Cutting Speed when Milling Aluminum on the CNC

      Advice on bit choice and operating settings to make good time when machining aluminum plate on the CNC. May 27, 2014

Question
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Can a wooden CNC machine mill harder material? I've made many projects with hardwood, but I never tried to machine harder material.

Forum Responses
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From contributor K:
This was 2005.


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From contributor T:
Judging by your chips, you're going too slow. Basically you're re-cutting the chips and grinding them to dust. Try an O flute and let it rip. The chips should rooster tail out the back. For coolant, try a mister system with rubbing alcohol. Save you a lot mopping up. At the right feed and speed, most of the heat will be leaving with the chip. Type of aluminum makes a big difference as well. I always try to get T6 6160 cuts real nice.

From the original questioner

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Very interesting information, but is the machine in the picture built with plywood?


From contributor T:
Never ran a plywood CNC. But you could run single flute tool to make up for the lack of speed. May even be able to increase the depth of cut with single flute. I think you can get more out of the machine by dialing in your tooling, feed rates, toolpath strategy, material, coolant, etc. There are limits but if you play around a little now, you can save yourself some time to do more projects. Faster is always better. Whether it's a hobby or for money.

From the original questioner

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I just ordered new single flute carbide end mill. I will test when I will receive them!


From contributor T:
Be sure to ramp in your entry points or drill out some clearance for your start point. Diving right into aluminum with a single flute tool could break it. Good luck.

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