January 18, 2022

What is a CNC Vertical Milling Machine

A CNC Vertical Milling machine has a vertically oriented spindle axis and is a standard milling machine with long and thin cutting tools. The tools are necessary for die-sinking applications, plunge cuts, or drilling. If you want high-quality precision parts, a vertical milling machine is the best choice—industries such as aerospace, electronics, and automotive benefit significantly from the vertical milling machine’s capabilities.

Box-type parts such as gearboxes, spindle boxes, and gear pump shells come from the process of vertical milling. It is also valuable for complex curved parts such as engine impellers, propellers, cams, etc.

What is a CNC  milling machine?

A CNC milling machine is controlled by numerical computer control instead of a physical hand. It is a Computer Numerical Control milling machine used for various functions, including aerospace, electronics, and medical care. The tasks of CNC milling machines are similar to drilling or cutting parts of different shapes which leave no room for human error.

A CNC milling machine works by rotating its cylindrical cutter, moving along multiple axes creating slots, holes, and details in material, converting it into a vehicle or mechanical part.


The most common types of CNC milling machines come vertically or horizontally. Most machines function on three to five-axis to create more precision and details. Many product designs come from ceramics, plastics, metals, etc.

The CNC milling process begins with creating a 2D or 3D Computer-Aided part Design. The finished design then goes to a CNC-compatible file format. The Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software then converts the file into a CNC machine program that reads the machine’s actions and the tooling movement across the workpiece.

The machine starts to rotate the cutting tool once the milling process begins, at speeds reaching up to thousands of RPM. The machine will perform the following actions when the device starts to cut into the workpiece according to the application’s requirements and the type of milling machine.

It slowly feeds the workpiece into the stationary rotating tool.

It moves the tool across the stationary workpiece.

It then pushes the tool and workpiece in tandem with each other.

And this is how the CNC milling machine works. Once done, the product goes to the finishing and post-processing stages.

There’s the preparation of the CNC milling machine by affixing the workpiece to the machine’s work surface then attaching the tools to the device’s spindle.

CNC vertical milling machine parts and functions

The vertical milling machine has various parts that perform differently to achieve a common goal. Let’s look at these parts in detail.

The spindle axis is an upright positioned part of the vertical milling machine. It works by holding the blade cutters and rotating them on the axis of each spindle. The spindle makes drilling and cutting metals easy because they extend according to their requirements.

  • Axes

The vertical milling machine has an X/Y/Z rotational axis and C/A or B, subject to configuration. The CNC controller is used to program these axes using the g code programming language.

  • The Frame

The frame gives stability and rigidity to the milling machine. It is the main structure that supports the milling device. Moreover, it contains the headstock where the spindle is mounted. A headstock that is not strong enough will cause the spindle to malfunction, leading to a shorter lifespan of the cutting tool.

  • CNC control panel

The control panel is the central nervous system of the polling machine. It has electronics that control the various cutting actions using programming functions. It also contains the monitor and the programming buttons for entering data and codes into the system. You can also make use of manual tasks from the control panel.

  • Automatic tool changer/ Tool changers

You can find these mounted at the column or separately to the machine. You will find the tool changers mostly mounted to the device if there’s a need for large ones consisting of 50-300 different tools.

  • Columns

Columns found on the vertical milling machine can be double or single for example, Travelling column HiRex 4000 depends on the complexity required in the machining function.

  •  Quills

A vertical milling machine has quills that keep the blade cutters. You can lower it or raise it depending on your project.

  • Table

The table is an essential feature that provides a solid base to clamp the workpiece directly on and mount fixtures. To easily clamp the fixtures, most tables use T-slots.

CNC Vertical Milling Machine Specifications

ModelX 6323
Table DimensionLength, Width230, 1070 mm
Travel x,y,z-axis610, 350, 380 mm
Head StructurePhased Gear Head (PGH)Vertical Steel Head (VSH)Non-Phased Head (NPH) 
Spindle SpeedPGH : 80 – 5400 rpmVSH : 80 – 8400 rpmNPH 60 – 4200 rpm
Spindle feed rate0.038, 0.076, 0.203 mm/rev
Spindle rotation angle45 degrees
Motor output3HP
Ram Travel305 mm
Ram Rotation angle360 degrees
Machine Size(L *W*H)1500 mm * 1530 mm * 2100 mm
Machine load250 kg

 CNC Vertical Milling Machine Average Price

The following is a table showing the average prices of different CNC Machines, including the Vertical Milling Machine.

CNC TypeDescriptionAverage Price ($)
CNC VMMVertical Milling Machine50,000
CNC HMMHorizontal Milling Machine89,000
CNC HBMHorizontal Boring Mill125,000
CNC VTLVertical Turret Lathe166,000
CNC MillMill60,000
CNC LatheLathe80,000

What Materials a CNC vertical milling machine can cut

A CNC vertical Milling machine can cut wood, metal. Aluminum is the most common metal used in CNC milling.

Other material includes

What a CNC vertical milling machine can cut

A vertical milling machine can cut small holes and notches. It is also good at drilling and plunging cuts and three-dimensional products. It can also shape and fabricate, removing stock from metallic workpieces.

What a CNC vertical milling machine can’t cut

There are areas where the Vertical milling machine isn’t adequate to use, such as heavier items that need working on multiple sides. A vertical milling machine is best for tasks such as sinking dies. For applications that require more material removal from the workpiece, a horizontal milling machine is ideal to use.

David D. Hughes

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