The right milling machine for the specific project or series production is often not so simple. The choice of manufacturers and CNC machine types is very large today. However, this article is intended to roughly explain the most important points to consider when selecting a CNC machine.
- The type of material you want to work with
- The accuracy you need
- The size of the component you want to work with
- Your budget for the machine
- The experience you have with CNC machining
- Your expectations of the machine
The type of material you want to work with
Choosing the right CNC machine for your specific project is important to ensure you get the best possible results. For example, if you want to mill hard metal, you need a machine that can handle hard metals. High stiffness and a strong vibration setting are important to prevent warping of the material and inaccurate milling.
The type of material will affect whether the machine works wet or dry. Most CNC machines are designed for hard materials such as metal have a coolant system that cools the metal during the milling process. This is important to prevent the material from deforming or breaking. But also to protect the milling cutter from overheating. However, the cooling lubricant is anything but environmentally friendly, so that many manufacturing companies already dispense with cooling lubricant or use only minimal quantity lubrication.
However, at METROM we always work dry, as it is advantageous in terms of energy and the environment. However, this requires a certain milling strategy during machining to avoid overheating. Nevertheless, we achieve excellent machining accuracies.
Other milling machines are designed for soft materials such as plastic or wood. These machines do not have a lubricant system and are usually not as powerful as CNC milling machines designed for hard materials.
The accuracy you need
If you have a project that requires high accuracy, it is important to choose a milling machine that can meet those requirements. There are different types of milling machines with varying levels of accuracy. The higher-end machines tend to be more expensive, but they also offer higher accuracy. However, the accuracy depends also on the quality of the control system. The accuracy of a modern standard CNC milling machine is nowadays about 0.002 mm.
In order to achieve high accuracy, machine foundations are often needed to keep the milling machine in an optimal position and minimize vibrations. However, such features are very expensive and often only necessary in companies that run CNC milling machines in continuous operation.
The size of the component you want to work with
The size of the material you want to work with is another important factor in choosing the right milling machine. Most machining centers have a maximum machining area of approximately 2.000 x 2.000 mm.
Nevertheless, if you want to mill larger parts, you will need a machine with a correspondingly larger working area. Such machines are called large milling machines and are usually more expensive than conventional CNC milling machines. However, such portal milling machines can have machining areas of over 5.000 x 10.000 mm.
Nowadays, attempts are being made to replace the normal CNC machine by means of CNC robot milling machines. But these achieve very inaccurate results.
Our machines do not require a foundation due to the special machine frame (icosahedron), which itself has a high rigidity and thus minimizes vibrations. Have a look at our CNC machining centers P-Series or mobile machines PM-Series!
Your budget for your milling machine
CNC milling machines are available in different price ranges. The cheaper models are well suited for smaller projects and are also suitable for hobby users. However, if you want to achieve professional results, it is recommended to invest in a higher quality machine.
Prices of modern milling start at around 200,000 euros and can be significantly higher due to the size, material and accuracy. Note that many CNC machines require a costly foundation to ensure optimal work. But this is not an absolute necessity and can be omitted depending on the application.
In addition, other machine components such as a cooling unit or a dust extraction system may be required. These costs should also be included in your budget.
The experience you have with CNC machining
Do you have enough know-how in CNC machining or do you have a CNC professional in your company? Then you certainly know which CNC machine is best suited. But are you undecided or inexperienced which machine could fit or unhappy with the CNC machine you already have at your disposal? Then maybe our unique Pentapod CNC milling machine is something for you. Our CNC machines are completely different from the basic structure, but from the control system actually like conventional CNC machines. Feel free to contact us and we guarantee you a completely new experience!
Are you looking to mill small quantities or mass produce? Then it’s worth considering whether a CNC router is the right choice for you at all. In many cases a job shop can achieve the same or better results at a lower price. We recommend millfax GmbH as a very professional and competent contract manufacturer. They manufacture parts with our Pentapod CNC machines and can quickly and accurately machine complex parts.
Your expectations of the milling machine
When buying a milling CNC machine, you should first consider what kind of projects you want to accomplish with it.
Do you want to simply mill prototypes or do you want to do small batches? Do you want to realize easy or complex components? The answer to these questions will help you choose the right CNC machine for your project.
In addition to standard CNC machines which are sufficient for most projects, there are also specialized machines. For example, if you want to accomplish complex components, you will need a machine with a rotating milling head option. This will allow you to machine the workpiece in any direction like our 5-axis CNC machines.
Another important factor when choosing a CNC machine is the material you will be working with. Most machines can easily handle various metals and plastics. However, there are also milling machines that are specifically designed to work with hard materials like steel or titanium.
If you plan to work mainly with soft plastics, an ordinary milling machine will do just fine. However, for harder materials we recommend a specialized milling machine.
There are many different types of CNC machines on the market, and it is important to choose the one that is best suited for your specific project. In this article, we’ve discussed some of the most important factors you should consider when choosing a milling machine.
If you’re unsure which router is right for you, feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to help you out here!