Difference between Mill and Router?

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Difference between Mill and Router?

Postby andrewblanejr » Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:36 pm

What is the difference between a CNC Mill and CNC Router? Seems like mills are often used for 3d metal parts while routers are normally used to cut sheets of material. But thats a horrible definition, and maybe it's wrong. Can anyone provide clarity?
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Re: Difference between Mill and Router?

Postby J45on » Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:21 pm

I think you are spot on
But I am sure someone will explain it better than me.
Routers are usually for large sheet materials or maybe small for PCB's,Engraving ect
"A router runs 4 to 8 times faster than most mills which is great for clean edged cuts and contouring but most routers lack the rigidity for heavy metal cutting.
The top end traverse speeds on a router table are usually much faster than a mill "

Here is mine (pic is old sorry the machine is finished now)


Milling machines are much stronger machines
"A mill spindle typically is slower but will handle heavier cutting tasks without deflection which makes it better for metal machining"
Here is my mill ( one day I might get round to a CNC conversion)

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Location: Kent,united kingdom

Re: Difference between Mill and Router?

Postby macona » Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:37 am

Routers tend to be gantry styled machines with high speed direct drive router heads for cutting. Due to their construction they are usually limited to woods and plastics. Heavier machines with coolant and slower spindles will do aluminum.
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Re: Difference between Mill and Router?

Postby r691175002 » Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:25 am

There are many types of mills horizontal, vertical, multi-axis, planar/gantry etc...

A router is pretty much a cheap gantry mill with poor rigidity. Such machines automate work that would otherwise be done by hand with a router.

They couldn't really call them mills because they can't do mill-like work so they just named them routers. Probably the best way to describe a router is that it is designed to handle sheet.

You do get real gantry mills that can do "real" work:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnt0tTHz ... re=related
As you might imagine, they weigh and cost way more.

Differentiating based on speed can be difficult because the fastest machines actually tend to be extremely high speed aluminium mills. I lost the link but there is a video on youtube somewhere of a massive planar mill that goes to 60,000 RPM and looked like it was cutting aluminium at around 200IPM. The chip conveyor was absolutely insane, just a waterfall of metal.

This machine pushes a 1" endmill at 400IPM which is so fast it doesn't even make sense:
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Re: Difference between Mill and Router?

Postby macona » Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:54 am

It takes a lot of power to go that fast. Heres a video of my mill running a 1/2" carbide bit in aluminum from a couple years ago. This is about as fast as I could push it at 3hp. 50ipm at 5400 RPM.

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