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The milling machine – introduction


      This part of this site looks at milling and the milling machine from a manual point of view and completely ignores the use of computer control. This is partly because the vast majority of model engineers still use manually controlled machines but also because the use of these manual techniques gives the user a better idea of the underlying processes involved when milling or, indeed, metalworking.

      This is not designed for beginners. It is designed to be comprehensive. It is not to be read from end to end as if it was a book. It is designed so it can be used as a reference.

     It tries to cover everything a milling machine can do. This includes using the milling machine for turning. If there was a similar site covering turning then that would cover milling on the lathe. So milling on the lathe is not covered here.

      Details of specific machines is excluded because there is a website that has already covered this completely. This is:

       Using a tool and cutter grinder to sharpen tools is not covered because it would take too much space to do it properly and most readers will not have access to such a machine.  Furthermore there is a very good book that covers this:

       Tool and cutter sharpening,  Harold Hall,  Workshop Practice Series no 38

       However, some very useful, yet simple tooling is covered to so some sharpening jobs.

       The topics covered here are not “how to make a piece of tooling” sort of thing. The aim is to find all the things that can be done with a milling machine and present them to the reader as ideas he might then use for making something. Consequently the topics are arranged, very roughly, by work holding techniques. These are, as far as possible, presented in order of complexity.

Topics are split into two groups. Those that relate directly to the milling machine and those that are primarily about making some specific type of part.

      A very large number of different setups are covered here. In most cases accuracy is essential. So, in most cases, it is necessary to set up the workholding devices and make cuts precisely where needed. The methods of aligning and measuring workpiece and workholding devices are also numerous. All of these are referred to as problems. But for any type of problem there may be several solutions.

      But a certain type of solution may occur in more than one setup. So, instead of repeating the solution there is a reference to it. Similarly each solution may refer to some type of tooling that can be used to solve the problem. Again there is a list of “tools” and “methods” that can be used to solve “problems”. .

       Under any particular milling problem there will be references to how to align something or how to measure something. This will be link of the form:

       See  “testing an edge for being square to the milling table”

      One difference between the lathe and the milling machine is that the different ways a workpiece can be held on milling machine is far more varied than those on a lathe.

      Anyone reading this is probably familiar with the lathe. They have might even have read “Work holding in the lathe”. This site began as a similar material but for the milling machine. But by the time all the possibilities had been explored there was not much more to add to make a complete guide to Milling and the Milling Machine.

      One of the themes that permeate this site is how most problems can be seen in more than one way and this makes possible different ways of solving them. This is important because, very often, the ideal piece of equipment needed to solve the problem is not available and other ways have to be found to do it.

  1. John said:

    Hi John, I came to your blog as a result of a comment which left on mine (about column flutes), and I like what I am reading. I intend to work my way through the entire blog, and am likely to leave a trail of comments. I am not familiar with the workholding book but will place an order as soon as I can …John

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