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Metalworking Machines - Milling Machines

What should you know before using a milling machine?

Milling machines can be dangerous if not used properly.

  • Read the owner's manual carefully.
  • Make sure you understand instructions and are properly trained before operating a milling machine.

Refer to Metalworking Machines - General for basic safety tips.


What are some safe work principles to follow when using a milling machine?

  • Wear appropriate safety glasses.
  • Ensure that the milling machine has a start/stop button within easy reach of the operator.
  • Ensure that the work piece and cutter are mounted securely before taking a cut.
  • Check that work is mounted squarely.
  • Mount work in a vise that is bolted or held magnetically to the table. Use proper hand tools to make adjustments. Refer to Hand Tools for more information.
  • Hold milling cutters with a cloth to avoid being cut when handling them.
  • Move table as far as possible from cutter while setting up work to avoid injuring your hands.
  • Mill the largest surface first.
  • Keep hands, brushes and rags away from the revolving milling cutter.
  • Use a vacuum, brush or rake to remove cuttings only after the cutters have stopped moving.
  • Change cutting compounds periodically.
  • Keep cutters sharpened correctly and in good condition.
  • Keep working surface clear of scraps, tools and materials.
  • Remove cutting tools from spindle when cleaning the machine.
  • Keep floor around the milling machine free of oil and grease.
  • Use lifting equipment when appropriate to move heavy work to or from milling machines. Refer to Materials Handling for more information.
  • Make sure the power is off before changing cutters.
  • Always stay at the machine when it is in operation.

Before starting the machine, what should you check?

Before starting, make sure that:

  • all guards are in place;
  • work is properly secured in place;
  • bolts used to hold down work clear the tooling;
  • tooling and supporting pieces are properly tightened in position;
  • table stops are secured properly;
  • handles on all feed screws are in neutral;
  • table is free of stock, tools or other loose material;
  • the arbor and arbor support are clear of the work;
  • the cutter is rotating in the right direction.
Milling machine

What should you consider when setting the cutting speed?

Ensure that the following factors are considered when setting cutting speed:

  • material to be machined;
  • type of cutter;
  • finish required;
  • depth of cut;
  • rigidity of machine and work piece.

What are some things you should avoid doing?

  • Do not wear gloves, rings, watches or loose clothing. Tie back long hair.
  • Do not attempt to mount, measure or adjust work until cutter is completely stopped.
  • Do not use an excessively heavy cut or feed as it can cause the cutter to break. The flying pieces could cause serious injury.
  • Do not reach over or near a revolving cutter. Keep hands at least 30 cm (12 in.) from a revolving cutter.
  • Do not lean or rest hands on a moving table.
  • Do not make any adjustments while the machine is running.
  • Do not use paper shims to check the distance from the cutter to the stock.
  • Do not move the operating levers without knowing what they control and what action is going to take place.
  • Do not leave machine unattended while it is running.

Document last updated on August 8, 2011

Disclaimer

Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.