Machining centers, also known as machining center mills, automatically repeat operations like drilling, reaming, tapping, milling and boring on a work piece. Most machining centers are computer numerically controlled (CNC). CNC machining centers vary widely by their capabilities, size and power. With so many types of machining centers available, you can find the one that best suits your needs.
Suppliers across the nation offer great support and services for customers buying machining centers. It helps to know a few basics about machining centers before buying one.
1. Know the difference between vertical and horizontal machining centers.
2. Understand what the five-axis vertical machining center can do.
3. Figure out whether you should look at mini machining centers or larger ones.
4. Determine what you can afford and consider purchasing used machining centers.
Purchase horizontal machining centers or vertical machining centersA horizontal machining center's tool rotates around the horizontal axis. A vertical machine center's tool rotates around the vertical axis. Vertical machine centers feature easy work piece mounting. A CNC horizontal machining center can remove a large amount of material, but has less accuracy than a vertical machine.
Explore the benefits of five-axis machining centersFive-axis machining can reduce tooling cost and labor. Both vertical and horizontal milling machines can come with two additional axes in addition to the three X, Y and Z axes. Five-axis machining can reduce time and costs associated with using more than one machine.
Determine what size machining center you needCompact machines can handle the manufacturing of smaller parts just as well as larger machines. They're perfect for smaller work spaces and less expensive than larger machines.
Evaluate used machining centersUsed machining centers can be a bargain, especially if the machines are late-model repossessions or trade-ins.
- Check out industrial trade shows where manufacturers' reps give out information on their companies' products to find out about the newest generation of machining centers.
- Ask colleagues, members of your trade union and people in your professional association if they can recommend any particular machining centers.
- When you're buying used equipment, make sure the machining center is under warranty-just like a new one.