but fabrication is eternal. Where there is a manufacturing need to fill, there is a metal manufacturing process to suit.

cad cam drawing of metal components with two of the finished components laying on drawing

Breaking Down the Different Types of Metal Fabrication

It is critical to understand the foundations of any manufacturing process before you decide to work with it. As a company with expertise in the matter, however, we are here to advise you.

At its core, the metal fabrication process is all about turning raw materials into new, ready-to-assemble shapes. Custom metal fabrication procedures, for example, are used to create the panels that make up the frame of cars and other vehicles.

While this seems simple, the processes involved are rather complex and varied. Some methods are better suited to specific tasks, while others can accommodate a variety of processes.

Waterjet Cutting

A water jet cutter is a piece of industrial equipment that can cut a wide range of materials using an extremely high-pressure jet of water.

‘Abrasive jet’ refers to the use of a water-abrasive mixture used to cut hard materials like metal, stone, and glass. We use a pure waterjet for softer materials like wood and rubber.

If you’re looking for precision, the 5-axis waterjet cutting machine can tackle even the most complex of tasks. While a waterjet can cut almost any material, the time to cut a piece is longer than other processes.

sheet metal bending in a facility performing many types of metal fabrication

Metal Stamping and Bending

Stamping is a cold-forming technique that transforms flat metal blanks into a variety of shapes. This method employs a tool and die that, when struck, changes the shape of the metal through sheer pressure.

Punching, bending, and embossing are all examples of stamping in the sheet metal production business. Metal bending or folding is a sophisticated production procedure that involves manipulating a metal surface to a specific angle.

The goal is predominantly to have the metal fold at a 90-degree angle. However, because of the complexity of the process, folding needs to be done in facilities that have specialized, high-tech equipment. Often, connecting two metal panels at specific angles may be more workable with a welding process.

With metal stamping comes a high level of automation, so it’s great for jobs that require quick and precise output. However, a disadvantage to note is that dies can be challenging to change if the design needs to change at any point in production.

Welding

Welding is one of the most common metal fabrication methods in the industry. It is basically the technique of connecting two separate metal components together. You can connect sheets, panels, bars, and any kind of shape using the welding method, as long as constructed out of metal.

You achieve this process through the application of heat along the edge where the two pieces connect. You can accomplish this with a variety of procedures and tools.

Welding is great because welded joints have a high strength load, and you can weld a variety of different materials. When done well, they provide a complete and rigid joint. However, once forged, that joint is permanent.

close-up of vertical CNC milling with coolant streams splashing and metal chips piling up

CNC Machining and Milling

The term CNC stands for computerized numerical control. CNC is a production method in which pre-programmed software controls other industrial tools and machinery to achieve the desired shape. From grinders to mills, a CNC method can successfully control a wide range of machinery.

CNC machining can perform three-dimensional cutting operations with just a few simple commands. Our 4-axis CNC machine is particularly good at producing high-quality products because it works on all four planes of a three-dimensional object.

CNC machining is not necessarily the right choice for small product quantities, as it takes some time to design and program. However, in terms of complexity, adaptability, and automation capacity, you can’t beat it.

Casting

Casting is one of the earliest forms of metal manufacturing and dates all the way back to 3,200 B.C.E. It involves pouring molten metal into a mold and leaving it to solidify again in place. Casting is the appropriate choice for a wide range of intricate shape-making needs as it is such a flexible way of fabricating metal.

Metals like steel, iron, gold, copper, silver, and magnesium are the most popular metals used for the casting process.

Casting is not suited to mass production and, compared to other methods, like forging, it has a low fatigue strength. It is, however, one of the cheapest methods of all the manufacturing types.

How Elemet Can Help You 

Understanding the different types of metal fabrication can feel overwhelming, but you don’t need to be an expert to get the job done.

Let our team of highly trained engineers help you with your next job. With your vision and our know-how, we’ll get you set up and ready to go in no time.

Contact Elemet Manufacturing today, and let’s bring your project to life together.