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Shoulder milling is the process of machining a surface of a stock material that are at right angles to the axis of rotation of the cutter with a side milling cutter. In practical sense, the shoulder milling generates two faces simultaneously, which requires peripheral milling in combination with face milling. Achieving a true, ninety degree shoulder is one of the most important requirements.

Shoulder milling and its machining method can be performed by traditional square shoulder cutters, and also by using end milling cutters, long edge cutters and side and face milling cutters. In recent application, the milling cutters are now with index-able insert. Shoulder face mills of conventional designs are often capable of milling “true”, 90 degree shallow shoulders. The indexable insert and solid carbide end mills offer good solutions for shoulders requiring accessibility.

Due to these numerous options, it is essential to consider the operational requirements carefully in order to make an optimal choice. Many shoulder face mills are universal cutters, and can be used advantageously for making holes. They offer a good alternative to face milling cutters when milling axially deflecting surfaces or for milling close to vertical faces.