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Facemill Recommendation Request

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  • Facemill Recommendation Request

    I need a small facemill with an R8 shank for a Rockwell mill. My initial assumption is to purchase a 2 1/2" model but there are a variety of insert styles plus rake and lead angles available. Anyone have experience with the different models or recommendations? Glacern, Shars, others????

  • #2
    I bought a 4" from Glacern not to long ago and it has worked great for me. I would not hesitate to buy from them again.



    • #3
      Glacern works very nicely for me:

      That's a pass cutting at 90 IPM on 6061 on my RF-45. If I run it a lot slower (10 IPM), it gives a great finish and you can see diffraction rainbows in it similar to what a friend's high dollar Fadal rig produces. On a light cut, it is so quiet you'll have to watch for chips to tell if it is in contact with the workpiece.

      You will be surprised at how much HP they can use though. Stalled the spindle with mine not long after getting it.

      You have some choices to make in terms of 45 versus 90 degree and do you buy both the general purpose and the aluminum finishing inserts. Given the HP requirements, you may not want a 4" either. Mine is a 3" 45 degree.


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      • #4
        Have not tried a Glacern to be fair, but I bought several APT's over the years, TPG 322 inserts. This is a common face mill, face tool on the lathe and boring bar insert in my shop and an affordable insert. They cut pretty free for what I do from Aluminum to brass to steels and 4140 type steels and stainless.
        CCBW, MAH


        • #5
          I'd strongly recommend one that uses either the APKT type inserts (90 degrees) or SEKN type inserts (45 degrees).

          These type inserts have a positive rake that works well for home sized machines on both steel and aluminum. Search "APKT" on this forum and you'll hit more discussion on this issue.

          Paul T.


          • #6
            I like Bob's/Glacern's face mill. That particular insert shape and holder style is great for lower HP machines because there is lots of positive rake. A 45 degree insert will also cut more freely than a 90 degree. I've used SECO face mills in this style and have some no-name thing I got at auction that is basically the same. Those aluminum finishing inserts are fragile but amazing.

            4 inches is really big. Their 2.5 should be plenty for a toolroom style mill. I have a 2", 3" and 4" face mill and I pretty much always use the 2"...on a bridgeport. I'll pull out the 3 and 4 if I really want to surface something in one or two passes. You are also going to be able run a heavier chip load on a smaller diameter face mill without stalling (or worse).

            Another note, a larger diameter face mill will amplify any "out of tram" condition you have going on. That's probably the worst problem that is the least obvious.

            This is an older 2" face mill but it's my "go to" pretty much all the time. It has clamps instead of a screw down like most of the newer indexable face mills. Inserts can be hard to find but generally cheap...cause they are old.

            Last edited by DaHui; 03-10-2010, 06:48 PM.


            • #7
              Mil-Tec is what we switched over to, its a USA made and inserts are USA made. The freedom cutter is set up so you can use pos, neg and neut. rake and some other things with the same cutter body. It is really hard to compare cutters with out measuring the surface roughness. Worst part is they all perform differently depending upon the type of machine.


              • #8
                I've got a small (2.5") Seco cutter that takes five octagonal inserts. Got it and the inserts on sale from Enco a few years ago, with free freight into the bargain. I don't use it all that often, but it's really nice to have when I need it.

                Disclaimer: I am not a professional machinist, nor do I play one on tv.



                • #9
                  Some tips:
                  the 90 degree holders are good for facing stock to a 90 degree shoulder, but can't really side mill, indeed it won't even side mill a perfict 90 degrees because of the helix it holds the inserts at, if you get one that holds them verticaly with no helix, the lack of helix results in a hammering effect that prevents you from side milling at more then a few mils wide or deep.
                  the 45 degree one, is not really used for facing to a 45 degree chamfer but insted the lead angle produces colder chips and requires less rigidity/hp to remove more metal, with the only downside being you can't face to a square shoulder. the 45 degree ones also often use a 'square' insert that as 4 cutting tips per insert (or 8 if you get one with negative rake, though negative rake tooling requires more HP) vs the 2 or 3 (diamond/triangle, 2x that for negative rake) cutting tips per insert you get for 90 degree shoulder face mills.

                  Basicly the 45 is better except when you gotta face next to a shoulder.
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                  • #10
                    Black Moon is right that the 45 degree ones work better for heavy metal removal, but I like the APKT type because I use that insert also on my insert mills. Also most home shop machines really don't have the power and rigidity to make best use of a 45 degree insert, so the APKT's work pretty well for home use where the cut depths and rates aren't huge.

                    You can also get the APKT insert in a special ground, polished and sharp version that works really well on aluminum. You can get a really nice finish on Al by taking all the inserts out of the face mill except one, turning it into a fly cutter, and using one of these special aluminum inserts.

                    Paul T.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for all of the information. It looks like the 45 degree model is the way to go for my needs.