Experience in Aluminum

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Experience in Aluminum

Post by Rcnewcomb »

As FixIt Mike says:
Good judgement comes from experience.
Experience comes from bad judgement.

I got some experience in aluminum today.

Lessons Learned:
  • The superglue/blue-tape hold down requires that you use superglue that hasn't exceeded its shelf life
  • Further problems are caused when the WD40 seeps into the MDF and causes what little adhesion the stale superglue had to also fail
  • Cutting 0.25" aluminum isn't exactly the same as cutting 0.125" aluminum
  • Chip load really, really matters with aluminum
  • When the aluminum panel is no longer held in place and begins to move it will break that 1/4" end mill, and it doesn't care how much you paid for it
Hopefully this will lead to good judgement.
- Randall Newcomb
10 fingers in, 10 fingers out
another good day in the shop

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Re: Experience in Aluminum

Post by AcBCDN »

https://www.nyccnc.com/super-glue-fixturing/ is a good primer for using super glue. I adapted to my setup since I didn't have a vice to start.

I have had good success when cutting aluminium on a mini mill; up to half inch material. My best success with super glue is metal on metal (for blue tape) when using WD-40.

Hope that helps.

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Re: Experience in Aluminum

Post by Bob Jr »

It looks like you have just attained lots more good judgment.
"Be accurate."
W. Tell

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Re: Experience in Aluminum

Post by martin54 »

Not 100% sure about your first point, WD40 probably has no respect for the age of the superglue :lol: :lol: You might want to cut back on how much WD you use, a light mist works as well as flooding it on from my limited experience. I would agree that the thickness definately makes a difference :lol:
Aluminium is no where near as forgiving as wood so yes chip load does matter although it looks like you had decent sized chips.
Even when the aluminium doesn't move it has no respect for the price of the cutters :lol: :lol:

I use an airline to remove chips from the cut which seems to help, gentle blow just enough to kep the chips clear of the cutting area.
When it comes to hold down I tend to be a belt & braces person so would have had clamps on that as well as tape :lol: :lol: I've got vacuum pods but never actually tried them with aluminium, they would probably be OK if I left an onion skin but I am far more careful than I really need to be with this sort of thing which is actually quite strange if you look at my background. 20 years in the Royal Navy where I used a wide range of machinery, all manually operated rather than CNC but I used to get jobs done far quicker than most with the way I was operating the machinery & the cuts I was taking :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Experience in Aluminum

Post by rtibbs »

My old boss once said that it’s a good day when you learn something.....looks as though you hand a great day :mrgreen:
That’s why I do my metal cutting on my Bridgeport


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Re: Experience in Aluminum

Post by jerry carney »

I like cutting alum. mostly .250 stock. useing ball nose and end mill bits
light cuts and compressed air. No problems

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Re: Experience in Aluminum

Post by bobrickard »

95% of my cutting is aluminum. Here is an image of cuts I made which look similar to what you were doing.
Here is what I did:

First, and very important, I used 6061 aluminum. Don't use 5052 if you can help it, as it does not cut cleanly and will adhere to your end mill.

I have a vacuum table, but did not want to cut into my spoil board nor depend on the vacuum to hold the cut circles in place. So i attached the aluminum plate to some sacrificial cardboard which was then held in place by the vacuum. Since you don't have vacuum, you could substitute a sacrificial piece of scrap wood and attach it to your spoil board with screws or however you normally hold down stock.

I first applied masking tape to the back of the aluminum, then adhered the masking taped aluminum to the cardboard with 3M Super 77 Multi-Purpose Adhesive. The tape was easy to remove from the cut circles and also held them in place after they were cut.

I used an Onsrud 63-622 single flute upcut spiral at 18,000 rpm, 0.65 ips, 0.03 pass depth, a spiral ramp and cut all the way through into the cardboard. I never use misting or any other form of cooling when cutting 6061 aluminum. The chips carry away the heat and the aluminum is just warm to the touch following cutting. If I wanted to use a deeper pass depth, which would generate more heat, I would choose a directed air jet instead of a liquid. I understand why a high-volume production shop will use liquid cooling so they can cut more aggressively, but I as an artist, I always have plenty of other things to do while my Shopbot works away.

Hope this helps.

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