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Newbie Request for low-HP face mill recommendations: steel, good finish, no coolant

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  • Newbie Request for low-HP face mill recommendations: steel, good finish, no coolant

    Hi all,

    I am in the market for a facemill to surface CRS and tool steel with the best possible finish. I will be surfacing the whole face of each piece, so milling to a shoulder won't be necessary.

    Most of the parts will be less than 1" wide, so I am thinking in the 2" to 3" range if it can be handled by my WMD-30 mill/drill (1.1 kW, probably 3/4 to 1 HP). The mill is all manual, no powerfeed.

    As to power: depth of cut will be fairly low - if the geometry allowed, .002 to .003 would be enough.

    If possible, I would prefer to continue working without coolant (other than some WD40 sprayed on the surface of the piece).

    I am guessing I will need carbide inserts for the tool steel; obviously, standard (inexpensive) inserts would be nice.

    The mill/drill has an R8 taper - it would be nice to have an integrated shank.

    I realize there may not be a perfect answer to all those specifications. Nonetheless, I thought I would ask - Any suggestions?

    Tait

    p.s. I know a surface grinder would be a good idea... no space at this time.
    Last edited by Tait; 04-26-2011, 11:10 PM.
    Hemi-proprietor,
    Esoteric Garage

  • #2
    Mil-Tec, the one we use here is called the freedom cutter. You only need different inserts for different angles and they are also multisided.
    Here is a link I am not endorsing this company, or have any affiliation with them this is meant for reference only.

    http://www.miltecusa.com/products_l2_p1.htm

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    • #3
      I made one that works pretty well. It isn't a difficult project. It requires attention to detail to ensure the inserts are at the same height. Other than that it's easy.








      Finish is pretty good too on hot rolled steel.

      Last edited by Evan; 04-26-2011, 11:30 PM.
      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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      • #4
        Squirrel, thanks; barring other input, I will definitely look closely at the options there.

        Evan, thanks: I don't have a lathe and am mostly not interested due to space limitations (does not having a lathe get one thrown of the forum?). What inserts do you use? If you feel like making one for me, I'd love to talk further...!
        Hemi-proprietor,
        Esoteric Garage

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        • #5
          Those are cermet inserts. They are expensive but the work extremely well without coolant and can cut nearly anything.

          This is how they look cutting a bearing race:

          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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          • #6
            I wouldn't have the patience to make a cutter. And, I prefer the high shear insert angles for low HP machines.

            One similar to this would suit you nicely, no hammering of the spindle. This one uses ANSI/ISO standard SEKN1204 inserts, others from Glacern or from Curtis @ LatheInserts.com use screw-down SPGT1203 or similar. Curtis has a deal going for a cutter with 30 iinserts. Quite a bargain, but it's something you'd have to e-mail him about as it's not on his website. I think it's a Korloy product.

            Here's the 2" Widia cutter I have, and I also have it's 3" bigger brother.

            Last edited by PixMan; 04-27-2011, 12:51 AM.

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            • #7
              Thanks guys! That will give me some places to look.
              Hemi-proprietor,
              Esoteric Garage

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              • #8
                Generally when you buy carbide tooling you first look for inserts that are available from multiple sources, that suit your work, which can be used in the mill and the lathe, and can be found at lower cost. This is to avoid having to stock many types of inserts forced by purchasing tooling without a system.

                I'm thinking of what we used to call them "negative-positive" face mills. I have a couple that work very well on my turret mill though depth of cut is limited because of the weenie R8 spindle. They take the SEKN insert 43x insert. The inserts are readily available (always a concern, Nothing worse to have a good cutter whose inserts costs $8+ apiece). The cutter I'm thinking of is sold by a dozen makers via many discount houses. I doubt the home shop user will seldom benefit by purshasing more expensive name brand face mills when 99% of the performance and 80% of the durability is available in better quality imports.

                A good face mill for general use is so handy it warrants an exception to the commonaliy rule: the 45 degee neg/pos configuration. I suggest Shars as a source. And maybe this cutter:

                http://www.shars.com/products/view/3...Milling_Cutter

                The SEKT insert is my preference. It has no hole, the insert is clamped in place. A similar commonly used insert intended for a center clamp screw is the SEHT.

                Here's a handy sheet listing the carbide insert designations

                http://www.carbidedepot.com/formulas-insert-d.htm
                Last edited by Forrest Addy; 04-27-2011, 12:37 PM.

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                • #9
                  I will second the 45-deg. insert type (SEKN1204). Really the only option, IMO. I don't mean to wander; but, PixMan, that 2" Widia is the first sub 4" face mill I've seen with carbide seats. ...and I've looked at the Kennametal's and other expensive options. Interesting.

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                  • #10
                    I like the ADKT tooling. Makes chips fly. And the polished carbide inserts are great for non-ferrous. 2" one here in titanium:

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Evan
                      Those are cermet inserts. They are expensive but the work extremely well without coolant and can cut nearly anything.

                      This is how they look cutting a bearing race:

                      Are they available as trigon and diamond? Do you think they would survive on a shaper, doing light cuts? I've never seen people use cermet inserts to re-face a chuck or spindle nose/bose - why don't they do that instead of grinding? It's so much easier. They're not that expensive, 30$ for 10, 6 faces on each. http://cgi.ebay.ca/TUNSTEN-TNMG16040...item1e60b3b50f

                      Are you able to identify cermet by looking at it? I think that mystery insert that I discovered in my box some time ago could be cermet. I recently found it again after I had lost it, I'll take a picture if you think its possible.
                      Last edited by Elninio; 04-27-2011, 08:12 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Cermet isn't a suitable shaper tool. They work best at very high surface velocity. They are real happy at 1000 sfm on hard materials. They are fine for interrupted cuts if you have the right grade. Even the finishing grades can withstand light interrupted cuts. I have used them to true up the face of the chuck jaws on my 30 year old Bison 3 jaw.

                        Cermet usually comes in two colours, Black and White. I'm not surprised that there are cheap cermets on e-bay. They are often custom made for a specific application. When the application goes away or the company goes out of business there may end up being a sizable number of that special order left unsold. It's common for a manufacturer to make more than what was ordered in the hope of selling them when another order for the same comes in. If they are making a thousand it doesn't cost much more to make two thousand at the same time.
                        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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