In-depth Analysis: Different Types of Face Milling Cutters


Face milling cutters play a key role in the machining industry as an important milling tool. They come in a variety of types and configurations that can be applied to different machining needs and materials. Understanding the different types of face milling cutters and their characteristics is important for selecting the right tool and improving machining efficiency and quality.

In this article, we will delve into several common types of face milling cutters to help mechanical engineers gain a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics and applicability of these tools.

What is Face Milling Cutter?

A face milling cutter is a rotary tool with one or more teeth used for milling operations. These tools are designed with multiple cutting edges and are usually mounted for use on vertical milling machines or machining centers. Face milling cutters are generally used for machining medium width flat surfaces. Standard milling cutter diameters range from 80-250 mm.

Face milling cutters are available in a variety of designs, and different types of face milling cutters can be selected according to the desired machining results and workpiece material, such as flat cutters, ball-end cutters and chamfering cutters.

Characteristics of Face Milling Cutters

  • Multi-Tooth Cutting

Face milling cutters usually have multiple cutting edges or teeth and are capable of performing multiple cutting actions simultaneously, improving machining efficiency and surface finish.

  • Highly Efficient Removal of Materials

Due to the multi-tooth design, face milling cutters are able to use larger feeds and remove large amounts of material quickly, making them suitable for large surface milling and roughing.

  • High Rigidity and Stability

Face milling cutters are typically designed with a robust construction that maintains stability at high speeds and feed rates, reducing the effects of vibration and cutting forces.

Face Milling Cutter Types

Face milling cutters are categorized into several main types based on different classifications:

1. Categorized By Structure

  • Integral Face Milling Cutter

The cutter body and teeth are manufactured in one piece, usually made of high-speed steel or carbide. This type of face milling cutter has good rigidity and is mostly used for small or precision machining.

  • Rope Face Milling Cutter

Also known as insert or interchangeable blade face milling cutters, the cutter body and insert are separate and the insert can be replaced based on wear. This construction is easy to maintain and replace, saves costs, and is ideal for high volume and heavy cutting operations.

  • Combined Face Milling Cutter

Made up of a combination of multiple inserts, each of which can be independently adjusted to suit different machining requirements. This type of face milling cutter is highly flexible and adaptable and can be used for machining complex or specialized materials.


2.Classification By Material

  • High Speed Steel (HSS)

HSS face milling cutters have good toughness and high wear resistance and are suitable for general machining of metal materials, especially under low to medium speed cutting conditions. HSS face milling cutters are of monolithic construction for high strength and durability.

Suitable for milling aluminum, plastic,carbon steel, alloy steel, stainless steel, cast iron and many other materials, especially suitable for precision machining and high hardness materials.

  • Tungsten Carbide

Carbide face milling cutters are made of an alloy of tungsten steel and cobalt, with high hardness and good heat resistance, suitable for high-speed cutting and difficult-to-machine materials, such as stainless steel and high-temperature alloys. Carbide face milling cutters are commonly used for high volume and high efficiency machining.

Suitable for machining stainless steel, titanium alloy, nickel-based alloy, aluminum alloy, plastic and carbide steel.

  • PVD Coating

Coated surface milling cutters are covered with one or more layers of coatings (e.g., titanium-aluminum-nitrogen (TiAlN) or titanium-silicon-nitrogen (TiSiN)) on top of a carbide or high-speed steel base, which improves the hardness and heat resistance of the cutter and prolongs its service life.

Suitable for high-speed and high-precision machining, commonly used in cemented carbide, stainless steel, titanium alloy, super-hard materials.


  • PCD Face Milling Cutter

PCD face milling cutters, also known as diamond face milling cutters, are made of polycrystalline cubic silicon carbide (PCD) material, which has extremely high hardness and wear resistance, and excellent corrosion resistance. It is not easy to be thermally deformed and damaged under high-temperature machining environment, which prolongs the service life of the tool.

For ultra-precision machining of non-metallic materials such as graphite and composites.

  • Ceramics

Ceramic face milling cutter is divided into pure ceramic and metal ceramic, with very high hardness and temperature resistance, suitable for high-speed cutting and machining of extremely hard materials, but more brittle, not suitable for withstanding large impact.

Pure ceramics for machining gray cast iron and nickel-based alloy materials.

Metal ceramics are suitable for material processing of high temperature alloys (Inconel718), steel parts P20, 42Crmov super hard.

Specification of Face Milling Cutter

No. Types Diameter Range Teeth Range Shank Diameter Total Length Range Remark
1 High-Speed Steel 20mm – 250mm 4-16 16mm, 20mm, 25mm, 32mm
25mm, 32mm
50mm – 150mm
2 Carbide Face Milling Cutter 10mm – 200mm 5-20 12mm, 16mm, 20mm, 25mm
20mm, 25mm
50mm – 150mm
3 PVD Coated 10mm – 200mm 5-20 12mm, 16mm, 20mm, 25mm
20mm, 25mm
50mm – 150mm Coating Thickness.
2μm – 10μm
4 PCD Face Milling Cutter 20mm – 200mm 2-8 12mm, 16mm, 20mm, 25mm
20mm, 25mm
50mm – 150mm
5 Ceramic Face Milling Cutter 6.35mm – 12.7mm 50.8mm, 57.15mm, 63.5mm, 69.85mm Cutting speed: Up to 1000 m/min, Long tool life
Up to 1000 m/min, Long tool life


Face milling cutters are vital in machining, and different types have their own advantages and disadvantages.Choosing the right face milling cutter can improve machining efficiency and precision, extend tool life and reduce costs.

Proper use of face milling cutters can effectively improve machining quality and efficiency, extend tool life and ensure safety. Flexible adjustment of cutting parameters according to the workpiece material and machining requirements is the key.


Is there a big price difference between different types of face milling cutters?

The price of different types of face milling cutters varies greatly, and the price of face milling cutters is closely related to their material, manufacturing process, application range and performance. When choosing a face milling cutter, you need to consider the specific processing needs, material properties and budget.

 What can I do about severe cutter wear?

1.Select the appropriate cutting speed according to the workpiece material and tool type. Too high a cutting speed will accelerate tool wear, while too low a speed may affect machining efficiency. Refer to the tool manufacturer’s recommended cutting speeds.

2.Reasonable choice of cutting depth, avoid cutting too much material at one time, and reduce tool load and wear by cutting several times.

How to carry out maintenance and care of face milling cutters?

1.Check tool wear and promptly resharpen or replace worn tools.

2.Clean tool surfaces and edges after each use to remove chips and coolant residue.

3.Use tool boxes or tool racks for storage to prevent tools from bumping and scratching each other.

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