Industrial milling applications utilize end mills; these are cutting tools, a variation of milling cutters. Not to be confused with drill bits, end mills have diverse geometry and applications, in contrast to the similar-looking drill bits that are only meant to function in an axial direction. End milling pieces are designed to cut in multiple directions, excluding certain versions that are confined to moving along one axis.
For cutting and milling applications, end mills are the go-to tools. From profile milling to tracer milling, face milling, and plunging, these specialized tools come in a variety of materials. Most end mills are made of either high-speed steel (HSS) or cemented carbide. Compared to their carbide counterparts, HSS end mills last longer and retain their sharpness for a more extended period. Nevertheless, they are typically the more expensive option. Carbide end mills, on the other hand, have a shorter lifespan but come at a lower cost.
End Mills: An Overview of Their Varieties
Ball end mills have a softly-shaped, rounded tip that allows them to create curved designs on surfaces.
End mills with a bull nose design feature a rounded tip which is ideal for machining flat surfaces.
Chamfer end mills feature a tip that has been specially beveled, providing the capability to cut at an angle.
– The rounded tip of corner rounding end mills allows for the exacting cutting of corners, delivering a spectacularly neat and precise result.
Fabricating holes is made easy by way of drilling end mills. Their design affords a pointed tip, built for the purpose of focusing on a single spot to make punctures.
End mills for engraving arise due to their sharp points that possess the capability of inscribing surfaces with precision and skill.
A flat end mill is a tool with a distinctively flat end tip, making it suitable for carving out level-topped surfaces.
End mills with metric-sized diameters and shank sizes, referred to as ‘metric end mills’, are designed for specialized cutting tasks.
Small and mighty, miniature end mills boast cutting diameters and shanks that are highly diminished in comparison to their full-sized counterparts.
End mills featuring a pointed tip enable users to effectively incline the tool while cutting. Referred to as nose end mills, this specialized design provides a versatile and precise amount of operation.
With their rounded tips, radius end mills are effective tools for cutting curved contours and sharp corners.
A rugged profile is applied with roughing end mills, which effectively tears away material in a much faster manner than usual.
Square end mills feature a square-shaped tip, allowing for material to be cut into squared-off corners.
Dissimilar to standard end mills, tapered end mills are equipped with a narrowed point which is designed to cut at an oblique angle.
End mills come in an array of dimensions and designs. Their diameter is based on the diameter of the cutting tip and their length, including the shank that is housed by the tool holder, is defined by their overall length.
End mills can be made out of a selection of materials, yet the most frequently used are high speed steel (HSS) and cemented carbide. Costing more yet lasting longer, HSS end mills’ sharper edges give them an advantage. Still, carbide end mills, being cheaper and not as long-lasting, may be better options for more compressed projects.
When selecting an end mill, it can be outfitted with various configurations of flutes depending on the project’s needs. The most common set-ups are two or four flutes. With more flutes on the end mill tool, more material can be removed with each revolution – it’s an efficient output boost for precise machining applications.
A medley of coatings is available for end mills, with some of the most popular options being TiN (titanium nitride), TiCN (titanium carbonitride), and AlTiN (aluminum titanium nitride). Each provides a protective layer against wear and tear, thereby significantly extending the life of the tool.
In milling operations, end mills are regularly used to achieve desired outcomes. This can include profile milling, tracer milling, face milling, and plunging – all of which have individually unique operations but are widely employed.
The production of unique, three-dimensional contours and designs is made possible with the use of profile milling. This valuable process has the capability to create intricate elements, such as:
Utilizing tracer milling, a plethora of shapes can be produced, such as:
Through face milling, a multitude of shapes can be crafted; these include, but are not limited to:
A Diverse Array of Designs Created through Plunging