Cutting Aluminum, Material Pulling Router Down = Catastrophic Failure

I’m trying to basically cut a 12x12" square from a 15x24" piece of 1.6mm 6061-T6 on my XL. I’m still learning how to use the machine and I’m really just doing some experiments.

I have it clamped down really well all around. When the machine reaches the middle of the stock, it seems to “grab” the router and just screw into the material/waste board like a drill.

There is definitely some play in the middle of the stock (in the Z direction). Do I need to put a hole in the stock and clamp that part down? Another option would be to just cut my stock on a table saw to reduce the distance between the endmill and the clamps?

Here are my settings, (taken from the wiki)

  • 1/4 inch endmill that comes with the machine
  • 0.1mm depth per pass
  • 2.857mm stepover
  • 1524mm feed rate
  • 508mm plunge rate
  • about 15-20k RPM (guess based on 611 router setting of 4)

I was following the theory (“fast and shallow”)

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In order to cut any material, it has to be held in place and not move.

Double-sided tape, fixturing wax, some other adhesive, or a fixture w/ holes and screws would help a lot — it would be nice to have a guideline on how much of a span can be unclamped in a given material and thickness, but I haven’t seen one and always err on the side of caution.

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The “Router” is the machine. The cutting bit is called an End Mill. I have more experience cutting aluminum and steel on the S3 than anybody on this forum and the end mill is probably not a coated so it’s not best for cutting aluminum. When Aluminum gets hot it gets STICKY, and will grab onto the cutter (as you know) and stick in the flutes of the cutter too.

Two choices, go buy some cheap coated end mills from eBay and or use a lubricant (WD40) when cutting. I use both. Feel free to check my YouTube channel

PS: you also need to tighten the end mill better I think.

PS2 Tht looks like an 1/8 end mill

PS3 More clamps to hold your material too

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@irr1449

In addition to what Will and Richard have shared, I recommend the Blue Fixturing wax as a Work holding option.
You could use some of it in the center of your large part to keep it from lifting up.