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Cutting slots and holes in sheet material with endmill- just a tip

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  • Cutting slots and holes in sheet material with endmill- just a tip

    Was cutting rectangular holes to mount relay sockets using an endmill. I put a piece of backing on the mill table and clamped the steel sheet down onto it in preparation for the cutting. Got lined up and paid attention to the backlash on the table motions so I didn't end up cutting outside my lines. Did the back and forth thing while plunging the endmill until it broke through, then cranked the table around until the holes were cut. This endmill doesn't plunge straight in. Pretty much a normal operation.

    The first hole I cut I put the endmill only about 30 thou or so into the backing material. For the second hole I went deeper into the sacrificial backing material, probably 70 or 80 thou. Obviously the backer is there so I don't cut into the table.

    Anyway, the second hole cut noticeably easier. The endmill was obviously a little sharper a little further away from the tip. I have more holes to cut, so I'll switch to a 1/4 inch backer material (mdf) so I can use more of the sharper portion of the cutting edges. I'll be cutting a deeper channel into the backer, but that stuff cuts like butter anyway. If I lower the cutter about 60 thou for each hole I have to make, I won't be dulling the cutter in just one spot.
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

  • #2
    It indeed sounds like the end mill is sharper higher up - I have a boxful like that, waiting for a regrind...

    Ian
    All of the gear, no idea...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by darryl View Post

      Anyway, the second hole cut noticeably easier. The endmill was obviously a little sharper a little further away from the tip. I have more holes to cut, so I'll switch to a 1/4 inch backer material (mdf) so I can use more of the sharper portion of the cutting edges. I'll be cutting a deeper channel into the backer, but that stuff cuts like butter anyway. If I lower the cutter about 60 thou for each hole I have to make, I won't be dulling the cutter in just one spot.
      Great tip. Never thought of that and I use backing surfaces often. Not much on sheet steel but a lot of same depths over and over. Thanks. JR

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