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Do you have a source for "decent", "cheap' end mills?

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  • Do you have a source for "decent", "cheap' end mills?

    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

  • #2
    Strider, PM sent, "Small End Mills" as subject.

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    • #3
      I get them at industrial auctions. bins full of useful and of course, those that are too big.
      Rob

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      • #4
        end mills

        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

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        • #5
          Originally posted by strider
          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.
          Last edited by lazlo; 12-06-2011, 04:51 PM.
          "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by rmuell01
            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.
            "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

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            • #7
              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.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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              • #8
                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 $$
                Last edited by Mcgyver; 12-06-2011, 08:05 PM.
                in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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                • #9
                  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.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Evan
                    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.
                    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                    • #11
                      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

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                      • #12
                        "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.

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                        • #13
                          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.

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                          • #14
                            Zip cut bits are great for thin plastics. They have reverse twist flutes and push the material down as they cut.
                            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BigMike782
                              "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.
                              "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

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