The key to working with aluminum extrusion is in knowing its consistency. Aluminum is a popular material for a variety of products due to its high strength-to-weight ratio and ease of machining. However, the aluminum extrusion process can be challenging due to the material’s consistency and sticky nature. To make the process easier, it is important to choose an end mill that is specifically designed for aluminum. Some of the commonly faced challenges during the aluminum milling process include :
- Aluminum’s abrasiveness
- Controlling the chips
- Quick machining
The unique characteristics of aluminum, more importantly its stickiness, can make the milling and extrusion process more challenging. To ensure success in these processes, it is important to choose an end mill that is specifically designed to work with aluminum and its particular challenges.
Simplifying the process
To make the aluminum milling process easier, it is advisable to use an end mill specifically designed for aluminum. These end mills are optimized for quick machining and are capable of achieving high rates of metal removal.
End mills that are not designed for aluminum tend to have evenly spaced flutes, which can exacerbate the issue of chatter during aluminum milling and extrusion. To avoid this problem, it is ideal to use end mills with unevenly spaced flutes and a low number of flutes (ideally 1 or 2). These end mills are designed to minimize harmonic vibrations caused by flute impacts, which can lead to chatter on the floors and walls of the cut.
The sticky nature of aluminum can cause chips to stick to the flutes of end mills, potentially leading to a premature end to the life of the end mill. To prevent this, it is advisable to use end mills with a specific radius. While extra finish passes may be required with these end mills during grinding, they help to prevent sticky aluminum chips from forming, even when using standard lubrication.
Abrasiveness is a common issue encountered during the aluminum extrusion process, regardless of the grade of aluminum being used. To address this problem, it is recommended to use end mills coated with high concentrations of aluminum oxide. These end mills are able to effectively handle abrasive aluminum materials without decreasing their lifespan.
When it comes to aluminum extrusion, an ideal end mill is one that can perform a variety of tasks, including slotting, plunging, roughing, profiling, and finishing, in just one pass. Some benefits of using such an end mill over conventional cutters include:
- Increased throughput
- Reduced cut time
- More parts for every end mill
To conclude, the secret to milling aluminum is to understand its nature and use an end mill that is meant for milling it. Using an end mill that is specifically designed for aluminum can help overcome many challenges and improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your milling process.