A CNC vertical mill machine has cylindrical cutters oriented vertically on a spindle axis. This is especially useful for plunge cuts and drilling; these tools are considered to be the best for diesinking applications. With CNC technology, the tools in some vertical machining centers can be manipulated on up to five axes for the fabrication of custom shapes, slots, holes, and details in three-dimensional parts.
What is CNC Vertical Milling?
Vertical CNC milling refers to CNC milling operations that utilize vertical milling machines. As suggested by the name, the machines have vertically oriented tooling. This design makes them suitable for use in end milling operations, which use tools with teeth on the periphery and face.
Compared to horizontal CNC milling machines, vertical CNC milling machines offer the following advantages:
- They are available at a lower cost (up to four to five times cheaper).
- They are easier to use since their design makes it easier to see what is going on with the tooling and workpiece.
- They are smaller, which means they require less space in the machine shop.
- The simple setup and programming process of CNC vertical equipment allows for straightforward operation and work holding, making it an ideal solution for small parts and short runs.
Vertical milling can be used to produce high-quality precision parts in an array of industries including aerospace, electronics, medical, automotive, and industrial projects. It's ease of setup also makes CNC vertical machining an excellent choice for prototype applications. They are ideal for creating the following:
- Box type parts, such as engine blocks, gearboxes, spindle boxes, and gear pump shells
- Complex curved parts, such as cams, engine impellers, propellers, and mold cavities
- Specialty or irregular parts, such as brackets and bases
CNC Vertical Tools and Machining Variations
Vertically oriented CNC tools are effective for a wide assortment of operations. While vertical mills are the most common type of CNC equipment, other useful tools include:
- CNC Vertical Lathes — Available in a wide variety of sizes, these tools can make fast, precise cuts and hold extremely tight tolerances. They can be found combined with machining centers for single setup milling and turning.
- CNC Vertical Machining Centers — The most common piece of CNC equipment, these complex tools are the easiest CNC mills to program and a key component of many machine shops. Best for short runs and small sizes, these systems can come fully equipped with an assortment of tools and tool changers, magazines, and carousels. They also offer coolant and fluid systems and specialty enclosures.
- CNC 5-Axis Machines — Among the most advanced milling machine centers, these tools can be manipulated across five axes to produce three-dimensional parts with high levels of complexity, precision, and speed for even the most difficult designs.
Interested in Horizontal Milling for Your Next Project?
- Contact the Ardel team today for more information on CNC vertical milling. To partner with Ardel Engineering on your next machining project, request a quote.
For more information on precision milling, check out these pages to further educate yourself: