Machines and Tools


What are milling machines?

Milling machines are automated machineries which are power-driven for shaping metal usually, but they can also be used to shape other types of material like wood, plastic, etc.

Milling machines are operated by hand (manual) or by computer (computerized). The milling machines have a multi-dimensional drill which rotates on a spindle axis on a movable table which is mounted to it. The computerized milling machines are driven by a technology called computer numerical control or CNC.

Milling machines are used for complex as well as simple maneuvers which include slot cutting, planking, drilling, rebating, routing, etc

Milling machines are mostly used by industries where time is a very sensitive factor. However, even with the fantastic maneuverability and ease with which it can carry out monotonous tasks, industries still hesitate to replace manual labor with CNC. This is mainly due to the prohibitive costs it usually involves.

There are a number of portable milling machines for home use. Some very popular milling machines are increasingly finding place in people’s garage tools and home kits.

Some milling machines have more complex flexibility where the rotating cutter can move both vertically and horizontally. This type of milling machines coupled with CNC is used to replace manual labor where work is repetitive and monotonous. Milling machines with CNC can work totally unattended with perfect and error-free results.

As mentioned earlier, milling machines also come in desktop precision milling machines also called micro mills. These milling machines in spite of their small size are able to tackle any type of task, whether it involves steel, aluminium, brass, wood, plastic or anything else. Since these milling machines are small, yet powerful, they can be used by simply anyone – from the small manufacturers to the hobby enthusiast or even women who want to do their bit around the house. For the hobby persons, such type of milling machines are the answer to a lot of small and difficult tasks which otherwise would take professional intervention and lots of cost. For the small manufacturer, it is easy to program and use milling machines for mass production with very little effort.

The only downside of the milling machines is the prohibitive costs and when these numbers are used against the free and easy availability of manual labor, it becomes difficult to promote its replacement. However, prices are slowly coming down with the advent of the technology promising a more open approach and acceptance by small and large industries. Milling machines with their capacity to produce completely error-free results in a totally unattended environment can prove a major boon and save tremendous amounts of money, in the long run.

It remains to be seen how long it takes for the milling machines to replace human labor. Today, human labor compares better to the milling machines only in terms of cost. The acceleration of technology and introduction of computer based technology; microchip and nano technology is bringing the price within the reach of the small industrialist. Milling machines are undoubtedly the best choice in manufacturing delicate parts of machinery, which are labor intensive and hence cost-intensive.

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