3XXL 6061 Machining

Ok guys, thanks for the recommendations, I agree the XXL will flex more.
@Vince.Fab : I have already added support to the bottom center of the wasteboard to limit sag.
@Rich: Yeah I should have gone with the Makita instead…

Anyhow, Winston Moy recently posted a C3D video about cutting alu on a XL (with some recommended feeds and speeds). The machine seems to be doing well with the 102-Z endmill @ 10k rpm and 20IPM (which if I’m correct is a pretty decent chip load=0.008). He says that scaling the feedrate up 60% (for use with a DeWalt) works but it’s less forgiving for the endmill in case of mistakes. I think I will try some cuts with the dewalt @ 16k rpm and 30 IPM see how it goes, my work will be mostly plywood/wood and some alu but if things go well I will make more and more shiny stuff and I don’t want to waste endmills!

Looks like the 102 is an 1/8 2 flute. That at 10k/20ipm is 0.001 chipload per tooth.

Even carbide create aluminum defaults call for 15k rpm/60ipm which translates to a 0.002 chipload. To be on the absolute low end on 16krpm you should run at least 35ipm.


@Vince.Fab Ok that’s the feedrate I had in mind for a first trial with the 102-Z. I’ll get the endmills next week so I’ll give a try then and let you guys know how that goes.

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My understanding is that 5083 is pretty difficult to get a good finish on.

You’re not wrong… I just cut some 6061 for the first time and it cut like butter… I could still manage a decent finish on the 5083 but 6061 is certainly easier to get that finish, can probably push a lot harder on the bit without it melting the material too.

Pity I have loads of 5083 sitting around!

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Can anyone recommend settings for a 1/4" end mill? I’m running a 2.2kW spindle and I’m currently setup for 1/4". I have a few slabs of 1" thick 6061 I’d like to mill.

For an example of what my goal is: I have a few sheets of 24"x24"x1" 6061 that I’m cutting discs from. 4.5" OD by 3.5" ID. Would moving to Fusion360 or Mach3 be the way to go here? 1/4" end mill with adaptive clearing? Maybe follow the 4.2mm DoC, .4mm OL, 1600mm/min @24k as recommended above?

As far as software goes:
If you’re doing big aluminium jobs I personally think Fusion360 is the way to go, those adaptive toolpaths work well with the shapeoko, and give you a lot of flexibility
Mach3 is control software, which won’t work with a carbide motion board, unless you’ve upgraded/changed your board then CarbideMotion/UGS/CNCJS will be fine for F360 Toolpaths

Have you done much aluminium machining? @RichCournoyer gave some excellent advice in the second post of this thread
I use similar to the settings you mentioned but only go around 2.5mm DOC. I’m sure it can be pushed harder but I get good results with those settings.

There is loads of great info earlier in this thread from Rich and @Vince.Fab, also in this one , I suggest re-reading the whole lot then starting out conservative and working your way up until you find the limit, then back off 10%


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