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View Full Version : Do you have a source for "decent", "cheap' end mills?



strider
12-06-2011, 03:19 PM
OK, before you begin, I know that decent and cheap usually preclude each other and that both descriptors are relative. So, that being said, I'd like a little input from the vast experience of the board members, and I also offer thanks in advance.
So, here's the deal.
I've been fortunate in that I have always been able to luck into local end mill acquisition through CL or barters and such. I've also been fortunate in that the quality has been good and with a few exceptions it was always US made stuff, so I've never bought EM's from the usual suspects. I've recently started a project for a customer that, among other things, requires that I cut a rectangular slot into a polystyrene panel. I started with a 1/4" two flute center cutting EM that I had in my stock. But, since I will be doing this 500 to 1000 times I thought it would be prudent to order an extra EM or two of the same type. I needed some stuff so I dropped the EM's onto an order. I figured I would order the "Import" EM, I mean how bad could they be?
Well I'll tell ya!
Put the new EM in the spindle, plunged it into the panel, cut the slot, and when I looked at it the EM didn't cut. It kind of melted it's way along! When I looked at the EM, it looked used it was so poorly ground and sharpened. So back to my old EM for the time being.
I've also decided I need to eliminate some hand work so I need to get some 2 flute 1/8" EM's, all I have in stock are a bunch of 4 flute.
Finally the real question. Who out there sells sharp HSS two flute center cutting end mills in small sizes that are half way decent and don't cost over $10 a piece?
Took me a while to get there didn't it? But I'm just a bit irritated.
Thanks guys.
Strider

RussZHC
12-06-2011, 03:33 PM
Strider, PM sent, "Small End Mills" as subject.

rmuell01
12-06-2011, 04:12 PM
I get them at industrial auctions. bins full of useful and of course, those that are too big.

Bill McLeod
12-06-2011, 04:15 PM
I am currently using accusizetools.ca the 1/8" [carbide] I bought a bunch were made in USA the # 1006-0018 is $6.00 so far i am happy with everything I have got from him. All the end mill with prefex 1006 came made in USA a lot of the other ones are anybody's guess. Most of what I buy is carbide the only HSS was a carbide tip and I have not used them yet.

His web site is a bit of a test. The web site you always have to ask for a "quote", a bit of a hassle but I think it is mainly a stock issue it does not seem to affect the price at least for me but I am a small buyer about $500. an order.

A 1/8 end mill, HSS, coated is $3.00 but I have not tried the HSS, at his prices I really like carbide. I also bought a bunch of annular cutters and they are good and reasonably priced. I bought the regular ones but he lists ones with more cobalt, coatings etc.

Hope this helps

lazlo
12-06-2011, 04:49 PM
Who out there sells sharp HSS two flute center cutting end mills in small sizes that are half way decent and don't cost over $10 a piece?

I've been buying the Atrax (Made in USA) carbide endmills at Enco during their X% off sales. A 1/8" carbide endmill was $6.32.

http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA=PE328-0030

This past Black Friday Enco had OSG (Japanese) TiALN carbide endmills for the same price as the Atrax uncoated carbide, so I stocked up with the 20% off code.

This week they have 15% off.

justanengineer
12-06-2011, 06:32 PM
I get them at industrial auctions. bins full of useful and of course, those that are too big.

x2 on that! Quite often the machinery brings the bucks, but bins of tooling and cutters bring little. If youre willing to sort and toss the trash, you can find quite a lot for almost nothing.

Evan
12-06-2011, 07:47 PM
There are two kinds of "cheap". One is the kind that doesn't work well enough even when new. That actually makes it very expensive. The other cheap is the expensive part that lasts a long time and gives you your money's worth. That is actually cheap.

I buy cheap end mills. They cost more at the counter than the expensive ones. For Carbide I buy Garr and for HSS I buy Dormer or Niagara. There are many good brands but very few if any are made in China. The Chinese still aren't competitive in quality with cutting tools.

Mcgyver
12-06-2011, 07:59 PM
kijiji and a used tool and cutter grinder?

I'm awash in cheap high quality sharp end mills, slab mills, shell mills ......all for very little $$ :D

BigMike782
12-06-2011, 08:59 PM
I bought a 12" square box 6" deep of all kinds of end mills,most new and some re-sharpened,from a grinding shop for a very nice price.I also have had good luck at pawn shops.

lazlo
12-06-2011, 11:18 PM
For Carbide I buy Garr

I have some Garr carbide endmills, and they're superb: shaving sharp. But they're way too expensive retail, and I think they're only sold through Garr distributors (MSC doesn't carry them).

There was a guy selling new, surplus Garr on PracticalMachinist, but I haven't seen him for awhile.

strider
12-06-2011, 11:24 PM
Thanks for the tips. Unfortunately I don't see a lot of industrial auctions around here. From what I've seen anything industrial pretty well left here 30 -40 years ago, so those pickings are slim. As for pawn shops, if I want to pay almost new price for beat up used stuff that's the place to go around here:)

I agree on the Dormer and Niagra, have some from them, like them a lot. What I find interesting is I have a quantity of EM's that were undoubtably purchased by someone years ago as "import". Countries of manufacture are Poland, Korea and Yugoslavia. Really nice stuff. The Korean has really surprised me, as good as many of the US pieces I have. In fact the Korean was in the house brand packaging from Travers Tool, but that's all supposedly China now. Wonder if they would still exert the same quality control? Might have to buy a couple to check it out.
Strider

BigMike782
12-07-2011, 11:37 AM
"As for pawn shops, if I want to pay almost new price for beat up used stuff that's the place to go around here."

Man,I better send the owner of the pawn shop I go to a Christmas card.....I can get a handful of end mills for five bucks or less.

PeteM
12-07-2011, 03:32 PM
Router bits might work in your polystyrene panels. There may also be zip cut bits designed for plastics. Half-decent router bits are pretty cheap and will have more positive rake (less melting of plastic) than most end mills.

Evan
12-07-2011, 05:06 PM
Zip cut bits are great for thin plastics. They have reverse twist flutes and push the material down as they cut.

justanengineer
12-07-2011, 05:21 PM
"As for pawn shops, if I want to pay almost new price for beat up used stuff that's the place to go around here."

Man,I better send the owner of the pawn shop I go to a Christmas card.....I can get a handful of end mills for five bucks or less.

Please do, then clarify your location so I can partake too sometime during my travels. I have ~10 of them within 30 minutes of me here, and I rarely bother with them anymore. If I wanted $0.50 off of a $50 item they would say no...and the item likely cost $60 new. I suspect the majority of them are in business entirely bc of their loan sharking operations, not bc they actually sell much of anything.

torker
12-07-2011, 07:06 PM
There are two kinds of "cheap". One is the kind that doesn't work well enough even when new. That actually makes it very expensive. The other cheap is the expensive part that lasts a long time and gives you your money's worth. That is actually cheap.

I buy cheap end mills. They cost more at the counter than the expensive ones. For Carbide I buy Garr and for HSS I buy Dormer or Niagara. There are many good brands but very few if any are made in China. The Chinese still aren't competitive in quality with cutting tools.
I'm with Evan...
Once I started making a living with my machines...I found out that the same two (Niagra and Dormer) where in fact "cheap". They lasted many times longer than the usual cheap crap I bought previous to that. Bought some very good Butterfield EM's off Fleabay once. They where top notch as well.
My next mill will have a full arsenal of Niagra roughers...they make me smile :D
Russ

Carld
12-07-2011, 10:36 PM
I have a lot of reground endmills and they do just fine. When I have to buy a new endmill I have been getting the USA or Import brands from Enco and have very good luck with them. I guess I am lucky and get the good ones and everybody else gets the bad ones.

I just ordered some Import 1/4" cobalt roughing endmills from Enco and have made about 135" of cuts at 420 rpm hand fed at moderate rate and it still looks new with no dulling.

They didn't have the USA brand in stock or I would have got them.

Rex
12-08-2011, 04:04 PM
I bought some from these guys on a recommendation from some professionals at the "other" forum.

Seemed like high quality, good prices.

http://www.ctctools.biz

hardtail
12-08-2011, 07:02 PM
I thought Garr was sold through machinery outlets?

DR
12-08-2011, 07:42 PM
I never ever, ever knowingly buy third world cutters. So, this is not a recommendation. I'm only posting it because I consider it such an oddity.

A recent job milling 3/4" 6061-T6 aluminum thick flat bar using a new 1/2" diameter two flute end mill which has no markings, but the package says "made in China". This tool must have come with others I bought from a shop sale, not something I intended to buy. Since it was available I thought I'd try it for a part or two. It completed the whole job gradually getting dull, but finish was still acceptable.

Machine running dry, around 2500 rpm, 15 ipm.

Profiling (side cutting) full 3/4" depth removing from 1/8" to 1/4",, about 240 inches of cut. Slotting full width (1/2"), 3/8" depth first pass, then full depth 3/4" second pass, 120 inches of slot.

Carld
12-09-2011, 01:58 PM
Sounds like to much rpm and feed to me with no coolant causing cutter failure.

BTW, finished the job and the cutter is still in excellent shape. I was using it to part DOM stock into three segments.

wierdscience
12-09-2011, 02:34 PM
For Styrene and Nylon I buy EM made for plastics.OSG makes some great ones,razor blade sharp,look at 501&503 series-

http://www.osgtool.com/_branding/books/800189ca/websearch/page0532.html

EM larger than 1/2 I have switched over to insert mills like these from Glacern tool.Cheaper by far in the long run.

http://www.glacern.com/em90_2

lazlo
12-09-2011, 06:03 PM
They didn't have the USA brand in stock or I would have got them.

I just got the OSG carbide endmills from Enco, and they're damn near as nicely made as Garr. Can't wait to try them out this weekend :)