CNC machines are not only used to cut wood and plastics. The machines may also be used for aluminum machining and they do it very well. In this article, we’ll give you ten tips for aluminum machining to help you do it correctly. These tips will not make the process easy for you but you’ll find the process very productive.
Tips For Easy Aluminum Machining
If you want to experience success, you need to learn how to slow things down. When you’re in a hurry, precision and accuracy are compromised. You should let the machine do things at its own rate. Just load it, press the green button to start the process and leave it alone.
Put feeds and speeds calculator to use
Ensure that the calculator you buy is compatible with your CNC milling machine. Some of the most important features that you should put into consideration are the minimum rotations per minute, the deflection rate, the cutter type, chip thinning, the rubbing warning which greatly affects the tool life, and the ability to switch between full rating and derated profiles when necessary.
The calculator helps you to compensate for anything that might slow down the machining or cause the tools to wear out prematurely.
Use specialized cutters
Make sure that the cutters you use are specifically designed to be used with aluminum. This will help you to bump up the recommended rotations per minute that your machine’s spindles can handle.
Use cutters with smaller diameters
Cutters that have a small diameter eliminate problems associated with deflection. Again, they tend to be more rigid and are easier to manage. Matching the tools to the capabilities of the machine makes everything flow smoothly.
Chips can easily break the cutter especially if the material being cut has a high affinity for the cutter. Ensure that you clear out the chips. If they are inside deep cuts, point a spindle into the cut and air blast the cut. To be surer that there are no chips in there, you could also use a brush.
The deeper the cut, the harder it is to clear the chips.
Lubricate the machine with mist
When you provide some form of lubricant, you minimize the possibility of the chips sticking on the cutter. When the chips stick on the cutter, they create a mess and compromise the reliability of the cutter.
The mist reduces the mess from accumulating on the cutter.
Don’t slow down the feed-rate so much
Slowing the feed-rate so much increases the risk of the cutter rubbing on the workpiece other than doing the actual cutting. Slowing down also heats up the machine and significantly shortens the tool’s lifespan.
Use fewer flutes for a slow-rate machine
If your machine is designed to use fewer flutes do not go against the requirements and use many flutes. With too many flutes, the chips tighten up the flutes and cause them to jam. Shortly after, the cutter breaks.
Don’t forget that horsepower limit de-rates rigidity
Full horsepower destroys the cutter and caused the machine to chatter. This causes the machine to cut inaccurately due to increased deflection.
Don’t use a machine intended to cut aluminum sheets to cut aluminum plates
The machines used to cut plates varies so much from one that is used to cut sheets. Since plates are thicker than sheets, using a machine intended to cut sheets for cutting plates could cause it to malfunction.