We do the CNC machining of large aluminum parts on one of our milling centers with an active range of 4 meters. It means that we are capable of machining parts that are maximum 4 meters long. The maximum width is 400 millimeters In addition we guarantee tolerances of +/-0.05mm.
Usually we use extruded aluminum to fabricate long parts. The benefit of aluminum extrusion is that there is only little loss of raw material due to the CNC machining. The disadvantage is that the design of the product is limited to the section of the extrusion. Nevertheless, this is a very common way to fabricate aluminum frames and LED lighting fixtures, among other products.
The picture shows aluminum extruded and milled parts used to fabricate LED lighting fixtures.
CNC machining is one of the manufacturing services we offer. Therefore, we have over 20 milling and turning machines in our workshop.
The milling process explained
Milling large aluminum parts requires expertise, precision, and state-of-the-art equipment to deliver quality results. The process involves removing material from a workpiece using a rotating cutting tool to achieve the desired shape and size. Milling is widely used in the manufacturing industry to produce parts for various applications, including aerospace, automotive, and industrial machinery.
Aluminum is a popular material for milling due to its lightweight, high strength-to-weight ratio, and excellent corrosion resistance. However, milling aluminum parts presents unique challenges, such as the tendency to gum up and generate heat, which can lead to poor surface finish, tool wear, and even damage to the workpiece.
To overcome these challenges, skilled machinists use specialized techniques, tools, and cutting parameters to ensure optimal performance and quality. One of the critical factors is selecting the right tool geometry, such as the number of flutes, helix angle, and edge radius, to balance cutting forces, chip evacuation, and surface finish.
Another crucial aspect is choosing the appropriate cutting fluid, which can help to cool the tool and workpiece, lubricate the cutting zone, and flush away chips. Various cutting fluids are available, including water-based, oil-based, and synthetic, each with its advantages and limitations.
Using the right machining parameters
The milling process also involves selecting the right machining parameters, such as cutting speed, feed rate, and depth of cut, to achieve the desired material removal rate and surface finish while avoiding excessive tool wear or deflection. Machinists use cutting simulations and experimental data to optimize the parameters for each application.
In addition to selecting the right tools and parameters, milling large aluminum parts requires robust and stable equipment to withstand the high cutting forces and maintain accuracy and repeatability. CNC milling machines with rigid structures, high-power spindles, and advanced control systems are ideal for large-scale milling operations.
Furthermore, the fixture system is critical for ensuring secure and stable clamping of the workpiece during milling. Machinists use various types of fixtures, such as vise jaws, clamps, and custom-made fixtures, to hold the workpiece firmly while allowing access to the cutting tool.
Post processing large machined aluminum parts
Milling large extruded aluminum parts also involves post-processing steps, such as deburring, chamfering, and surface finishing, to improve the part’s aesthetics, functionality, and performance. Machinists use various methods, including manual and automated processes, to achieve the desired results, such as sanding, polishing, and coating.
In summary, milling large aluminum parts is a complex process that requires skilled machinists, advanced equipment, and precise techniques to deliver quality results. By selecting the right tools, cutting parameters, cutting fluids, workholding systems, and post-processing methods, machinists can optimize the milling process to meet the customer’s requirements and expectations.
At Davantech, we specialize in milling large aluminum parts for various industries, including aerospace, automotive, and defense. Our experienced machinists use state-of-the-art equipment and advanced techniques to deliver quality results that meet or exceed customer specifications. Contact us today to learn more about our milling capabilities and how we can help you with your next project.