What is the Difference Between a Horizontal and Vertical Milling Machine?
Milling machines remove material from a workpiece in a stationary position utilizing a cutting tool that rotates as it cuts. The cutting tool presses against the workpieces as it rotates, eliminating the material gradually until the desired part shape is achieved. Two types of milling machines are commonly used – horizontal and vertical. At JBC Machine, we are your source for CNC milling operations that meet the needs of many industrial applications.
Let’s take a look at vertical and horizontal milling machines and their distinctions in operation.
Vertical Milling Machines
The vertical milling machine is the more common of the two. It has a spindle which is vertically oriented which holds and rotates the cutting tool against the workpiece. While this spindle presses against the workpiece cutting away material, it travels up and down.
Vertical milling machines come in two categories – turret and bed milling machines. In bed milling machines, the table only moves perpendicular to the axis. In turret milling machines, the spindle and table are able to travel perpendicular and parallel to the axis, making them the preferred choice among many manufacturers.
Horizontal Milling Machines
In horizontal milling machines, there is also a spindle with a cutting tool that pushes against a workpiece to cut away material. However, this machine differs in some ways from the vertical milling machine.
The orientation of the spindle characterizes the major difference between the two milling machines. The spindle is oriented horizontally with the horizontal milling machine and vertically with the vertical milling machine. Horizontal milling machines usually have thicker and shorter cutting tools, while vertical milling machines often have thin, long cutting instruments.
Also, horizontal milling machines have the capability of making deeper and heavier cuts than vertical milling machines. For this reason, many manufacturers use them to cut slots and grooves into workpieces.
As one can see, there are reasons to use either type of milling and the choice may depend partly on common project needs and desired capabilities.