What are end mills and what are the best end mills for aluminum? These are some of the questions you might have if you’re just new in the industry. But whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist, you’re going to need the best tools for your projects.
In this article, we’re going to talk about end mills and what end mills you can use for aluminum cutting and fabrication.
What Are End Mills?
An end mill is a type of milling cutter used for slotting, profiling, contouring, counter-boring, and reaming. Milling cutters like end mills are used in a CNC or Computerised Numerical Controlled machine. People who don’t have CNC machines also use Burrs in a rotary tool as an alternative to a CNC machine.
What is a CNC Machine?
Computer numerical control (CNC) machines are used to automate the production of parts for engineering and manufacturing.
It is programmed with the necessary instructions which are converted to tool paths by an interpreter. The interpreter can be either software or hardware, depending on what type of controller is being used in the machine.
The controller will then use these instructions to move the machine’s axes and send signals to its cutting tools in order to produce parts according to the desired specifications.
CNC machines are generally expensive but recent developments in the industry have de it possible for hobbyists to own less expensive compact tabletop types and mini-milling machines.
How to Choose the Best End Mills for Aluminum
When shopping for end mills that are good for cutting aluminum, check for the following:
This is probably the most important quality you should consider. Flutes are the groove that forms around the body of a bit. It can vary in size, shape, and the number of flutes on the bit. Without flutes, the bit would not function and cut. So the higher the number of flutes, the quicker it will cut.
Cutting aluminum material, however, requires more precision than speed. This is because aluminum is soft which means it will stick in your bits, making cutting it difficult.
If you cut too quickly, you might end up with a rough and inaccurate cut. So, you don’t want to use higher flutes when cutting aluminum.
The ideal flutes for aluminum are 2 or 3 flutes.
The material used for the bit is also important. Basically, bits are made of HSS or High-Speed Steel and Carbide.
High-speed steel is made to last for a long time. It is strong and can withstand high RPM or rotational speed of the cutter or workpiece
Carbide, on the other hand, stays sharp longer. This is why more professionals opt to use carbide. The sharpness of your bit affects accuracy and cut finish.
Carbide is more expensive between the two but if you’re going to cut aluminum, choosing carbide and paying a little extra may be better.
End mill coatings may help in cutting sticky and soft aluminum. Look for Titanium aluminum nitride or titanium carbo-nitride coatings. These coatings are slippery and make it easy for chips to move continuously.
Take note, however, that if you’re going to use high flutes, even the best coating will not help.
Titanium aluminum nitride coatings are best for carbide end mills. If you’re going to opt for an HSS, look for titanium carbo-nitride coatings.
Get the Best End Mills at Online Carbide
Online Carbide offers carbide end mills which are good for cutting aluminum. If you’re crafting with aluminum materials, you can’t go wrong with carbide end mills.
Online Carbide also offers other cutting tools from some of the biggest cutting tool manufacturers. Get in touch with Online Carbide to know more about their end mill products.