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Facemilling for smooth aluminum

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  • BobWarfield
    replied
    Glacern's face mills are very nice.

    I will second the motions for sharp inserts intended for aluminum--there are some offered by Glacern you can see there to understand what's being talked about.

    I will also second the motion for APKT inserts. They're widely available. Not applicable to a 45 degree face mill, but that's what I have on my 90 degree facemill and my little 5/8" indexable endmill (handy little booger for roughing).

    Cheers,

    BW

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  • scmw
    replied
    So who makes a good quality high helix face mill? I'm a neophyte with the big boy toys. My BP Series II's are a new adventure for me. I started with a Sherline 2000 that I modified with the A2Z X & Y extended table and base.

    Terry

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  • PaulT
    replied
    Make sure that the face mill you select uses inserts that are available in aluminum specific versions, ie ground sharp and polished. AKPT inserts are available in aluminum specific versions, I use them on my face mills and they work well for me.

    Paul T.

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  • BobWarfield
    replied
    High helix = lots of positive rake. Softer materials like aluminum like it better.

    The 90's can cut shoulders and are more general purpose, but the 45's leave a better surface finish.

    BTW, if you start considering varying heights of your inserts, you want them either very close indeed (friend with adjustable on Fadal sets them to a tenth) or actually force ONE insert to stand proud by two or three thou. That one insert will do the finishing job as a flycutter.

    Cheers,

    BW

    Leave a comment:


  • scmw
    replied
    BB, I was just going to ask the same question. As well as a definition of a high helix face mill can you guys also recommend who makes a good quality product in this category?

    Thanks,
    Terry

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  • beanbag
    replied
    What's a high helix facemill?

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  • Robin R
    replied
    I would also recomend a high helix facemill. The big advantage over the 45؛ square insert mills, is that they will mill a shoulder. The 45؛ facemills are only really any good, if you are milling the whole face of your workpiece.

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  • Toolguy
    replied
    Facemilling Aluminum

    The high helix facemills work great, the 2024 is good advice, use Tap Magic or Tap Matic for Aluminum for the cutting fluid. They both have one specific to aluminum. Nothing else works nearly as well. One or two thin lines down the length of the part per pass is all you need. A little bit goes a long way.

    Leave a comment:


  • J Tiers
    replied
    Not sure it is really that critical.......

    I have gotten a nice smooth reflective finish with just a shell end mill, and that at a lower than recommended SMM.

    I don't think ANY cutters will give you a "hardware finish".

    Depends what you want, really very smooth, or a regular pattern like fine flycutting, or what.

    This is a part I have made several times for a client's prototypes. The vertical surfaces were done with an ordinary shell end mill. IIRC WD-40 as a cutting fluid.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gravy
    replied
    Hey Evan & Doc!

    You're both smart guys with a lot to offer here. It looks to me like there's a p!ssing match developing. Maybe you could work out a way to avoid that?

    Leave a comment:


  • Doc Nickel
    replied
    Originally posted by Evan
    Propylene glycol is actually toxic but has a low toxicity rating.
    -That's like saying Pepsi is toxic, but has a low toxicity rating.

    But yeah, propylene glycol is used as the fluid carrier in paintballs, the rest being solid fillers like sorbotol or talc, and food coloring. (No "paint", per se'.)

    Doc.

    Leave a comment:


  • Evan
    replied
    PCD inserts work very well on brass, bronze and aluminum. I also discovered that it is possible to sharpen them if you chip one. To reshape a chipped PCD you can use a fine grit diamond wheel. It's slow but it works. That is how diamonds are cut and ground for gemstones (not counting recent developments with lasers). PCD inserts are relatively fragile compared to cermets or carbide. They aren't suitable for interrupted cuts.

    Leave a comment:


  • beanbag
    replied
    Any name brand face mill that has square inserts set at 45 degrees, and with same backwards-leaning angle (to give top rake) would work fine.

    I have tried cutting dry, with an air blast, oil, and water soluble coolant, and noticed no difference in the surface finish. I think my inserts are just really good about throwing chips out of the way. Next I will try re-seating the inserts to make them more level, and maybe WD-40.

    Recently I have read that to get a really good finish, you need to get a diamond or PCD insert.

    Leave a comment:


  • Evan
    replied
    -Nitpick: Ethylene glycol is the toxic stuff. Propylene glycol is the non-toxic version.

    Actually I meant to write polyetheylene glycol. PEG is considered inert and is used in laxatives among many other things.

    Propylene glycol is actually toxic but has a low toxicity rating.

    http://www.inchem.org/documents/pims...cal/pim443.htm

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  • Boucher
    replied
    Terry: I have a lot of the GMT tooling and it is very good. My mill is R8 but I would think the 40 tool holders would be even better. Ask them questions by E mail. They know their business!

    Leave a comment:

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