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Good Finish on Ends of Thick Aluminum

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  • Good Finish on Ends of Thick Aluminum

    Hi guys,
    I'm going to need to face of the ends of some 1" thick 6061 aluminum. I need the surface finish to be as smooth as possible. No ripples. I'm not used to doing thicker stock like this, so I need some help choosing the best tool for this job. I have actually never used an endmill larger than 1/4" as that was the largest size my tiny old mill would handle without complaining. With a small end mill like this I have problems when side milling thicker material, and end up with a tight ripple pattern. I know a larger endmill (1/2") would help, but can a really nice finish be achieved with an endmill when you have a 1" LOC? The other option I've been considering is getting a HSS shell mill. What d'ya think?

    Benjamin

  • #2
    Im thinking you may need to just machine it any way you can and then unbolt the piece and just finish hand holding it with an abrasive flapper wheel or something similar chucked up... -------------- ?

    1/4" endmill is the biggest you can fit that's one tiny mill.

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    • #3
      1/4" wasn't the largest I could fit, but rather the largest that the machine would perform acceptable with. It was a homebrew machine, and there is a reason I don't have it anymore.
      Tolerances are relatively tight, so abrasive wheel won't work...

      Comment


      • #4
        Use a 3/8" diam. Krest Cut or International Mini Cut end mill. These are roughing mills that also give a smooth finish. The roughing part about them is they make small chips rather than one long chip like a straight line cutting edge. These guys sail through aluminum like butter.

        I have never gotten a decent cut out of a HSS shell mill on a Bridgeport. Carbide insert mills work really well.
        Last edited by Toolguy; 04-07-2017, 07:06 PM.
        Kansas City area

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        • #5
          So what mill do you have? What is required from the part? What is the amount to remove?
          Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.

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          • #6
            Shell mills can give a finish that will give a near mirror reflective finish..... IF the mill is as steady as a rock.

            Fly cuters can come close.

            Both need a fairly shallow cut and a sharp cutter to do the best on finish.

            The front surface here (facing the viewer) was done with a shell mill in a shop-made 3MT shell mill arbor. Done with arbor/cutter directly in the spindle of a small horizontal mill. The dark mark in the reflection is actually on the part that is being reflected.

            Last edited by J Tiers; 04-07-2017, 07:13 PM.
            4357 2773 5150 9120 9135 8645 1007 1190 2133 9120 5942

            Keep eye on ball.
            Hashim Khan

            Everything not impossible is compulsory

            "There's no pleasing these serpents"......Lewis Carroll

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            • #7
              I have a round column RF45 type mill/drill. How do you think a shell mill would work on this mill?

              The amount I need to remove isn't really an issue, I just need to be able to get a good surface finish on my final finishing cuts.

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              • #8
                Also would like to mention that I'm speaking of the less common HSS shell mills, not the carbide insert version. I'm not sure which one you were referring to J Tiers?

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                • #9
                  Is it small enough you could hold the plate vertically and use a fly cutter?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by benjaminh View Post
                    Also would like to mention that I'm speaking of the less common HSS shell mills, not the carbide insert version. I'm not sure which one you were referring to J Tiers?
                    This one, I believe, or one just like it.

                    4357 2773 5150 9120 9135 8645 1007 1190 2133 9120 5942

                    Keep eye on ball.
                    Hashim Khan

                    Everything not impossible is compulsory

                    "There's no pleasing these serpents"......Lewis Carroll

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Spindle run out really shows up when cutting with the side of an end mill. My old bridgeport wouldn't give a smooth cut on the end no how.

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                      • #12
                        That's what I was referring to J Tiers. How do you think a cutter like that would function on a mill/drill?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Illinoyance View Post
                          Is it small enough you could hold the plate vertically and use a fly cutter?
                          I've considered this, but I think there would be too much flex as the piece is 5" long. Of course I could just use an angle plate, but since I'm doing multiples of these, that would really be a large loss of time.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by benjaminh View Post
                            That's what I was referring to J Tiers. How do you think a cutter like that would function on a mill/drill?
                            Not as well as it did for me, most likely. The quill is the problem. if you can accurately move it, to take light cuts, and can lock it, then maybe.

                            Fly cutters are lots cheaper (and slower) but they can do pretty well with the right radius sharpened on the cutter.
                            4357 2773 5150 9120 9135 8645 1007 1190 2133 9120 5942

                            Keep eye on ball.
                            Hashim Khan

                            Everything not impossible is compulsory

                            "There's no pleasing these serpents"......Lewis Carroll

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Does your mill have power feed? That is the single most important thing for exceptional finishes. Use the largest sharp endmill you have and cut on the END. Also keep the chips clear. Of course your mill needs to be perfectly aligned (trammed for some folks) for this to work.
                              Southwest Utah

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