Cutting Aluminum with Nomad without Lubricant?

So I am currently maching some aluminum that is .124 thick, cutting through it, pretty thin with a #101 endmill. AL 6061, am I okay to cut this for not without lubricant? I dont have any handy.

What brand / type lubricant is recommended?

For the official feed-speed chart:

only titanium and steel are suggested to use coolant.

Folks have used a variety of coolants — WD40 is featured on one nifty drip system (on a Shapeoko 3), Apollo grabbed some synthetic coolant used on the Haas for his titanium multi-tool cut: Nomad Made: Custom Titanium Multi Tool

Okay that makes me feel better.

Unrelated question:

I have some double sided tape underneath my aluminum, its quite sticky, do you think there is a possibility that the cutting tool could actually get stuck on that?

Would it just jam etc?

I mislike using adhesives because of that concern — however, experience shows that when you actually cut, the tape remains stuck to either the chip which is cut (if the tape is cut all the way through, esp. if using a fishtail endmill) or stays stuck to the wasteboard.

Yeah i didnt even think of that before cutting this, going to mill some clamps perhaps.

Plans for those here:

There are a few others floating around, and easy enough to work up one’s own, or to even make by hand (I went that route: Nomad 883 threaded table and clamps (scroll up to see the files if you wish to cut them on your machine)).

As the inventor of the WD40 Drip system, I also recommend that you try the new ZrN Coated end mills that I got Carbide3D to carry. You can cut without the messy lubricant (on 1/8 thk Al.)


To echo many others, I would recommend cutting without lubricant. For the Nomad/SO you’re just going to create more problems for yourself than you’re going to solve. Carbide end mills, unless you’re exposing them to a constant flow of lubricant, will tend to fracture, in industry the main reason you’re going to be using lubricant in a situation like this is to clear chips. Which can also be done with air blasts (this is what I’m using for cutting aluminum on my SO3). For Ti and Steel, you need a coolant/lubricant to prevent the material from hardening (this is a special concern with Ti). Even then, with steel cutting unless you’re able to maintain really high torque and RPM, you’re much better off with a slower HSS cutter and using a high-sulfur cutting oil. (I do all of my mill work entirely with Cobalt HSS end mills)

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