Horizontal vs Vertical Milling: The Differences Explained

Milling machines are standard equipment in machine shops. They are used for removing material from stationary workpieces with mobile cutting tools. Different types of work are better performed with different types of milling machines. Machine shop professionals have the knowledge and experience to know when a piece needs horizontal vs vertical milling. 

Each type of machine performs similar operations but has its own unique characteristics. Horizontal vs vertical milling depends on what will best produce the type of work that is necessary for the job in question. 

Vertical Milling

Vertical milling machines are the most common milling machines found in machine shops. They feature a working surface to which material is clamped. Then, a cutting tool on a spindle that moves vertically is used to remove material from the work, shaping it according to the needs of the job. Vertical milling machines simply mill material from a workpiece on a vertical axis – up and down. 

In addition, two different types of vertical milling machines can be used. Turret milling machines allow for the spindle and worktable to move perpendicular and parallel to the axis. Bed milling machines only allow the table to move perpendicular to the axis. Turret milling machines are more versatile, and therefore more popular because they allow greater freedom of movement for accurate milling. 

Horizontal Milling

Horizontal milling machines are basically the same, except the milling is performed by a spindle and cutting tools that move horizontally across a workpiece. This change in the basic orientation allows for deeper, heavier cuts in the material. Horizontal milling machines typically require shorter and thicker cutting tools because of this. 

Horizontal vs Vertical Milling 

When choosing horizontal vs vertical milling, the machinist will first determine the type of cuts required, including their length and depth. Vertical milling uses longer and thinner cutting tools for more precise milling. Horizontal milling uses shorter and stronger tools to perform heavier, deeper, and/or wider cuts, such as slots or grooves for movable parts. 

Both types of machines have their place in modern machine shops. Horizontal vs vertical milling is a choice that skilled and experienced machinists make every day for a wide variety of jobs and tasks. 

Whether you use horizontal vs vertical milling or any other type of CNC machining, Accurate Machine Tool Services offers preventive maintenance, mechanical or electrical repairs, and parts for a wide variety of equipment brands and models. Call us today to keep your machine shop up and running at peak efficiency.