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Chapter 4. How to Use a Milling Machine

Basic Operation of a Milling Machine

How to Use a Milling Machine

There are several types of milling machines. One is called a vertical milling machine as shown in Figure 1. It has high flexibility and good handling, though it has lower processing speed than another type of the milling machines.

In the milling macine, a rotating tool cuts a material. As the cutting tool, a drill or an endmill is used. The table of the milling machine can be adjusted accurately at the x- (side direction), y- (vertical direction) and z- (height direction) axises with operating handles as shown in Figure 2.

Fig.1, Milling Machine

Fig.2, Handles of a Milling Machine

Accessories of Milling Machine

There are several accessories for the milling process except the cutting tools. Following accessoriess are very useful.


A vise is used for fixing of the material, and it is fixed to the table of the milling machine firmly. In the case of the cutting of a large-sized material, the vise can be remived from the table. But when the vise is installed again, it has to be fix accurately in the x-axis. We should not remove the vise except unavoidable cases.

Fig.3, Vise
Digital Scale

The table of the milling machine can be adjusted accurately at the x-, y- and z- axises. We can adjust the positions with seeing the scales on the operating handles. Moreover, if a digital scales as shown in Figure 4 is set, it is efficient that we operate with seeing the values of the digital scale. The digital scale indicates with the minimum unit of 5/1000 mm of x- and y- axises.

Fig.4, Digital Scale
Point Master

In order to get a high accurate processing, the zero point must be adjusted exactly. A point master as shown in Figure 5 is the convenient tool for the adjustment. LEDs of the point master light when the point touches a metal material including the vise. We can find the zero point easily with this tool.

Fig.5, Point Master

Mechanical Parts Made by a Milling Machine

The parts of various form can be made from using the milling machine. Mechanical parts made by the milling machine are introduced in followings.

Fig.6, A Part of a Fish Robot
This is the part used for the power unit of a fish robot, UPF-2001. Its complicated form is made using an endmill.

Fig.7, Backbone of a Fish Robot
Some parts manufactured using the milling machine are put together. Almost all parts are the simple form near a rectangular parallelepiped.

(a) Connecting Rods

(b) A Drive Mechanism of a Stirling Engine
Fig.8, Connecting Rods of a Stirling Engine

These are connecting rods of a 50 W Class Stirling engine, Mini-Ecoboy. Since the thickness of parts is quite thin, the fixation to the table is difficult, and it is hard to manufacture. And since it was the parts which need remarkable accuracy, we had to be careful in the processing.

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