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I would be interested to know if anyone has experience milling solid (.5") bronze with their router - I'm not finding much relevant information in my initial research. I've got a potential job cutting a bronze threshold for a radius door unit and would like to have some guidance about tooling and so forth if anyone is familiar. I've cut a modest amount of 6061 aluminum with good success just using standard high helix end mills designed for aluminum and finishing with .25" ball-end mills and keeping things misted with a bit of water, but expect bronze might be more demanding. Any advice would be appreciated.
On theory bronze should be easier. It's self lubricating.
I'd start with an O flute made for aluminum (Onsrud has one) and go from there.
Cut it dry. I've used the Onsrud bit on 1/4 aluminum plate 12,000 RPM 1/8 DOC and I forget the feed rate. Great results.
Post on the "Practical Machinist" web site.
Wanted to update on the results of this project:
- I ended up using 365 brass rather than bronze, as the only bronze I could locate of sufficient width was aluminum bronze, which research suggested is a fairly fussy material to machine
- I used 3/8" 2 flute HSS and 4 flute carbide endmills for milling, taking about .025 - .035 per pass running about 60-75 ipm on average, cooling with a bit of water from spray bottle. The chips came off hot, but the tooling stayed cool and lasted fairly well in both cases. Finish quality was good. Used a .25 ball end to rough out tapers, stepping over .025 per pass.
- Either filed or used 60 grit by hand or on random orbit to knock down slight grooves left by ball-end - took a fair bit of time to get them down. Then 80 grit by hand and then coarser and finer Scotch-brite, which left a quite nice satin finish
- The results of this were quite nice, in everyone's estimation, but if you are not used to the amount of time/passes required to do work of this sort, definitely do not bid it - time/materials is the only way to go.