Cutting Aluminium

This topic contains 5 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of wichitapilot wichitapilot 4 months ago.

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  • #17736
    Profile photo of wichitapilot
    wichitapilot
    Participant

    Hey guys and gals I have started to experiment with cutting aluminium and wanted to see if anyone else has tried it. It is working out fairly well so far with what I have done. My process is to try to get the aluminium as close to the gantry as possible so the gantry is at it’s most rigid. So far I have used a 1/8″ diameter 3 flute endmill and also a 1/4″ 2 flute endmill. I use a router speed controller on my Dewalt 660 from Harbor Freight to slow the spindle down to about half. I still get a little squeaking and squelching sometimes but it seems that both bits like the half speed. When I use the 1/8″ cutter my depth of cut is either 0.010″ or 0.015″ and the feed rate is at 15 in/min. When I use the 1/4″ cutter my depth of cut is 0.020″ and the feed rate is at 15 in/min. I have only cut 0.050″ and 0.063″ thick material so far and it is 2024-T3 alloy. I will post some pictures later but, I wanted to hear from everyone else on what their process is and any other tips I can learn. One thing that I am finding is that when I want to leave tabs on a piece I am getting a lot of vibration when the tool is plunging into the material (plunge feed is 13 in/mm). Let me know what you guys have done and I will post the pictures soon.

    #17737
    Profile photo of vicious1
    vicious1
    Keymaster

    Some bits are not meant for plunging, you can also peck plunge. It goes in and out at increasing increments, or ramp in.

    Stick with a short 1/8″ bit single or dual flute. 3 and 4 flute is no good. Have a look into chip load. You could very well just be work hardening the material.

    I have a video showing my typical aluminum set up before the machine updates so it should be even more rigid/faster now.

    #17775
    Profile photo of wichitapilot
    wichitapilot
    Participant

    As promised here are a few photos of the pieces I have been working on.

    #17786
    Profile photo of vicious1
    vicious1
    Keymaster

    Those cuts look amazing.

    Have you seen the video where they use a cnc and a dremel with a wire brush to brush in a pattern on the metal? It looks like it could be useful to you. I don’t remember where I saw it, it might have been a user. Not sure but it was on you tube I’ll try and find it.

    #17787
    Profile photo of vicious1
    vicious1
    Keymaster

    Looks like he went a little too deep or to high of rpms, but you get the idea.

    #18019
    Profile photo of wichitapilot
    wichitapilot
    Participant

    Thank you. I did the swirls with a circular scotch brite pad and my drill press before I cut the pieces out. That is pretty cool with the dremel. I couldn’t come up with a way to do the swirls I wanted with the CNC machine. I thought about just doing some drill patterns and lie to the machine and say the tool was a drill bit. Also with using the scotch brite pad you need to dwell on the spot for about 3 seconds or so to swirl and cover the previous swirls. It was fairly quick and easy to do it by hand.

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