Top 7 Milling Tools for CNC Cutting



There are almost as many distinct variations of CNC tools as there are finished products that could be milled. If you are familiar with the functions these tools perform, it will be much more straightforward for you to select the ones appropriate for the project you are working on. When it comes to the amount of time it takes and the quality of the work to be produced, choosing the appropriate cutting tool for your CNC milling machine, the material, and the type of milling can have a significant impact.

So here is a list of prominent milling tools utilized for CNC cutting.

Top 7 Milling Tools for CNC Cutting 

Different types of CNC milling tools make it feasible to achieve the highest level of product customization. While cutting into and shaping different types of materials, several tools are employed. The tool that should be utilized to cut also gets decided by the finalized design of the cut. 

Aside from these factors, specialists choose their tools based on how well they match the required speed with the desired finish. Depending on the ultimate purpose of the completed product, one of these two considerations might take precedence over the other.

The top 7 milling tools for CNC cutting are: 

1. End Mills

There are numerous kinds of end mills, each of which is designed for a particular kind of cutting. All end mills cut at an angle of ninety degrees.  A center-cutting end mill is what's required to make a vertical cut. These mills can cut both the center and the margins of the workpiece.

Non-center cutting end mills feature a hole in the middle of the tool and only contain cutting edges mostly along the ends of the mill. Since roughing end mills have fewer flutes than standard end mills, they are the tools of choice for making the initial cuts in a workpiece. You will need finishing end mills with additional flutes to obtain a design similar to the part you want to produce. It will enable you to deliver a component that is cut with immense precision.

The tool employed on a project will vary depending on several factors, the most important of which is the number of flutes and the material of its composition. The production of end mills typically involves the use of cobalt, high-speed steel, and carbide as raw materials. More details about the different types of mills (as per their material) are given below.

  • Cobalt: Cobalt mills only contain eight percent cobalt, with the remaining construction built of steel.  Cobalt mills can run at a pace that is 10 percent quicker than their counterparts.

  • Carbide: The use of carbide end mills is recommended for finishing procedures.

  • High-Speed Steel (HSS): It is the go-to material for mills of all kinds. It strikes an optimal balance between tool cost and service life. Since HSS has sufficient flexibility, it can be utilized for cutting iron and other materials.

End mills may perform a wide variety of cuts, the type of tool used depends on the type of cut being made:

  • Face Milling

It is the process of just cutting into one surface of a material.

  • Side Milling

It is used when chamfer mills are being employed to create beveled edges. To penetrate and smooth off the corner, you move the mill along the material's edge.

  • Ramping

Ramping is a way of cutting at an angle into a surface, usually a diagonal cut through the material. It produces an angled toolpath while concurrently milling in the radial and axial directions. Toolpaths for ramping can be either circular or linear.

  • Plunge Milling

It causes the end mill to plunge vertically into the workpiece. Like ramping, plunge milling necessitates using a center-cutting end mill to clean out the material from the hole's inside and perimeter.

  • Slot Milling

Slot milling creates slots using an end mill to carve a groove in a material while cutting the edges on both sides simultaneously.

2. Face Mills

This tool is primarily used to create a level surface on a solid portion of the material. As the first step in milling, this is often performed on the top of the stock to smooth it out. The cutter inserts in a face mill's sole body can be changed for specialized cutting tasks. You would require more cutters to remove metal at a faster rate.

3. Twist Drills

Drill bits resemble end mills in that they have a conical cutting tip on the end of a shaft with one or even more flutes. Twist drills are often made from solid carbide or High-Speed Steel (HSS). The drill's hardness, wear resistance, and lifespan can be improved by applying a gold-colored coating, such as TiN.

4. Fly Cutters

Fly cutters are considered the best to create a fantastic surface finish.  The clockwise motion of these cutting tools produces a mirror-like finish on the material.

5. Center Spotting Drills

These stocky tools first construct a precise conical hole to avoid the drill bit from drifting during a cutting operation and end up drilling the hole at an incorrect site. Screw clearance holes and counterbores can be drilled with the same tool thanks to multi-function drills that spot and countersink.

6. Reamers

Reamers are mainly utilized to enlarge the existing holes in compliance with the tolerance while providing a superior surface finish. They help you ensure the accuracy of the roundness and diameter of a drilled hole. For reamers to work, a pilot hole of roughly the same diameter as the final product must first be bored.

7. Taps and Thread Mills

Taps are tools used to cut threads into the interior of a material. Yet not every thread is produced by a cutting procedure. By applying pressure, Roll Form taps get inserted into holes, and the surrounding material is shaped to fit them.

Thread mills are similar but can be employed to cut internal or external threads.

Concluding Remarks 

The key to successfully machining products and components is selecting the appropriate CNC tool. Learn how each one functions, and keep in mind the use of the most beneficial ones in your manufacturing facility.

Author Bio


Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights for various blogs in CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general.