Definitive Guide to CNC Machining
Take an in-depth look at CNC machining, from milling to turning and prototyping to production.
Main Components of a CNC Milling Machine: So what are the different parts of a CNC Milling Machine or Machining Center? The diagram below provides a breakdown of its main components.
The frame is the main structure that supports the milling machine and helps to give it stability and rigidity. It usually comes with a base and detachable column/s.
An important part of the frame is the machine headstock where the main spindle is mounted on. The headstock, while important, is often overlooked .Main Components of a CNC Milling Machine
If the headstock is not rigid and fails to provide stability and support to the spindle, you could get vibrations and chattering during the machining operation. This could result in machining errors and a shorter lifespan to your cutting tool.
The spindle can be considered as the “heart” of a CNC milling machine also Main Components of a CNC Milling Machine. It normally comprises a rotating assembly, and a tapered section where tool holders may be positioned. The shaft of the spindle is normally where the tool is attached to, usually via a tool holder.
A motor with different levels of transmission is used to rotate the spindle.
To keep your spindle in good condition over the long-term, various forms of lubrication are used. They may include Grease Lubrications (not suitable for long durations of high speed operations), Air-Oil Lubrications (sufficient for longer cycle runs at higher speeds) or the Hwacheon Oil-Jet-Lubrication (ideal for all conditions – even extreme, long and high speed applications).
Depending on the machine type, the spindle can be vertically or horizontally positioned.
In general, CNC milling machines have X / Y / Z as well as additional rotational axis or C / A or B (subject to configuration). These can be programmed using g-code in the CNC controller also Main Components of a CNC Milling Machine.
The columns of the CNC machining center can be single (eg travelling column HiRex 4000 or also C-Frame like HiT 400 / 360; VESTA line including “B”; SIRIUS-650 / 850 / 1050) or double (SIRIUS 1250 / 2500 / L1 / L2). This depends on the level of complexity needed in the machining task which is Main Components of a CNC Milling Machine.
This is the main “nervous system” of the machine tool. It contains the electronics that helps to control the different cutting actions through programming functions. The control panel has a CNC monitor and programming buttons where data and codes can be punched in. It usually also offers a manual function.Main Components of a CNC Milling Machine, For ease of machine operation, the control panel should be easily accessible and within easy reach.
These are either mounted at the column or separately mounted to the machine. Main Components of a CNC Milling Machine,The latter is preferred if larger tool changers are needed with 40 up to 300 different tools. Doing so not only helps to save time and effort – it also helps your operators to avoid unnecessary vibrations during operation.
These come in many different sizes, systems and for various applications. The standard sizes for tool holders are BT 30 to BT 40 and BT 50 (BT refers to the taper angle of the cone on the holder).
(In Europe, the term used is SK 30, SK 40 or SK 50, which has the same angle as BT holder but with an additional orientation groove at the flange. Together with a key-stone mounted at spindle nose, SK holders can be orientated in a specific position. Eg.: boring bridges, boring bars, angular milling heads etc.)
For higher rigidity and balanced fast rotations, BBT versions are recommended or the HSK System.
The BBT version is an up-graded version of the standard BT system providing double contact points between the tool holder and spindle. As such, it connects and bonds more strongly, provides significantly less vibrations as the tool holders are balanced to class Q 2.5. This improves not only the machining capabilities and results of your machine tool, but provides better surfaces to your part / mould, extends your tool life and lastly saves spindle replacements in the long run as bearings will last longer.
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What about the HSK System? It is lighter (good for HSC machining), shorter (good for faster tool change), and stronger than the BT system (a HSK-A63 holder is 2.5 times stronger than a BT 50 holder). The HSK System also offers excellent balancing (Class Q 2.5). Due to the strong and powerful clamping from inside to outside, the bonding between the tool holder and the spindle is ideal for heavy duty operations, heavy cuts or extremely high-speed operations at the same time.
Both the BBT and HSK versions offer far stiffer and more rigid bonding between the tool holder and spindle as these systems come with double contact clamping (i.e. between the caper / cone and front spindle nose surface).
The table provides a solid base to clamp the work piece directly on, and can be used to mount fixtures or vice to hold the piece in place. Most of the tables use T-slots for easy clamping of vice, fixture or part.
On Horizontal CNC milling machines, pallets are also available with Tap-holes. These allow greater flexibility in moving different work pieces to be machined. Increasingly, magnets are also being used for easy, fast and secured clamping. These should preferably be built into the machines table to avoid the loss of Z-axis height.
(See Hwacheon’s SIRIUS UM+ as an example.)
Most CNC machining centers have a coolant tank to help supply coolant to the cutting surface or the spindle with tool during machining action. This helps to lengthen the life-span of the machine and its parts. Beyond this, the coolant will also remove heat generated by the machining action, and hence keep temperatures under control.
To hold a sufficient amount of coolant for cutting operations, the rule here is “the more, the better.” More coolant helps machine operators to avoid the warming up of coolant.
Generally, the CTS system or Coolant Through Spindle is recommended for deeper drilling operations (deeper than 4 x diameter) or when one is machining deeper cavities in mould & die applications. The standard should be 30bar with options of up to 70bar in coolant pressure. Only very specific applications would require even higher coolant pressures.
Attention needs to be given if tools with larger coolant hole diameters are used. Such machining needs may require a High Pressure – High Flow Rate Pump to be used.
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