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What Are the Vital Parts of a CNC Milling Machine?

Posted by Brad Roberson in CNC Machining and CNC Milling Service on Nov 7, 2022.


Missouri CNC Milling

What Are the Vital Parts of a CNC Milling Machine? Here at Roberson Machine Company, CNC milling is essentially the backbone of our manufacturing process. In fact, no matter if it is a vertical milling machine or a horizontal one, our customers rely on us and we rely on CNC milling for cutting materials.

We are your single-source manufacturing specialists, and we pride ourselves on being able to manufacture whatever you need – from standard, “as-machined” workpieces to complex, organic geometries with tight tolerances. Call Roberson Machine Company for all of your CNC needs today at 573-646-3996 or contact us online.

What is a CNC Milling Machine?

CNC milling machines remove metal from workpieces, getting the desired shape and dimensions using a spinning tool called a milling cutter. Unlike a lathe machine – on which a workpiece spins and the cutting tool moves into it to create cylindrical shapes – the CNC milling machine employs end mills, dovetail cutters, face mills, and various other milling cutters to machine flat and irregular surfaces, including those that are concave or convex.

Our CNC specialists are well versed in milling, and the process is relatively simple. One of our machinists fastens a workpiece to the machine’s work table using a holding device, like a clamp or vise. The workpiece is moved through the X and Y-axis, per the CAD or CAM programmed code inserted by our machinist that is then translated into G-code, as the milling cutter removes the material.

What Are the Vital Parts of a CNC Milling Machine? | CNC Machines | Roberson Machine Company

What Are the Important Parts of a CNC Milling Machine?

The following are five key elements of a CNC milling machine:

  1. Column and Base
  2. The cast iron column and base support the other parts of the milling machine operations. The column rests on the base and typically houses the oil and coolant system. The base is the foundation of the machine, carrying the weight, while the column supports the knee and work table. The weight of these two components ensures there is minimum vibration and better surface finishes even after the heaviest cuts.

  3. Knee
  4. The knee is attached to the column by a dovetail cut, and is supported and adjusted up and down by a vertical positioning screw, also called an elevating screw, running vertically from the base. The gearing mechanism is enclosed within the knee, while the saddle rests on top and moves transversely to the column and provides motion in a horizontal direction to the workpiece.

  5. Power Feed Mechanism
  6. The power feed mechanism is contained in the knee and is used to control longitudinal (left and right), transverse (in and out), and vertical (up and down) feeds. Feed rates are changed either through the G-code or by turning the speed selection handle.

  7. Work Table
  8. As the name suggests, most of the machining work happens here. The table is a rectangular piece of cast iron with T-slots for clamping a workpiece directly to it or fastening a vise or other work holding device to hold smaller parts and machine them safely and efficiently. The longitudinal variable speed power feed and handles are part of the work table. Additionally, an X-axis leadscrew under the table engages with a nut and assists the table in moving horizontally.

  9. Spindle
  10. One of the essential parts of the milling machine is the spindle. It holds and drives the cutting tools, as well as serving as a placeholder for drill chucks, collets, and other tools. Because of the different shapes and mechanical application methods of the milling cutters, a CNC milling machine can perform various milling jobs, including:

    • Plane milling
    • Surface milling
    • Angular milling
    • Groove milling
    • Gear milling
    • Cam milling

What Are the Vital Parts of a CNC Milling Machine? | Roberson Machine Company

Roberson Machine Company has the right machines, machinists, resources, and experience to help you and your company excel. In addition to CNC milling, we are a leader in the following services for a multitude of clients in multiple industries:

Give us a call today at 573-646-3996 to speak with a member of our CNC milling team, or use our online quote tool to see how our experienced specialists can meet your machining needs.

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Brad Roberson / 

Brad Roberson is one of the owners of Roberson Machine Company. Please feel free to contact us to receive a quote or ask any questions you may have.



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