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Variable flute and variable helix carbide endmills for small milling machines?

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  • Variable flute and variable helix carbide endmills for small milling machines?

    Having never bought any end mill before I am trying to research what end mill to use.

    They have these variable flute and/or variable helix end mills. Watching youtube videos on proper rigid machines with good hp they seem to plow through metal like its butter. Not only that, but these end mills
    reduce the harmonics and are very, very quiet in the cut.

    This reduction of harmonics and thus vibrations and chatter should be good for a smaller flimsy machine.


    So has anyone used these type of cutters in mild steel on a smaller size mills?

  • #2
    Yes - I run them on a RF45 sized mill and I love them - Up to 12mm I dont buy corncob style roughing endmills anymore, only HPC or MTC carbide endmills with variable helix-blablabla. Not only are they generaly cheaper than a HssCo corncob roughing endmill, they they run just as smooth, take a full slotting cut at 1x diameter depth and are coated carbide, so you can run them without a problem dry in toolsteel...
    Personal website

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    • #3
      I watched some of your videos.....

      Can you tell me a specific model number of the best 6mm endmill that you use.

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      • #4
        My 2 cents.

        The variable flute/helix geometry is awesome on a big rigid high horse machine, but where they really shine is on a
        less than rigid floppy machine.

        I've got an old Wells Index out here, CNC'd from the factory, old, 2hp. For YEARS I ran HSS and CO endmills on it, never stalled it.
        Going to vari flute/helix endmills, I had to set my feeds and speeds based on HP, rather than ideal metal removal.

        Another bonus, most of them have radiused corners, so they can take a beatin' and keep on ticking.

        This reduction of harmonics and thus vibrations and chatter should be good for a smaller flimsy machine.

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        • #5
          Sounds like they're worth trying. What's a good source for these in the smaller hobby machine sizes (meaning ~3/4" and down)? Hopefully somewhere other than MSC?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Yondering View Post
            Sounds like they're worth trying. What's a good source for these in the smaller hobby machine sizes (meaning ~3/4" and down)? Hopefully somewhere other than MSC?
            https://www.maritool.com/Cutting-Too...100/index.html

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            • #7
              I get my variables from Lake Shore Carbide. Very good quality stuff.

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              • #8
                I'm now a believer as well. I got a couple to try from http://onlinecarbide.com/vage.html. I really wanted to try carbide to run my mill full motor RPM (belt drive). I've only done a couple short tests on my PM-30MV (600lb import mill) and I was able to easily do a full diameter depth 0.5" x 0.100" cut in steel, conventional or climbing, on my light mill with no issues basically as fast as I wanted to feed. This was at 1500 rpm dry, I didn't bother changing the belt to 3000 rpm but I'm sure I could run the 1/2" and 3/8" cutters at that speed as well. I was impressed with both the cutter and the mill.

                Once I get a power feed setup I'll post some more formal testing.
                Last edited by JCByrd24; 03-14-2018, 11:43 AM.

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                • #9
                  Check out www.harveytool.com for sizes under 1/4" and www.helicaltool.com for sizes over 1/4".

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                  • #10
                    Interesting to read feedback about vari flute/helix end mills.

                    I have seen the advertising, but haven't been moved to try them - until now.

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                    • #11
                      I use the coated variable flute endmills for aluminum from lakeshore carbide. They are great. Expensive, but great.

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                      • #12
                        Hi,

                        Order them for work all the time. Worth it. The only thing I can't get an advantage on is slotting thinner walled steel tubing. There just isn't material to edge contact to make a difference I think.
                        If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

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                        • #13
                          A tool salesman said the Hanita made in Isreal is the best Carbide end mills made,he did not sell them he worked for the competition.

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                          • #14
                            So are these really the bees knees for smaller mills like a benchtop Seig? Cause if i could get smoother results with some in the 1/4"-1/2" diameter range than i do with the standard end mills, im ordering some

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by epicfail48 View Post
                              So are these really the bees knees for smaller mills like a benchtop Seig? Cause if i could get smoother results with some in the 1/4"-1/2" diameter range than i do with the standard end mills, im ordering some
                              All the Variable helix/flute does is break up the harmonics.. Not all that different than using a corn cob rougher.. Some of them just have 2 of the flutes kicked off by 3 degrees or so,
                              some actually have flutes at different helix angles, some have both... YG makes a pretty good endmill (or they used to), their fancy variable helix starts at 90-90-90-90 at the bottom,
                              and they really suck for shallow cuts, so be careful of that...

                              They really do make a difference, and the floppier the machine, the bigger the difference.. I used to have an old Acroloc. A 6000lb VMC, pretty sturdy machine, box ways, but the
                              Z axis was a quill, just like a Bridgeport, same size even.. The variable helix/flute tools really let it get busy.. Where I did have a problem is full slotting in nasty material.. EVERY TIME
                              you put in a new endmill, it would chatter and then quiet down after a short bit.. It quieted down after one corner broke off.. That REALLY broke up the harmonics.. I finally got
                              smart and would grind a huge chamfer on one flute right out of the box...

                              Also remember, running carbide endmills, your surface speed can go WAY up.... And Carbide is WAY stiffer than HSS... So where you were using a 1/2" HSS endmill, you can replace
                              that with a 3/8" and still increase your material removal rate by quite a bit. Just for a reference of what a sub $50 1/2" variflute can do.. I've messed around and I've pulled
                              up to 23 cubic inches per minute of 1018 with a 1/2" endmill.. That's a 20+hp cut... I'll regularly pull 10-14 cubic inches a minute in mild steels and annealed alloy steels with a 1/2"... So
                              on a 2 or 3hp Bridgeport, you don't need a big diameter cutter to use every bit of HP you have...

                              Also a Carbide endmill stays sharper for FAR longer than a HSS endmill.. If you(or I) don't do anything stupid, a 1/2" endmill can easily move 100's and occasionally 1000's of
                              pounds of material before it needs replacing or sharpening.

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