Nomad 3 and 3-flutes for Aluminum/Brass?

Currently, I’ve been using a 1/32" 2-flute square endmill to do some detail work in aluminum and brass on my Nomad 3. I’ve seen some older posts saying that the Nomad’s torque isn’t enough to make 3-flute endmills very effective replacements for 2-flute endmills. However, these posts are before Nomad 3. What are the thoughts today on Nomad 3’s torque? Is it worth it to try milling metal with 3-flute endmills? What is the advantage?

I’m still figuring all this out, but what comes to my mind first is: 3-flute endmills might be able to cut faster, however, chip evacuation could be a problem. I have a dust boot and vacuum setup to help with evacuation.

Because you have so much more RPM available on the Nomad 3, I actually would go the opposite way and look at single flutes so I could run at the max RPM. I don’t know if they exist at that small of a size though. I definitely would not do 3 flutes in aluminum on either the nomad or shapeoko. You can run them but the room for error is very small. Chip clearing could be a pretty big issue even with dust collection.


As @nwallace mentions, single flute is a much better solution for aluminum and brass - the single flute means easy chip clearing, and less opportunity for chip welding etc. These are all critical to getting decent finish quality on those metals. The addition power gives you more DOC.


Worth mentioning here I have run 1/8” 3 flute TiCN and ZrN in 6061 aluminum on the 883 Pro with airblast and have had no significant problems. I was chasing finish quality as opposed to material removal rate and the additional stiffness of the 3F appealed.

The Nomad series can handle many-flute endmills just fine. I ran them on my 883 Pro before upgrading to a more powerful spindle.

However I’d only go as high as two flutes with <6mm tooling. More flutes with tools that small is an absolute pain in the ass in terms of chip clearing but the bigger tools have larger flutes so handle it better, so long as you’re still not taking crazy cuts.

If you’re going for >2 flute endmills, I’d definitely look at improving your chip clearing though. I’ve clogged 6mm endmills due to forgetting to turn my compressor on. If you’re doing open cuts it might be fine to do without but if you’re slotting, no way.

You’re the second person to bring this up and I don’t know where the idea comes from; it’s definitely not true on the 883 Pro. On the 883 Pro, you usually reach the limits of machine rigidity long before you reach the spindle torque/power limits and increasing flute count allows you to increase utilised spindle power/torque/MRR without increasing the cutting forces, so it’s a great way to get better MRR.

My guess is that this idea comes from people who don’t actually own Nomads or haven’t tried to push them to their limits.

A dust boot and vacuum is good at cleaning up mess and avoiding chip recutting as chips pile up but I wouldn’t expect it to do a whole lot in terms of chip evacuation. For that I’d add a compressed air nozzle.

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