Cutting Aircraft Grade Aluminum

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TimSchubach
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Cutting Aircraft Grade Aluminum

Post by TimSchubach »

I have a friend who needs to cut a fair amount of aircraft grade aluminum ( 6061T6 ). He has a head start on it, but he's been cutting all by hand. I'd like to be able to some cutting for him on my CNC, but I have never cut metal before and don't know anything about the tooling required for something like this.

Can anyone tell me if this can be done, and if so, what kind of tooling would be required?

TIA,
Tim

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martin54
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Re: Cutting Aircraft Grade Aluminum

Post by martin54 »

Tim try a search on the forum as it is something that gets asked quite often so there is already quite a bit of info on cutting Aluminium.
Simple answer is yes it is something that can be done, good chip extraction is very important & feeds & speeds are not quite so forgiving as they are for wood so have a bit of a practice to get things set up on a bit of scrap :lol: :lol:

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Re: Cutting Aircraft Grade Aluminum

Post by Mobius »

I've recently gotten into it. I use 'Aluminum Spiral O Single Flute" bits from Amana Tools (ToolsToday), and they work well. For me I like to keep it at 0.02" DOC and about 40-50IPM @ 16k RPM. No coolant or anything; the bit stays cool and it makes a nice clean cut with well defined chips.
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plcamp
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Re: Cutting Aircraft Grade Aluminum

Post by plcamp »

6061 machines clean when using the 0-flute cutter. Speed and feed are key, just keep an eye on the chip because of running it dry.

ger21
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Re: Cutting Aircraft Grade Aluminum

Post by ger21 »

Your machine's rigidity has a lot to do with how easy it'll be to cut, and the quality of the cuts.

As mentioned, an "O" flute is the way to go. If you can keep the chips cleared, it'll cut OK dry, but spraying WD40 on the cuts will increase cut quality, and reduce the chance of chips sticking to the tool, which can quickly result in broken bits if it happens.
Gerry - http://www.thecncwoodworker.com

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Re: Cutting Aircraft Grade Aluminum

Post by John Murphy »

I cut a lot of aluminum, but I have a Unist mister attached to my carriage. If you plan on cutting aluminum on a regular basis, it's worth it to invest in a misting system, or build one for yourself.
You don't need allot of lubrication, but it will help in both cutting and surface finish.
John

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Re: Cutting Aircraft Grade Aluminum

Post by Oldmanofgf »

I use Rapid Tap cutting fluid it work well just put a little on the piece that you are cutting.I agree that a mister is best if you are cutting aluminum a lot
Glenn

TimSchubach
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Re: Cutting Aircraft Grade Aluminum

Post by TimSchubach »

Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm not planning on making this a habit, so as this may be a one-time-deal I wasn't planning on looking into a misting system. But I'll definitely look into the bits mentioned, and probably some WD40.

Tim

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