End Milling Aluminum Using the Right Tools

Too often when machining aluminum, the assumption made is that any tool will do because aluminum is easy to cut. That’s not terribly incorrect, however if you are cost and production conscious you may want to consider otherwise.

Manufacturers who produce parts made from various grades of aluminum recognize the importance of choosing the best style end mill based on the characteristics of the material. Decisions can be made based on:

  • The configuration of the parts to be produced
  • Production quantity & productivity
  • Or cost

Slotting and profiling of aluminum are the most common operations and unless the machinist knows that a high volume of material will be machined, more than likely a two flute end mill will be selected. HSS tools will easily produce good cutting action and tool wear will be minimal.

A more experienced operator will probably prefer a high spiral end mill because the flute shape is more conducive to removing a higher volume of aluminum.
Now, if you are running production, consider high spiral tools made from carbide.  Three flute tools provide good chip control in plunging and slotting operations.  Not only do these end mills last, the production rates achieved are outstanding.

Regal offers distinct styles to meet the specific part configuration required.  In all cases our tools are designed with a cylindrical margin and eccentric relief to insure stability in the cut and minimize vibration which adds to the life of the tool.  The combination of a 45° helix and unique flute shape means the tools can be run at extremely high RPM’s producing a smooth finish and great tool life.

The three styles shown are a square end, ball nose, and a square end with a .060 radius. Have any questions on which would be right for your process? Ask one of experts today!