What is milling machine

What is milling machine?

Milling machines have been around for well over 300 years. They are one of the most applied industrial machining tools due to the quality and speed they bring to the table. Understanding the basics of what is a milling machine?can give manufacturers a great alternative to stay ahead of the competition.

This article will provide an in-depth guide into the working process of a milling machine. You will learn about the many different types of milling machines, tools, benefits, and a lot of other information that will improve the outcome of any operation. Without waiting any further, let us get into the heart of the matter rightaway:

A milling machine is an industrial machine tool that creates a part by removing material from a stationary workpiece with rotary cutting tools.

A milling machine is the main type of equipment used for milling, a subtractive manufacturing process, that can be controlled manually or with Computer Numerical Control (CNC). Milling machines can perform various functions by changing the shape and type of cutting tools. Due to this versatility, a milling machine is one of the most beneficial pieces of equipment in a workshop.

Eli Whitney invented the milling machine in 1818 in New Haven, Connecticut. Before the invention of the milling machine, workers used hand files to create parts manually. This process was highly time-consuming and completely dependent on the workers skill.

The development of a milling machine provided dedicated machinery that could create the part in less time and without requiring the manual skill of the workforce. Early milling machines were used for government contracts such as manufacturing rifle parts.

A milling machine can be used for many different purposes such as machining flat surfaces, irregular surfaces, drilling, boring, threading, and slotting. Complex parts such as gears can be crafted easily with a milling machine. Milling machines are a multi-purpose machinery due to the wide variety of parts made using these.


There are many different types of milling machines which leads to several variations in machine components. Some standard components that all milling machines share are:

·Base: The base is the foundational base component of the milling machine. The entire machine is mounted on the base. It is made of rigid materials like cast iron that can support the machines weight. Additionally, the base also absorbs the shock generated in the milling operation.

·Column: The column is the frame on which the machines moving parts are based. It provides fixtures for the driving mechanism of the machine.

·Knee: The knee of the milling machine is present over the base. It supports the weight of the work table. The knee contains a guideway and screw mechanism to change its height. It is attached to the column for vertical movement and support.

·Saddle: The saddle connects the worktable to the milling machine knee. The saddle is connected to the knee with guideways. This helps in the movement of the worktable perpendicular to the column.

·Spindle: The spindle is the part that mounts the cutting tool on the machine. In multi-axis milling machines, the spindle is capable of rotary movements.

·Arbor: Arbor is a type of tool adapter (or tool holder) that supports adding a side cutter or niche milling tools. It is aligned next to the spindle.

·Worktable: The worktable is the milling machine part that holds the workpiece. The workpiece is tightly secured on the worktable with the help of clamps or fixtures. The table is usually capable of longitudinal movements. Multi-axis milling machines contain rotary tables.

·Headstock: Headstock is the part that holds the spindle and connects it to the rest of the machine. The movement of the spindle is made possible with the motors in the headstock.

·Overarm: The overarm bears the weight of the spindle and arbor assembly. It is present on top of the column. It is also known as overhanging arm.


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