CNC machines curve workpieces by drilling, milling, or boring them on different axes. The more axes a machine has, the more sophisticated parts it can produce. The most basic CNC machines use three axes. Angle heads come in handy whenever they need to craft a complex part.
Angle heads are accessories added to the CNC machine so that the machine can curve more sophisticated angles. The angle head is usually attached to the machine’s spindle. This attachment enables the angling of the spindle-rotational centre.

Adding an angle head to a CNC machine makes it possible to process parts for different industries, including aerospace, manufacturing, engineering, and automobile.

Using an angle milling head has the following benefits.
  • An angle head increases the machine’s processing range.
  • An angle head increases the adaptability of the CNC machine tool.
  • An angled head enables the processing of complex parts otherwise not possible using traditional methods.
  • An angle head reduces repeated machine clamping when processing a workpiece.
  • An angle head increases the processing accuracy of the machine.
  • An angle head increases the efficiency of the CNC machine.
Adding the angle head to a CNC machine is like adding a fourth axis to the machine. However, the angle head is much more versatile. For example, you do not have to reposition heavy pieces as you work on them. It is also high precision compared to a traditional fourth axis.

Types of Angle Heads
Another name for angle heads is side milling heads. We have three main types of angle heads. The angle heads are classified according to their weight and the processing conditions they’re expected to work. The three classifications are:
  • Light angle head
  • Medium angle head
  • Heavy angle head
We shall understand each of the three types and the conditions for which they are best suited.

Light Angle Head

A light-angle head, as suggested by the name, is light. It weighs between 11 and 33 pounds. This type of angle head is mainly used in work conditions that require high accuracy and low torque.

You can install the light angle head in the tool magazine, where it can be freely converted between the machine tool’s spindle and the tool magazine. It also uses a positioning block to locate.

Medium Angle Head

A medium-angle head is of medium weight. It weighs between 33 and 44 pounds. It is also a high-precision tool with a more enormous torque than the light-angle head.

In addition, the processing range of the medium-angle head is more comprehensive than that of a light-angle head. The high precision, higher torque, and broader range of processing make it the most used angle head in the market.

Heavy Angle Head

The heavy-angle head generally weighs above 110 pounds. It has much lower accuracy than the light angle head and medium angle head. On the other hand, it has more torque than both of the lighter angle heads. In addition, it has excellent rigidity.

Mounting the heavy angle head is usually done by fixing and locking the angle head on a mounting plate. The mounting plate should support different types of output forms for processing.

The output form of the heavy angle head can be divided into three.
  • Single output angle head,
  • Dual output angle head
  • Vertical and horizontal dual output angle head.

Single Output Angle Head

Single output angle head is more common compared to the other two output forms angle heads. It is more common because it offers a wide range of applications and better rigidity.

Dual Output Angle Head

The dual output angle head significantly improves processing and production efficiency by adopting a two-way output. It also offers high concentricity accuracy, which is vital, especially when drilling symmetrical holes.

In addition, it processes these holes from both ends, eliminating the need for manual rotation and meter correction.

Vertical and Horizontal Angle Head

The vertical and horizontal angle head can process parts horizontally and vertically simultaneously, or it can process them separately. These angle heads can bear heavy cutting because they use high-speed thrust fixed in two directions.

The two-way thrust principle uses bearing and bevel gear separation, making the processing faster and more convenient.

Applications of Angle Heads

Depending on the different use cases for the various angle heads, their application can be divided into 90 degrees angle head, universal angle head, specific angle output angle head, and non-standard customized angle head.

90 degrees Angle Head

The 90 degrees angle head is also known as the right-angle head. The spindle of the right-angle head forms a 90-degree angle with the machine tool's spindle. These angle heads are used to process the inner surface of deep cavities and can have a single output, dual output, or offset output. These types of right-angle heads are standard.

Universal Angle Heads

A universal angle head has an adjustable angle between its spindle centre and the spindle of the machining tool. In this case, the adjustable angle ranges between zero and 90 degrees, with angle adjustments set at 15 degrees or 5 degrees. However, the angle accuracy adjustment can reach one or even 0.1 degrees.

Specific Angle Output Angle Heads

With the specific angle output angle head, you can specify the angle between the output spindle of the specific angle output angle head and the spindle of the machining tool. Therefore, this type of angle head is practical and convenient when you want to produce a specific angle surface.

Non-standard Customized Angle Head

These non-standard customized angle heads are used to produce parts according to the customers’ needs. The customer specifies the dimensions used in these angle heads by the machining centre, boring and milling machines, or large turning milling to produce non-standard parts.

Usually, these parts are not sold in general markets, and most are made to order. They are usually working pieces for aerospace, energy equipment, military, or construction machinery.

Bottom Line

Angle milling heads are useful additional accessories to milling machines. They allow the CNC machines to craft more sophisticated parts, which would have been impossible without the angle head. There are many sellers on the market. When buying, go for quality because that's what guarantees precision machining.