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Introduction to Milling Machines

While the milling machine may just look like a very complicated drill, its uses span much more than simply drilling very precise holes. The milling machine can be used to make holes, slots and grooves to a precision upwards of thousandths of an inch. Additionally, the Mill can be used to remove material allowing it to flatten and smooth out edges and surfaces. Milling machines are used to machine components made of metal or plastic.

Terminology

  1. Motor
  2. Head
  3. Quill
  4. Spindle
  5. Table
  6. Ways
  7. Power feed
  8. Digital Readout (DRO)
  9. Traverse Crank Handle
  10. Motor Switch
  11. Knee
  12. Locks

Safety Considerations

The main safety concerns on a Milling Machine are the rotating components driving the actual cutting, and the flying debris the cutting can create. The motor, drive belts, spindle, chuck and bit all pose pinch and entanglement hazards and the bit itself is sharp. While the motor and drive belts can and should be covered with proper guarding, the spindle, chuck and bit must be exposed for proper machine operation. Because of this, it is very important to tie back all loose clothing and hair and remove any jewelry that could increase the risk of entanglement in these spinning components. Additionally safety glasses are required to protect the eyes from flying chips or other debris.

User Guide

Before starting a project with the Milling Machine, you must complete the safety training detailed above and consult with Aaron.

Each time you use the Milling Machine you must follow the following checklists.

Before use:
  • Ensure everything is in neutral position: x-axis feed off, spindle direction off, z-axis feed off.
  • Check settings for your operation: Set belts, gearing, power feed speed, z feed stop.
  • Turn on machine power (in rear of mill).
  • Turn on work lighting.
  • Position and fixture workpiece
  • Zero the DRO with edge-finder.
  • Install tooling
  • Properly position work guarding
After use:
  • Return fixturing to default
  • Return milling head to 0-positions
  • Return spindle to front gear
  • Remove tooling and workpiece
  • Clean work area of chips

Manuals and Documentation

For more information on the use and maintenance of the Milling Machine, see the following resources: