Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

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Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby Gundawg » Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:47 am

I have a product I make from aluminum 6061 T-6 extrusion I am currently using a label to mark my product. I would like to engrave the part using my router the engraving needs to be a simple one line type with my company name patent number and phone number. The area to be engraved is flat and .5" high by 2"-3" long. The parts are then sent out to be anodized clear. I have never engraved anything would a diamond drag bit be best or some sort of end mill maybe a ball end mill or ???
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby FixitMike » Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:56 am

In my opinion, a diamond drag tool would be best, since with it you are scratching the design rather than removing material. Also, it is less sensitive to variations in material thickness. Much quieter, too.
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby glenninvb » Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:02 pm

A diamond bit is going to cut very shallow and may or may not give the results you are looking for?... a small dia. end mill or a half round conical engraving cutter 60degree .005 tip (for small text) may give better results with deeper engraving with a light sanding or polish to de-bur before anodizing, that's one of the main uses for these cutters. Proper feed and speed with a clean up pass leaves very little bur.

http://www.2linc.com/engraving/conical_1-4.htm .......They sell ones for soft and hard materials (S is what I generally use)

This company sells spring loaded engraving tool for uneven parts but they are pricy and designed for fairly low rpms on the smaller versions........ I just use the cutters for engraving flat material (acrylic, aluminum, wood) at high feeds and 10,000-15,000 rpm.

If you have a diamond drag bit, try it... if you don't like the depth I would try the conical bits or small ball designed for aluminum (coolant will help prevent clogging the mill, I use the conical bits dry)

Many other company's sell as well.
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby Mobius » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:52 pm

Here is an example of a 120º diamond drag on some 'sign' aluminum (not sure of the grade, but on the harder end of the scale).

Image
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby Gundawg » Tue Nov 24, 2015 6:26 am

The pats go through a vibratory tumbler before they are sent to to be anodized. I am thinking the engraving bit maybe best if the engraving is not deep enough the tumbler may remove some of the engraving if it is too shallow. Any suggested speed and feed and depth of cut for the tool listed above I have a 24000 RPM spindle? Getting this done fast would also be a bonus.

Thanks Mike
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby Dustmite » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:54 am

At my work we engrave aluminum hydraulic manifolds that we machine. The engraver we use is a single flute engraving bit with 60degree point and .020 diameter tip and the tool itself is 3/16 diameter. We typically run these engravers at about 600sfm or 12000 rpm and feed at about .001 ipt or 12 ipm.
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby glenninvb » Tue Nov 24, 2015 12:11 pm

There are feed and feed charts in the link I provided.......... I generally set my machine much higher f/s but it's never reached, so the chart is a good start

http://www.2linc.com/engraving_feeds_speeds.htm
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby glenninvb » Tue Nov 24, 2015 12:24 pm

Here is another company I've dealt with for engraving bits
http://bitsbits.com/index.php?main_page ... cPath=4_45
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby Gundawg » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:43 pm

Thanks for the info the second link led me to a business in my area and I ordered a couple engraving bits from them a 70* 1/8" shank .005" tip and another one with a .010 tip I bought 2 of each. I am a little confused getting them setup in the tool database.

1st Question; what is meant by flat diameter?

2) Pass depth I know what this means but it seams to only allow me to enter .001" for the .005" tip why and is that a correct depth if so how deep should I go for a good finished product? Do you need to make multiple passes.

3) Step over how much should that be is there a formula for this?

4) Clearance pass step over I am not sure what this means or how to figure it out?

Thanks for any of these blanks you can fill in for me.

Mike
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby glenninvb » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:57 pm

Set it up as an engraving bit... the side angle is the included angle 35d in your case.. tip dia. is the flat .005 or .010 in your case
I general set pass depth @ .030 and adjust as needed depending on material and f/s
I set step and cps @ 40% which is generally good when doing a fill engraving
On aluminum I use high f/s but my machine will on reach 20-30 ipm on small work anyway, I engrave acrylic @ 100ipm and 60 for plunge
I would try the recommended feeds on the chart ..... 15000 rpm is fine
For aluminum dry. multi passes @ .005 is a good start.... it won't take long on small text for 2 or more passes .010 may give good results for you? test!

the onlyy cooling I use is my dust vac system, a dedicated air nozzle is good too
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby Leo » Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:00 am

6061 T6 --- ?extrusion? I know it can be done but it's not common. Extrusion is usually something like 6005 which is very gummy and not machineably friendly.
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby FixitMike » Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:28 am

6061 extrusions are common. Bar, angles, and tubing.
http://www.alro.com/datacatalog/010-aluminum.pdf
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby glenninvb » Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:09 am

Yes very common, 6061 T6 In US for structural extrusions, angle, channel, I or H beam if you see a piece with rounded corners and/or web it most likely is 6061 T6 .... 6063 is very common for Architectural extrusions and is gummy and about half the tensile strength of 61... but pretty
http://www.thefabricator.com/article/al ... inum-alloy
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby Leo » Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:38 am

I worked in an aluminum extrusion factory and the stuff that was extruded there was mainly 6005. Machining that just was awful.
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Re: Engraving 6061 T-6 Aluminum extrusion?

Postby glenninvb » Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:08 am

Your right Leo, I hated cutting and coping most extrusions when I owned a small marine welding and fab shop.... but for welding pre- anodized pipe structures I mostly used 6463 T66 ...... 6061T6 pipe must be annealed before bending

For CNC machining 6061 or 7075 and even mic-6 plate are great to work with, I won't mess with most extruded, and 5052 sheet is about my limit
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