If you are making a prototype part from a blueprint, you may have several machining option for doing so. For some prototypes, you may need the perfection a CNC lathe produces. Some other parts may be easily manufactured using a CNC punch press. However, for some prototypes, a milling machine may be your best option. Check out these tips for getting the most out a milling machine during the manufacturing of your customer's prototypes.
Milling Machine And Variable Transmission Speeds
Variable speed transmission changes can be beneficial to your production speed when using smaller tools, the benefit being you can get a part made faster. When manufacturing a prototype, getting done fast can be a benefit to your profits. However, always take the time to ensure higher variable speeds will be productive before speeding up. In some cases, a prototype can be a new part that has never been made or used, so getting it right the first time may mean making the first few parts at a slower variable speed.
Avoiding Quill Feed Engagement Problems
Maintaining a faster level of production can be challenging for some aspects of prototype production. For example, if the prototype you are making has a hole with a large diameter, you could end up spending a lot of time on a milling machine making the part by hand. For this reason, engaging the quill's power feed for setting it at a certain speed is best. However, if you have trouble getting the quill engagement lever to move into place like it is being blocked, it is likely that the dog clutch (internal gears) could be off-kilter and not falling into place. Instead, the teeth on the gears could be hitting one another directly. To make engagement easier, moving the spindle until the lever, and the gear teeth, goes into place is necessary. Successful quill operation on a milling machine can help you manufacture your customer's part faster and more accurately.
Milling Machines With Power Feed Attachments
Some milling machines have a power feed built into them, but some do not. If your milling machine has its power feed as an attachment on the axis, you can use it as a beneficiary supplement. When making a prototype, you may prefer it to have a nice, smooth finish. While you can get a decent finish by using the milling machine's hand crank, you will more than likely get a better one using the power feed.
Many machine shops use a milling machine for making smaller parts and ones that are not a part of many more in a set or order. If you have a customer that wants you to make the prototype for their part, consider using a milling machine for getting the best results.