5 Tips that Can Save Thousands with Carbide End Mills

Carbide end mills are expensive tools that are a necessity in most successful industrial milling applications. Different carbide end mills serve different purposes – finishing, roughing, material-specific applications, and many others – and in order to protect your investment and to get the most out of your equipment, it is important that you use them correctly. These tips can help you do just that, potentially saving you thousands.

1. Two Flute Square End Tools Are a Good Solution for Most Projects

When it comes to selecting the right end mill for your project, two flute square end tools are often recommended. These mills are center cutting and specifically designed for slotting, plunging, and contouring. The wide flute design is perfect for chip evacuation, especially at higher feed rates with heavy peripheral cuts. Even better – the square end will produce a clean 90º angle when slotting.

2. Use Multiple Flute Tools Where Appropriate

Carbide end mills come in a variety of styles, and the number of flutes can range up to 12. Multi-flute tools will have different purposes, and in order to protect your investment, it is important that you use them appropriately. Some of the most common include:

  • Three flute styles. These end mills are a good compromise between the chip removal volume of a two flute and the strength of end mills with more flutes. Like the two flute option, it also provides a square end to achieve the ultimate surface finish.
  • Four flute styles. Four flute end mills are especially versatile when it comes to milling in materials where chip packing isn’t a concern. These tools have an increased core thickness that leads to improved size accuracy and less tool deflection. They also provide for minimal chip load.
  • Six flute styles. The durability of the six flute option provides increased tool stability, allowing more cutting edges to stay engaged within the work material. The end result is extended tool life and reduced chipping of the cutting edges.
  • Variable helix styles. This geometry minimizes deflection and reduces vibration. These characteristics ensures superior finish at high stock removal rates.

3. Achieve Precise Angles with Square End Cutting Features

If you need to create a perfectly square corner, especially at the bottom of a channel, a square end mill is your best solution. A square end cutting feature can produce clean 90 degree angles at the bottom of the cut. Remember though, fewer flutes allow for better chip evacuation.

4. Consider High Helix Options

High helix carbide end mills – which might also be referred to as high-spiral, shallow wedge, or high helix angle end mills – are a type of high-performance cutter that is specifically designed for soft materials. Feed rates are much higher with these cutters, and there are a variety of benefits to choosing them:

  • Reduced tool deflection
  • Faster chip removal due to vertical chip evacuation
  • Reduced risk of flute clogging
  • Greater shearing action leads to reduced horsepower consumption

High helix carbide end mills are often used with aluminum and other non-ferrous materials, mostly because of the positive shearing action and the extra cutting edge for wear.

5.  Extend the Life of Your Tool with a Radius Ground

To get the maximum return on your investment and extend the life of your carbide end mills, a radius ground is an excellent solution. The weakest point on an end mill is the sharp corner, so a ground radius on the tips will prevent chipping.

The initial cost of carbide end mills might be high, especially for high performance and new designs. However, with proper considerations for the type of end mill that will work best for your application – along with proper set up – the cost will be offset by better finishes, greater productivity, and higher production.

Request a quote today and find out if carbide end mills are the right solution for your process!