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BigFishBite
02-27-2010, 03:57 PM
I know that I should use oil for milling and drilling, BUT, my shop is full of exotic hard woods that I use for custom fishing rod handles, any and all oil that gets on the wood repels all finishes, so I have to be careful when doing the milling and drilling,(going to try making custom power handles for fishing reels.) I'll be using softer aluminum bar stock and cuts real easy, would it be advisable to try to build a self contained Plexiglas box to hold the oil and over spatter of the oil or would I be OK just milling dry?

Thanks in advance.:rolleyes:

Kart29
02-27-2010, 04:28 PM
You can cut aluminum dry - no problem. You'd be able to run higher feeds/speeds with oil but aluminum cuts so easy anyway it will go plenty fast just cutting it dry. No worries.

macona
02-27-2010, 04:41 PM
Yes, you can run aluminum dry, but not a very nice finish all the time. Methanol in a spray bottle works good for aluminum. Also you can do something like koolmist in a spray bottle. It is a synthetic water soluble mix that I have had good luck with for everything.

You say oil, you mean cutting oil, right?

SGW
02-27-2010, 04:48 PM
Yes, metalworking and woodworking tend to be incompatible in the same space.

Depending on the alloy, aluminum can be pretty gummy...or not. If you have a problem with chips welding themselves to the cutting edge, a light brush-applied application of some kind of cutting fluid to the end mill occasionally may be enough to take care of it. Or slow down the RPMs. Or use a different alloy.

I generally get by without using anything, but I have no time pressure demanding maximum chip removal rates.

Bruce Griffing
02-27-2010, 04:55 PM
Ethyl Alchol (denatured) will work very well also. The great advantage of alcohol is that it evaporates and leaves no residue.

MaxxLagg
02-27-2010, 05:49 PM
Ethyl Alchol (denatured) will work very well also. The great advantage of alcohol is that it evaporates and leaves no residue.


It also makes for an interesting fire when ignited, and I have seen it done. Some guys at work liked to use it for just that purpose and set it off. It burns fairly invisibly and makes it had to tell what to put out. In fact, the fire they set that day burned for a while before they even knew it was on fire. Be careful! I imagine that with Alum, you'll be below the flash point but with steel.................

Black_Moons
02-27-2010, 06:42 PM
an enclosure would help. You can try milling dry as well. Carbide at REALLY high SFM is often recommended to be run dry if not using flood. With the right inserts and SFM and feed you can get amazing results on aluminum dry if the alloy isent too uncooperative. HSS will do it dry as well, but you may have some chip welding to cutting edge problems. (resulting in a new cutting edge being formed of a chunk of aluminum that mars up your work requiring another (possibley deep) cut to remove the marks of.)

Im not 100% sure but it seems aluminum has a little harder problem welding onto carbide at high SFM due to the high chip heat.

The Fixer
02-27-2010, 06:54 PM
use a spray bottle with soapy water mix, works very well!

knudsen
02-27-2010, 06:56 PM
If heat is a problem (melting the Al), a blast of compressed air might help. Works good for plastics. Just be careful where the chips are flying.

darryl
02-27-2010, 08:36 PM
It won't hurt to use a little air to help keep chip re-cutting to a minimum- I'm considering trying to build a little air pump that can just run quietly in the background to supply a bit of a stream to the cutting area. I don't need to have my compressor cycling all the time, nor do I need the high flow rate that could be supplied by a vacuum cleaner in reverse. I'm thinking of running a couple of speakers in a box in a push/pull arrangement and some flap valves to control the air flow, and running it from a circuit which will work at the resonant frequency of the speakers. Depending on the drivers, I might get a psi or two at most, but the object will be a steady stream of air past the cutter without having the noise and power draw of a compressor or whatever.

Sort of a glorified aquarium air pump idea, or similar.

I know you want to avoid contamination, but a similar idea to what I've been thinking of is to add some cutting fluid in a mist to the air stream, but then you could also rig up a vacuum hose to pick up swarf right at the point where it's generated, and that will pick up most of the misted coolant/cutting oil at the same time. An appropriate filter system could be rigged up to deal with that. I think in finality, that's what I would want to end up with.

Black_Moons
02-27-2010, 10:33 PM
I kinda think that speakers will be noisyer then a good compressor. Just because speakers are designed to make noise and a compressor is not.

darryl
02-28-2010, 01:06 AM
Yes, it might be noisy. Maybe a better way is a triple bellows with a common output header and run from a slow speed crankshaft. I can see how much air it takes to do the job by hand pumping a bellows and seeing how fast it needs to be operated to give a decent air stream. I should have something here that would suit- I think I have some front end strut covers somewhere.

Ok, found that- seems like about two strokes per second would give enough air. I also found some toilet plungers which I could arrange in a trio. Maybe drive the crankshaft at about 150-200 rpm. Hmm, what's a washing machine motor turn at- 3450 or 1725- a ten to one off a slower speed motor would probably work fine and not be too distracting in operation.

SpyGuy
02-28-2010, 05:12 AM
my shop is full of exotic hard woods that I use for custom fishing rod handles, any and all oil that gets on the wood repels all finishes, so I have to be careful when doing the milling and drilling ... would it be advisable to try to build a self contained Plexiglas box to hold the oil and over spatter of the oil
I suspect that no matter how well you enclose your mill, if you use any cutting fluid, some will escape to other parts of your shop. Call it entropy. And even if you use no cutting fluid, you still need to be concerned about metal swarf migrating through your shop and eventually getting embedded in the surface of your wood projects.

With that in mind, you will probably have to be very diligent to clean all your woodworking machinery before proceeding with any woodworking operations. I would also consider an enclosed storage area for your stock of hard woods, even if that's something as simple as a curtain partition. Considering the cost of exotic woods, that might not be a bad idea anyway, even if you're not doing any metal working.

Boucher
02-28-2010, 07:49 AM
There is a lot of variation in the machineability of Aluminum alloys. Try some 7075-T6. The Wax type cutting lubricant works goood also. For this the alcohol may be better.