CNC machinery is widely used throughout the manufacturing industry, and there are lots of different types of equipment that can be computer-controlled in this way.
Boring mills are just one example and, in spite of what the name might suggest, the way they function is actually intriguing.
To bring you up to speed, here is a look at the ins and outs of CNC boring mills, covering the different types and how they operate.
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Brief introduction to CNC tech
Before getting started, it is worth establishing what CNC represents more generally. It is an acronym that stands for computer numerical control, and in turn this means that any machinery which uses a CNC system is able to operate according to a pre-programmed set of instructions, rather than being manually operated by a human worker.
This allows for a semi-automated approach to production, and also means that modern CNC boring mills and other equipment of this kind can work faster and with greater precision than was achievable in the past.
The basics of boring mills
The principles of CNC boring mills are straightforward, even if from the outside they seem quite complex. Their main job is to bore holes in workpieces through the use of a cutting tool, with the material itself usually secured to the workbed to ensure stability and accuracy.
There are different types of boring mills to consider; for example, horizontal boring mills are larger and more specialized in terms of their functionality compared with modern multi-axis machines that are capable of manoeuvring the cutting tool to a more varied number of positions.
In terms of the number of axes at play, this can vary between three and five, with the greater the number of axes of operation representing a higher degree of control and flexibility, also allowing for more complex components to be milled.
Important facets of operation & material compatibility
Designs may differ, but there are a few things about CNC boring mills which are pretty consistent across the board.
One example of this is the requirement to apply lubricant to the cutting tool while the boring is taking place. This not only allows the tool to do its job more effectively, but also prevents the build-up of heat generated by the friction of the tool against the material, which might otherwise create a fire hazard and also do unwanted damage to the workpiece.
This brings us neatly onto the discussion of what types of materials can be machined with the help of CNC boring mills. The list is long, and includes everything from metals and plastics to wood, ceramic and composites.
More often than not it is metal workpieces that will be manipulated using boring mills, because the use of this equipment is faster, more efficient and significantly more accurate than any traditional manufacturing techniques that are available.
So now you know a little more about what CNC boring mills can do, what are they actually used for? Again this can vary depending on the needs of the client, but manufacturers can put this type of equipment to work to produce prototypes during the development of new products, or to make specialized components which require all of the aforementioned perks of CNC technology to be made.
Because CNC machinery can be programmed precisely, it is ideal for customization, and making bespoke parts with boring mills is a breeze, so long as the right specialist designers and operators are involved.
Ultimately it should be no surprise that boring mills are found in workshops and factories of all sizes, and they look set to remain relevant even as new manufacturing technologies emerge.