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Milling a radius, horizontal vs vertical

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  • Milling a radius, horizontal vs vertical

    Examples of the two cutters to make sure we are all talking about the same thing.

    Is there any practical benefit to using one over the other? The horizontal should be more rigid, but will it matter to the end product? The vertical would be better with a rotary table. For throughput, the horizontal could be ganged with other cutters, not really important for me.

  • #2
    The horizontal:

    Really intended for a horizontal mill.
    The cutter is more expensive
    Needs an arbor: more $$$
    More teeth so can cut faster
    Straight line cuts only

    The vertical:

    Intended for a vertical mill/drill.
    Cutter is generally less expensive
    Fewer teeth so may take longer for a given cut
    Easier to use with a RT for circular cuts.
    With a RT you can round the edge of a hole.

    I have never used the horizontal style so I can not offer an opinion on the surface finish.
    Paul A.

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!


    • #3
      A good job can be done with either. But isn't the horizontal's main advantage that it can remove large amounts of metal more quickly? So such machines are more suited to making larger pieces more quickly? For that ability it tends to give up a lot of the flexibility that we have with a vertical mill. Which would be why most of us have vertical mills.

      In the end i think a nice job can be done with either. The difference would be in the pattern of cut marks left by each. Examined closely enough the horizontal would leave a line of little waves along the edge of the radius cut closest to the shaft. The end mill version would tend to leave this same line of little waves on the lower end formed by the smaller diameter portion that is closest to the spin axis. The other parts of both would be swept by multiple edges which would wipe away the waviness and leave a cross hatched pattern of sweep marks. The nature of these lines of fine waves would depend on the RPM and feed rate. Hogging cuts would leave a pattern easily seen by eye. A "finish" feed rate would leave something you'd need to view with magnification.


      • #4
        The vertical gets closer to obstructions, as well as the other things mentioned.

        Keep eye on ball.
        Hashim Khan


        • #5
          Less dead center on the arbor mount.
          Less wear for a given removal volume.


          • #6
            I bought a set of cheap vertical ones, they tend to chatter slightly. It could be my fault as I have only used them a couple of times, maybe the feed rate was too fast.


            • #7
              Assuming the horizontal is properly used in a horizontal mill, removal rates will higher (might matter on larger radius), cutter will last a lot longer, is easier to sharpen and you'll get a lot of resharpenings from it, usually you can get a better finish and its one pass. The cutter is a lot more expensive, set up a bit longer and you need a horizontal (to get these advantages, could be run on a stub arbor).

              The horizontal mill is highly preferred when there is a lot of material to remove. Its advantages dim with small amounts to remove.

              Do you have both? H and V? if you don't have an H, the higher cost of the cutter is not worth it on a V mill, imo
              Last edited by Mcgyver; 09-30-2016, 03:30 PM.


              • #8
                Thanks for your replies. A few of you have mentioned cost as being a negative for the horizontal. They are pretty cheap on eBay. Won't help if you need a specific size NOW, but I can collect a few as they come along.

                Mcgyver, yes I have a universal mill with a 1" horizontal arbor. I haven't used the horizontal yet, but I can switch from one to the other in a few minutes.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by pinstripe View Post
                  Thanks for your replies. A few of you have mentioned cost as being a negative for the horizontal. They are pretty cheap on eBay.
                  thats a good point, the demise (mostly) of horizontals in commercial settings means there are lots of cutters out there. Heck bins them get scrapped. If buying used you may want a way to sharpen them. my thought when I wrote that was $$$ out of the catalogue when you have to get what you need


                  • #10
                    The vertical one can get in an inside corner and closer to a wall, quick to set up. The wheel cutter version makes an attractive sweeping exit if you're not going all the way to the end. They will all leave a decent finish if gone over slowly enough with a finish pass, but I find some of the metalworking ones tend to not have enough back clearance and can gall the surface finish.

                    I mostly use the carbide tipped woodworking ones with a 1/2" shank. They cut very cleanly and are usually cheaper and more locally available than the metalworking ones. I have used them on plastic, wood, alum. and mild steel with good results.