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Ideal set of end mills

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  • Ideal set of end mills

    Obviously buying as you need them is one way to go. But you have to wait and shipping would likely make this cost prohibitive. If you had an opportunity get cobalt and carbide end mills to get started , what would want knowing what you know now? These will be used on aluminum and mild steel initially. Will be used a 3 hp 9x49 machine.

    There are so many options for roughing coarse and fine, corner radii, center cutting, high helix, variable flute, 2/3/4/5 flutes, coatings....Oh.....

    Thanks for the help.

  • #2
    I purchased a set of two and four flute, HSS end mills in a range of sizes from 1/8" to 1/2" by 16ths. They were imports and the price was moderate. After that, I just buy what I need when I need it.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
    You will find that it has discrete steps.

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    • #3
      Like Paul, I picked up one set of each (2 and 4 flute) in M42 HSS when I first started. The set went from 1/8 to 3/4 by 1/8ths if I remember correctly. I'm still using many of them.

      I've since picked up a limited number of ball end mills for special projects. I also picked up a handful of roughing mills to work with my micro mill. They use less power to remove the same material so are good for hogging with a small machine.

      Dan
      At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

      Location: SF East Bay.

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      • #4
        If you get any carbide endmills, be careful "touching off" on whatever you want to mill when you establish a zero point; it's amazingly easy to chip the sharp tip off the lip if you rotate them backwards any while making contact with what you zeroing against. To start off I'd recommend HSS for anything other than "semi" harden steel (such as an impact socket) where carbide is needed.
        Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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        • #5
          I forgot to mention that I pick up carbide endmills as needed for projects that required a lot of stickout or cutting hardened metals.

          Dan
          At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

          Location: SF East Bay.

          Comment


          • #6
            I picked up a set of HSS endmills, both 2 and 4 flutes. They went from 1/8" to 3/4", but I found that I used 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" almost exclusivley. I tried carbide but I use HSS for roughing and cobalt for finishing.

            It took me a while to find a local supplier for when I didn't want to wait for better deals from my online suppliers. You should have a McFadden Dale nearby, they have everything I need in a pinch.

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            • #7
              I have a great opprtunity to buy tooling at excellent prices and what to put together a solid list. Thanks

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              • #8
                I've got one of those 1/8 to 3/4 two and four flute sets as well. And like some have written above use them a lot. My most used sizes are 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 and 5/8. And the 3/16 and 3/4 see fairly common use as well.

                I came across a few radius corner end mills out of the old Boeing Surplus Center and find I like to use them where I want a radiused corner. I've got about 8 of them but there's really only three sizes and the rest are duplicates of these. I'd have to double check the sizes but they have proven to be pretty handy on some projects.

                After that there are the one off's bought for some specific uses.

                I've got a few cobalts end mills but so far have managed to work around the specific need for carbide. But with the cost of import carbide mills being low enough to justify for home use where it's only a hobby I'll likely get a few sizes to try soon.
                Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                • #9
                  To me, buying a set of cheap end mills in a box is silly. Buy good quality in a few sizes and USE THEM. When you need a 7/16" end mill (which I never have yet) you can easily buy one.

                  I could get by for a long time with 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2" end mills.

                  metalmagpie

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                  • #10
                    There are some sets from good makers available, but you're going to be paying a lot more than you would for one of the cheap Chinese sets for the additional value. I bought one of the cheap Chinese sets when I started out and they mostly worked, I replaced them as I needed with decent quality endmills. I have a couple of good sets that I reserve for brass use and piles of of "other" that I picked up here & there (auctions and fleaBay) including small endmill sets (1/16 up to 1/8) in neat clear plastic cases. I also spend a lot of time with 3/8" and 1/2" endmills where I tend to carbide.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by metalmagpie View Post
                      To me, buying a set of cheap end mills in a box is silly. Buy good quality in a few sizes...
                      This is good advice.
                      12" x 35" Logan 2557V lathe
                      Index "Super 55" mill
                      18" Vectrax vertical bandsaw
                      7" x 10" Vectrax mitering bandsaw
                      24" State disc sander

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                      • #12
                        I buy high quality American made HSS endmills, usually Niagara. They last much longer, and I get them dual ended. 3/8’s most used but going to experiment with indexable carbide. The 2” indexable carbide facemill works exceedingly well on my Bridgeport.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by metalmagpie View Post
                          To me, buying a set of cheap end mills in a box is silly. Buy good quality in a few sizes and USE THEM. When you need a 7/16" end mill (which I never have yet) you can easily buy one.

                          I could get by for a long time with 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2" end mills.

                          metalmagpie
                          In this day of instant gratification, the definition of "easily buy one" is rather fluid. If I am working in my shop on Friday evening, I will not be able to get a good quality 7/16th end mill until Monday. Even then, that requires spending a bundle for premium shipping or driving 20 miles to the nearest tool supply.

                          A decent quality mill in a set is better than a good one that you don't have.
                          At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

                          Location: SF East Bay.

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                          • #14
                            Chinese coated carbide endmills are so cheap that HSS makes sense only in bigger sizes. Even then you are able to move more material with the 1/2" carbide end mill vs 3/4" HSS and no need for coolant.

                            Either buy fanciest variable flutes or cheapo chinese carbide. These are cheaper than any decent HSS I have come across:
                            https://www.ebay.com/itm/8pcs-Carbid...UAAOSwIQdZMhXn

                            On my tiny these are very good value for money:
                            https://www.ebay.com/itm/5pcs-6mm-x-...EAAOSwg8tZ5wZ7
                            Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MattiJ View Post
                              Chinese coated carbide endmills are so cheap that HSS makes sense only in bigger sizes. Even then you are able to move more material with the 1/2" carbide end mill vs 3/4" HSS and no need for coolant.

                              Either buy fanciest variable flutes or cheapo chinese carbide. These are cheaper than any decent HSS I have come across:
                              https://www.ebay.com/itm/8pcs-Carbid...UAAOSwIQdZMhXn

                              On my tiny these are very good value for money:
                              https://www.ebay.com/itm/5pcs-6mm-x-...EAAOSwg8tZ5wZ7
                              Those are carbide coated, not solid carbide.
                              “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

                              Lewis Grizzard

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