Carbide Cutter #122 on AL

Do anyone have any experience with using the Carbide 3D #122 .0312" Flat Cutter? I’m hoping to use this on 6061 aluminum, but I was wondering if it would be strong enough for aluminum.

My part will be milled down to .04" thick, then I would use the #122 to cut out a pocket on the edge that is .075" x .044".

If the #122 would not be sufficient, is there an alternative?


I use 1/32 flat end mills on aluminum all the time, but my cutters are coated and if your’s isn’t you better be flooded with WD40 or some type of aluminum cutting fluid. I think my settings are: 25k rpm, 10"/min feed and 0.01" depth of cut.

Good to know that it can be done. I don’t think the #122 cutter from Carbide 3D is coated, but I have plenty of cutting fluid. I’ve been looking at coated end mills in the .02"-.032" range. I may pick up a few to try out.

I won’t be able to get to 25k RPM on my Nomad, so I guess I’ll have to experiment a bit.

Can also speak for using tiny tools in the aluminum, having used (and broken) my fair share of them—the big thing is to set your feeds/speeds more conservatively for them and keep them working in a puddle of cutting fluid.

I don’t remember my settings for the 1/32 flat off-hand, but I’d definitely suggest keeping your depth x diameter relationship to 1x with the small tools as the Nomad isn’t rigid enough to prevent flex and binding in deeper cuts (in my experience). I’d also recommend sticking to climb-cutting at 40% or less of the tool diameter in your tool path strategies wherever possible, and use adaptive strategies where you can in order to reduce the load-shock to the tool.

Another note for you @shakezoola as I’m checking the forums this afternoon—you may want to look at coated tools for aluminum rather than plain carbide because of how much aluminum sticks to it, leading to “BUE”—built-up-edge.

TiB2 (Titanium DiBoride) and ZrN (Zirconium Nitride) are two of the most popular options for aluminum, and if you can either have an air-blast evacuating chips or mist-lubricate the part while cutting with wd-40 or other aluminum-appropriate cutting oil it’ll help your tool last as well.

Hope that helps!

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I ordered and received an end mill hat is ZrN coated. I couldn’t find one that was TiB2 . I also have the parts to install the mod for the air blower. Sounds like I am good to go to give it a try.

You’re help is much appreciated!

I just went through this with my Nomad, using Carbide 3D bits, as outlined here:

Main takeaway for me: LEVEL THE SPOILBOARD. I broke 3 bits before I realized my fresh out of box from C3D spoilboard was very much NOT level.

I did not use cutting fluid, but I ran quite slow. Once the board was flat, it worked perfectly.

Running feed rates too slow leads to small chip loads, which leads to rubbing, which dulls the cutter.

To go slow you have to slow the spindle down to keep chip size/chip-load up… but that leads to really insufficient surface speeds of the cutter moving through the material. That leads to rubbing that encourages the aluminum to weld itself to the cutter, especially if you’re just stirring the chips.

So the moral of the story is level the spoilboard/clamping arrangement, figure out the right chip-load, be a little but not too conservative, and use some cutting fluid—WD-40 works just fine for aluminum, and it’s cheap!

For more about figuring out “the right chip-load/feed-rate/spindle-speed” you can’t get enough of Bob Warfield’s blog articles:


When cutting Aluminum, try to use a 1/16" if you can, the small cutters like 1/32" and smaller will break if you do anything wrong.

If you must, take shallow cuts, .005" DOC is a safe start.

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