Although there are many different machine tools associated with CNC machining, some are considered more common than others. These tools perform very precise operations that are automated through a software program and internal computer. Regardless of the material, unique cuts, punches, and designs are created based on the tool being used.
Commonly Used Tools
- Milling – Of all machine tools used, milling is at the top of the list. These include chamfer, ball nose, bull nose, and flat. Chamfer mills feature an angled nose that creates a chamfer but can also help de-burr parts. A ball nose is for 3D milling while a bull nose mills at a radius corner. The flat nose is specifically for milling pockets and 2D contours.
- Face Mill – For cutting inserts that need to be replaced after wearing down, a face mill is used. This tool is rigid, removes material quickly, and can have up to eight or more cutting edges.
- Corner Radius – Also referred to as a Corner Round, this machine tool places a fillet on the outside corner of the part being worked
- Slot Mill – This tool is also known as a slotting saw and includes Woodruff keyset cutters, slitting saws, and side milling cutters. Regardless, the tool creates undercuts and slots.
- Hole Making – Among the different machine tools that cut holes there is a center drill, countersink drill, and combined drill. While a center drill is short and rigid for creating a conic on the part’s shape, a countersink creates a conical face for machine screws. The combined drill makes the screw clearance hold but also countersinks in one operation.
- Cutting – Machine tools used for cutting are designed to remove material. This is accomplished by material being sheared away as s the cutting tool advances further into the material being worked. The outcome is a chip.
Because machine tools are used for very specific reasons and to create unique outcomes, they must be operated by a trained professional. Although there are many companies that offer CNC machining services, not all are created equal. One company that stands out from the competition is Sirco Machinery, which has a long history of excellence for applications, as well as customer service.