Plain Milling, also called Surface Milling or Slab Milling, is milling flat surfaces with the milling cutter axis parallel to the surface being milled. Generally, plain milling is done with the workpiece surface mounted parallel to the surface of the milling machine table and the milling cutter mounted on a standard milling machine arbor. The arbor is well supported in a horizontal plane between the milling machine spindle and one or more arbor supports.
Mounting the Workpiece
The workpiece is generally clamped directly to the table or supported in a vise for plain milling. The milling machine table should be checked for alignment before starting to cut. If the workpiece surface to be milled is at an angle to the base plane of the piece, the workpiece should be mounted in a universal vise or on an adjustable angle plate. The holding device should be adjusted so that the workpiece surface is parallel to the table of the milling machine.
Selecting the Cutter
A careful study of the drawing must be made to determine what cutter is best suited for the job. Flat surfaces may be milled with a plain milling cutter mounted on an arbor. Deeper cuts may generally be taken when using narrow cutters than with wide cutters. The choice of milling cutters should be based on the size and shape of the workpiece. If a wide area is to be milled, fewer traverses will be required using a wide cutter. If large quantities of metal are to be removed, a coarse tooth cutter should be used for roughing and a finer tooth cutter should be used for finishing. A relatively slow cutting speed and fast table feed should be used for roughing, and a relatively fast cutting speed and slow table feed used for finishing. The surface should be checked for accuracy after each completed cut.
Figure 4-27. Plain milling.
A typical setup for plain milling is illustrated in Figure 4-27. Note that the milling cutter is positioned on the arbor with sleeves so that it is as close as practical to the milling machine spindle while maintaining sufficient clearance between the vise and the milling machine column. This practice reduces torque in the arbor and permits more rigid support for the cutter.
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