In the Virmer catalog, a wide range of CNC router machines is represented. This versatile equipment is designed for machining different materials. The name of the milling machine came from the main tool, a mill. A mill is a cutter with one or more cutting ends.
CNC router machines are modern automated equipment. The machine tools are controlled by computer programs. This allows not only to speed up the operation process but also to perform machining of complex products.
The operating principle of a CNC router
Before the advent of CNC (computer numerical control) machines, the product's machining was labor-intensive, technically complex, and time-consuming. Machines were controlled manually. Automated milling machines have simplified mass production. And now machine control has become programmed.
The material processing on manual milling machines was performed based on the hydraulic system. Identical items were produced according to master forms. The integration of computerized control has made it possible to control all machine movements from the change of spindle speed to the adjustment of cutter movement.
The work of any machine is controlled by an operator who performs the following actions:
- Install necessary cutters;
- Change layouts;
- Start the control program;
- Power on the machine;
- Supervise the operation process.
An operator should also be able to create control programs in which models of future products are designed. This program is loaded into the control unit that is responsible for the machine tools’ movements. After setting up the parameters, installing the necessary tools, and attaching the material, the milling machine starts its work.
During the milling process, the machine tool (a cutter) contacts the material performing movements. And after continuous cutting, the desired shape of the product is obtained.
In CNC routers, movements occur according to the coordinates of a model (layout) built with software. To work with models, CAD and CAM software is used. The former is responsible for designing the model, and the latter builds an algorithm according to which the machine reproduces the real object.
Types of CNC router machines
CNC router machines are automated equipment for material processing. According to the design feature, they are divided into:
In horizontal machines, the spindle is horizontally oriented, and in vertical ones, the spindle is vertically oriented. When choosing between horizontal and vertical machines, it is important to consider the size and shape of the item and the number of surfaces to be milled.
Also, milling machines are divided into three categories according to the number of axes.
The more axes the machine has, the more complex its control system is, and the higher is the price. At the same time, 5-axes milling machines are characterized by the greatest capabilities and precision.
Specific characteristics of cnc router machines
There is a further classification of milling machines that is based on their specific characteristics.
- Bed-type. The spindle moves along the XYZ axes, while the workpiece is directly affixed to the worktable (machine’s bed).
- Knee-type. The machine comes with a fixed spindle and a vertically adjustable table.
- Ram-type. The spindle is affixed to a movable housing, and the machine tool moves along XY axes.
- Planer-type. These machines are similar to bed-type ones and have a fixed worktable and a movable spindle. The main difference between two types is the possibility of using several spindles in planer-type machines.
How to select a CNC milling machine?
The choice of a CNC milling depends on tasks and production scale. It is important to check the reliability of the machine’s manufacturer and availability of components. Virmer guarantees high quality and durability of presented equipment. We are chosen throughout Europe and in the United States.
To make the right choice of a CNC milling machine for personal use, it is recommended to consider its technical characteristics, the type of the processed material, and the level of performance required.
Gantry and working area
The size of the working area depends on material dimensions. For machining small items, compact machines are quite suitable, while for large workpieces, it is better to choose large-format milling machines. The height of the spindle stroke depends on the material thickness.
To process small-sized sheets of material, we recommend considering the Wattsan 0404 mini and the Wattsan 0609 mini.
The Wattsan 0404 mini comes with a small working area of 400x400x100 mm, and its weight is 100 kg. The Wattsan 0609 mini has a larger working area – 600x900x100 mm and is two times heavier than the previous model. Such dimensions make these machines compact and relatively mobile. The CNC millings are suitable for woodworking, cutting acrylic and composites, and machining aluminum. It is used for 3-D milling and producing furniture, souvenirs, doors, and some other products.
CNC milling machines can be also classified according to the type of controlling:
- Using a computer. The machine is connected to a computer with installed software. The convenience lies in the direct transfer of files from the computer to the equipment. Ideal for personal production.
- Using a DSP-controller. A remote control in which files with layouts are loaded via USB-port is used instead of a PC. Very convenient option for mass production.
- Using a control system. This equipment allows many machine’s settings to be made automatically.
As standard, Wattsan milling machines are equipped with the NCStudio control system, but depending on the customer’s individual needs, machines can be upgraded. For example, DSP-controllers can be installed for more convenient work in series production.
Complete set of a CNC milling machine
It is the most important criterion for choosing equipment. Of course, much depends on the individual requirements of production. The larger the production volume is, the higher technical characteristics should be.
Usually CNC milling machines are distinguished by the following parameters:
- Spindle power;
- Travel speed;
- Vacuum table;
- Number of cutters;
- Cutter service life;
- Engine power;
- Working area size.
When choosing a milling machine, we also recommend paying attention to the machine’s body durability and weight. It should be optimal for operating loads and eliminate vibrations. Wattsan machines are characterized by a durable and stable frame because it undergoes several heat treatments.
Here are the main criteria for choosing a CNC milling machines. If you still have questions, Virmer managers are always ready to consult you.