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Fab Lab Skill Builder: How to Square a Block with a Milling Machine

May 3rd, 2012 by

Here, Tormach machinist Mike Corliss demonstrates the proper procedure for squaring a block on with a milling machine.  Doing this right will ensure that you have 6 perpendicular faces to work off on your workpiece.  This is an easy skill to learn, but getting good results takes some attention to detail and procedure.


Tools you’ll need:

  •  – A Good quality Vise.  If you don’t start with a vise that’s square, you’ll have no chance of ending up with a square part.  Also, make sure to square the vise to the milling machine – here’s our tutorial on how to do that.
  •  – Parallels, or something similar – a set like these will do the trick.  The important thing is that what ever you use is precision ground.
  •  – Large diameter cutter.  We’re using a fly cutter here, but you could also use a face mill. (For a simulated flycutter,  try using the face mill with only one insert installed.)
  •  – Smaller diameter endmill.  We use a 3/8″ cutter in a TTS Set Screw Tool holder, but anything similar will do the trick.
  •  – Granite Surface Plate and 123 Block.    You’ll need to use these as reference surfaces to check your work
  •  – File and/or Deburring tool for cleaning up the edges



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