Can the Nomad do this?

A structure like this one in aluminium with flat heads of 0.5mm diameter?


I checked the link, interesting - but Im not 100% clear on the job.
Most things within the Nomad build area can be done.
Can you post a model with key dimensions?

I cannot share the model. I need to make structures in ALU with canals that are 0.5mm wide and 0.5mm deep (as smallest feature). So the question is what is the accuracy on all axis.

Sounds even more interesting…
The Nomad’s mechanical resolution is .001"

I would equate this scale of work with PCB prototyping, here’s a link:

Interesting. What about surface finishing?

Surface finish can be adjusted in meshCAM and its going to depend on time.

Time is no issue, but it needs to be smooth.

I use my Nomad for PCB’s and the tolerance itself is not an issue, but the mechanics of exactly the shape you desire and material would be required for a specific yes or no answer.

In first post you mention “Flat Heads of 0.5mm”, and in next post you mention “canals 0.5mm deep and wide”. Does this mean rectangular canals? In other words, a mostly flat piece of material, with 0.5mm deep rectangular grooves milled into it (I guess they would be square if they are 0.5mm deep and wide)… or is it more like the 0.5x0.5 are extending up from the flat piece of material?

Can you draw or model a sample picture?

The reason I ask is because if you are milling a groove 0.5mm wide with a rectangular bottom (not semicircular or a V groove), then the endmill has to be less than 0.5mm wide unless you are taking a full width cut… and in aluminum with this tiny endmill I think that may be a bit of a challenge. So then you are using an even smaller endmill and then needing to go down 0.5mm deep with it… that would probably be multiple passes (at least 2) so as to not snap the endmill.

Whereas if you are meaning 0.5x0.5 square “poles” sticking up, then you are milling away all the material and leaving 0.5mm which means you can use a larger endmill (depending on how close together each “head” or “canal” is).


It has to be a canal, not necessarily rectangular, but 0.5mm wide and deep. It can be circular and i probably can manage to let the system work if it gets 0.6mm or 0.7mm.
Unfortunately, I cannot share drawing (due to confidentiality) but I can say that these are structures similar to the ones used in microfluidics. The material is aluminium.

In order to get the project i need to assess if we can use a nomad or we need to use work shops. And while the road has a higher initial costs and a learning curve, it would be a better investment and would allow more flexibility (and also some persona l fun :slight_smile: )

You are misunderstanding the question about the sample picture. Draw a simple small cross section of the canal that you want to make.

I will share one shortly.

I guess one other obvious question is if this prototype absolutely has to be in aluminum, or would some type of acrylic, HDPE, or other material work?
If it has to be Al, then is it 6061 or some other alloy req’d?


I think that “flat head” in the original post means “flat end mill”… This is a typical fluidic channel needing to be .5mm wide and .5mm deep. Though I think the results would be better using a ball-end mill to eliminate the two lower corners (I’m assuming the fluidic circuit will be covered by a flat cover plate). The square channel corners hinder the flow vs. a cornerless wall, especially if you are trying to mix two streams efficiently. (In former life I was a biotechnology equipment mechanical engineer)


Randy, yes a ball-end is best indeed.
Unfortunately, I am told it has to be aluminium (not indication of what alloy).

Well, then the hard part might be finding a 0.5mm ballnose endmill.

I checked my shop and I have a 1.5mm ballnose for aluminum, but I think finding one smaller may be harder? I have some 0.5mm and 0.7mm endmills for PCB routing, but they would not cut aluminum with any reliability. Even milling soft copper clad is very slow with these.

Maybe others have more info.

I’ve machined nickel silver with down to a .010" (.25mm) flat-ended mill, and a .009" (.23mm) ball-end mill. Not on the Nomad, but using a Proxxon 20,000 RPM hand tool clamped to the spindle on the Tormach. I don’t doubt the Nomad will do just as well, and in the next month or two I plan to machine some wheels on the Nomad. for reference.

.020" (.50mm) is not a small cutter at all…remembering where I got the small cutters is not a small challenge though… :wink: I think I’ve dealt with all these three:


Harvey tool has some small cutters also

Thanks guys.
I will share a section of what I mean and ask for final comment if it would be possible. But looks like that as soon as the project seems getting a go, this would be a machine to order day 1.