Matching End Mills with Aluminum Grades for Optimal Performance

It’s crucial to get to know the characteristics of various aluminum grades when you select the correct end mill to achieve optimal performance. This chapter will help you to explore the different aluminum grades and their unique properties. It is a continuation in your journey to make informed decisions when choosing an end mill for your application.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Aluminum Grade

Before you settle on a particular aluminum grade, evaluate the following factors that will influence your end mill choice:

  • Corrosion resistance
  • Formability or workability
  • Heat treating
  • Machining
  • Strength
  • End-use applications
  • Weldability

Cast Alloys vs. Wrought Alloys: Understanding the Differences

There are two categories of aluminum alloys: cast alloys and wrought alloys. Cast aluminum alloys may contain up to 22% alloying elements, while wrought alloys may contain up to 4%. While the difference may not seem significant, the amount of alloying elements in a particular grade’s composition can affect the material’s properties. Because more alloying elements reduce ductility, cast aluminum alloys are more likely to fracture due to their brittleness. Wrought alloys, on the other hand, give designers the freedom to increase conductivity, corrosion resistance, and aluminum strength.

Common characteristics of cast alloys include tensile strength and low melting points. Aluminum silicon, one of the most prevalent aluminum alloys, is easy to cast due to its high silicon content. Most aluminum products are wrought aluminum alloys, especially those made through rolling and extrusion techniques. Copper, magnesium, manganese, lithium, silicon, and zinc are alloy components of wrought aluminum.

Wrought Aluminum Alloys and Their Characteristics

1xxx alloys

These alloys contain 99% pure aluminum and boast exceptional workability and corrosion resistance. You can use mechanical deformation to increase the strength of these alloys.

2xxx alloys

2xxx wrought alloys feature mainly copper and some amounts of magnesium as alloying elements. They can be heat-treated for additional strength, but their corrosion resistance is low.

3xxx alloys

The primary alloying element of 3xxx wrought aluminum alloys is manganese, which makes them incredibly strong compared to other alloys that are not heat-treatable. Workability and corrosion resistance are relatively high as well.

4xxx alloys

Silicon is the primary alloying element used in these alloys to lower the melting points. However, ductility is not compromised. Most of these alloys are unresponsive to heat treatment.

5xxx alloys

These alloys mostly feature magnesium as the alloying element, and they are readily weldable, strain-hardenable, and corrosion-resistant.

6xxx alloys

Magnesium and silicon are the two main alloying elements for creating 6xxx aluminum alloys. Its qualities include corrosion resistance, good formability, machinability, and weldability.

7xxx alloys

Zinc is the primary alloying element used in 7xxx alloys. Even though it decreases machinability and workability, it significantly increases the alloy’s strength.

8xxx alloy

8xxx alloys feature numerous alloying elements, resulting in higher stiffness, better temperature performance, and lower densities.

Selecting the Right End Mill for Each Grade

As was shown, different aluminum grades have unique properties that call for particular end mills for efficient machining. Consider the grade’s specific properties when choosing an end mill to ensure effective cutting and ideal results. For instance, select an end mill with flutes that won’t stick when working with ductile materials. Conversely, opt for an end mill with higher rigidity and cutting-edge strength when machining a high-strength alloy.

Starlight’s Recommendations

In conclusion, understanding the properties of different aluminum grades is essential for selecting the ideal end mill for your project. By matching the aluminum grade’s unique characteristics with the appropriate end mill, you can achieve optimal performance for your aluminum extrusion process.

StarlightCorp is a trusted supplier of high-quality tooling for aluminum extrusion. Explore our wide range of end mills specifically designed for aluminum extrusion and leverage our expertise to ensure you make the best choice for your milling needs – we can help you choose the right end mill for the needs of your company! Contact us if you have any questions or if you’d like to find out more about our wide selection of end mills.