Hello fellow Nomad-onauts and Shapeoko-ists,
I’ve been trying to figure out how to improve the life of my tooling, specifically the 1/16" carbide flat end-mills, when doing extensive work in 6061 aluminum.
The repeated case of failure I’m experiencing is aluminum welding on to the tool, leading to it eventually snapping due to rubbing instead of cutting, but when I try to take more aggressive cuts that are still within the rated 0.07HP/50W we have with the stock Nomad883 spindle, the axis motors & belt-drives aren’t rigid enough to handle it and it misses steps/jutters and breaks the tool that way instead.
I’ve tried using a few coolants, settling on soy cutting oil as the best option to date. I’ve also tried just dry-cutting with my down-draft prop-nut to blow the chips out, which works a whole lot better without a coolant since it generally blows the coolant around making a mess if I try to do both at the same time—unless I’m slot cutting and putting the coolant directly in the slots.
I’ve adapted from conventional tooling strategies to adaptive clearing strategies which definitely helps clear the chips and reduces re-cutting and general “chip-stirring” done by the tool, while also reducing the time needed for the same kind of operation in my test case by roughly 40%, but I’m still seeing build-up on the tool that’s going to kill it within a complete runs of this part.
a) So with all that said, does anyone have any tips & tricks for what’s preserving the life of their cutters and not rubbing/welding aluminum, in light of the torque & rigidity limits on the Nomad?
b) Can anyone comment on whether 6013 cuts sufficiently better than 6061, or if there are any other alloys that do cut better with less gumming-up? The application needs moderate strength, otherwise I’d just say to hell with it and switch to plastics.
I have an SO3 and I’m considering running the parts on that instead since I know it’s got the torque to run closer to the calculated ideal feeds/speeds on the tooling, but I wanted to check around before I get started on that option, because I know I’ll want to do a belt-upgrade before I get into it.