How Does CNC Milling Interact With Different Materials?

CNC milling services are an integral part of CNC machining and has gained immense traction over the years as it can be used for a wide range of parts. With CNC milling you can achieve high precision and tight tolerances regardless of a complex geometry. These machines used as high-speed milling cutters to shape the object into the desired shape. They are well-known for their ability to work with various metals and plastics, with each having their own physical and chemical properties which may pose challenges. Any CNC milling services provider must know the reaction and interaction of these machines with each of the materials formed. This is an important aspect which this post throws light on.  Also, it highlights how CNC milling excels in working with maximum substrates. So stay tuned.

Commonly Milled Materials

This manufacturing technique works well with a diverse range of materials. Here are some important ones.

  • Metals: They have been the most popular choice of CNC milling services providers owing to their beneficial features. Also, they are preferred by most OEMs even when some are replaced by plastic. CNC milling has the ability to machine precise parts with tight tolerances, intricate designs, and smooth finishes and this is one reason these parts are used across industries  such as automotive, aerospace, and heavy engineering. Working with metals, including steel, aluminum, brass, copper, and so on may seem easy. However, it requires attention to detail and considerations like cutting speeds, tool selection, and cooling methods. High-speed carbide tools are used to withstand the high demands of metal machining. Cooling and lubrication are crucial to dissipate heat generated during the process. This helps in preventing tool wear and tear, extending tool life.

  • Plastics: This is another popular choice for CNC milling, offering a delicate touch while maintaining accuracy. CNC parts made of acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate, and more are durable, lightweight, and visually appealing. While machining plastics, it is essential to manage heat generation to prevent warping or melting. Always, thermoplastics are used as they can withstand high temperatures. Proper chip evacuation and lower cutting speeds are significant in maintaining the material’s integrity. In addition to this, higher rake angle tools are used to minimize cutting forces and potential part distortion.

  • Composites: As the name implies, they are a fusion of different materials to enhance their properties. However, this presents unique challenges for machining techniques. Owing to the beneficial features of composites, such as strength-to-weight ratio, they are preferred in aerospace and sporting goods. Manufacturing with them requires a fine balance between material-specific considerations and achieving the required precision. Thus, advanced tools with diamond coatings are used when working with abrasive composites.

  • Ceramics: They are known for their electrical insulation, extreme hardness, and high-temperature resistance properties. CNC milling machines can achieve cutting through tough and abrasive materials like these. While they can be challenging to machine as they are just as brittle, they find use across industries, including aerospace and medical.

This section has covered the commonly CNC milled materials in detail. While material selection holds a great significance in CNC milling, it is equally important to pay attention to the tooling for CNC milling. The next section explains this aspect.

Essential Tooling for CNC Milling

The selection of cutting tools is crucial for successful CNC milling to get the best output. The following are some essential tools to consider for milling.

  • End Mills: They are commonly used for several milling operations from slotting to contouring. They are available in different sizes and shapes to accommodate multiple milling tasks.

  • Drills: These tools are mainly used for creating holes. There are different types of drills such as twist, center, and more. The size of the hole and accuracy are two important requisites when choosing drills for your application.

  • Face Mills: They are ideal for large surfaces. They remove material from the workpiece’s face using multiple cutting edges.

  • Carbide Inserts: They are replaceable and mounted on milling tools. Carbide inserts extend the tool life and allow for efficient machining.

Are you interested in CNC-milled parts using these materials or substrates? If yes, you must consult a leading CNC milling services provider like BDE, Inc. Over the years, they have been providing CNC milling services to their clients across industries. You can contact them to discuss your application requirements.

Your CNC Machine Shop in Portland, Hillsboro Oregon