Aluminum 3D Contouring

I’ve seen some posts with aluminum parts that folks have cut but I hadn’t seen any 3D contoured parts yet so I decided to cut a simple part last weekend to see how it would go. I sketched up a small knob to replace a hideous dial that has been controlling the vent in my bathroom for too long. The bounding dimensions of the knob are about 1"x1"x0.5". It was very loud and took almost 2 hours to complete but the end result was pretty good. I used an aluminum specific 1/8" ball end mill from Lakeshore Carbide for roughing and finishing and WD-40 for coolant. Pictures are below and if anyone else has cut some 3D Al parts, please add some shots to the thread.


amazing true 3D work… and thank you for posting this.

(we also use WD-40 for aluminum cutting, shaping and tapping… by the gallon!)

might you share your cutting “values”: type of aluminum, tool flute-count, tool rpm, feed rate, depth per pass, etc.?

it’s from makers like you that the rest of us learn.

and my utmost apologies if i am prying or asking asking too much.


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Hi Kev, no problem. I’m on the road tonight but I should be able to post this info for you tomorrow morning.

It took me a couple days to get back to this but here is the information that you’re looking for. I used the ball and flat end mills from Lakeshore Carbide to create this part. The material was 6061-T651 aluminum which I got from I had it custom cut for no extra charge to a size just bigger than I needed, then I began the project by squaring up the block on the Nomad.

The rest of the speeds and feeds that you’re looking for can be found in my toolpath settings file below. I also left a .006" onion skin at the bottom of the part but found that it was fairly hard to break off. On the next aluminum part, I’ll probably try a .003 or .004" skin to make the clean up easier. As I mentioned before, it was very loud so be sure to wear some hearing protection while you’re cutting. Good luck!
Aluminum 125b 3d.tps (2.1 KB)

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thank you very much… you are greatly helping me to learn!!