This post originally appeared on the In the Loupe blog.
Have you got a tough job ahead, either because your machine is too lightweight or because of challenging geometry on the part (deep pockets, for example)? If so, maybe plunge milling (also called plunge roughing) is the answer.
[youtube]YOSwl08-Yeg[/youtube] When it comes to machining, there are always a bunch of ways to do the same cut. Ask five machinists how to do a specific operation, and you’re bound to get eight different answers. Face milling is no different. When you’re looking to get a precisely-flat surface or you want a finish that really makes your part shine (literally and/or figuratively), the process of face milling can help you get there. The most common tool used when machining is an end mill. Typically, the process of cutting with an end mill utilizes both the end of the cutter, as well as the sides, which allows for pocketing and ramped cutting procedures. Face milling, in general, is defined as the process of cutting surfaces that are perpendicular to the cutter axis, or the faces of a part. Shell mills and fly cutters are most often used for face milling, but depending on what kind of surface finish you’re looking for, you could use an end mill as well.
If you’re already using a mill, a natural extension of your shop would be to add turning capabilities with a lathe. CNC milling and CNC lathe work are quite similar, but there are some glaring differences that are easy to miss if you’re new to turning.