Recommended speeds and feeds for Aluminum

I took a crack at milling some .125"x2"x8" aluminum flat bar stock from home depot last night, and ran into a couple of challenges.

First, I tried running the Carbide3d provided which is set up for Aluminum Composite Panel. The depth of the plunge and the feedrate was way too fast for solid aluminum and the motors couldn’t hack it in X & Y.

I recreated the wrench model in SketchUp (could you guys put the meshcam file on the tutorials site so we can generate the toolpaths ourselves?) and generated toolpaths in meshcam with much lower depth per cut(~0.01"), feedrate(5in/min), and plunge values(1in/min). This was no problem for the Nomad, but it resulted in a nearly 3 hour job. The chips were fine dust.

So, I figure there is some happy middle ground which understands the limits of the material and the machine. Any suggestions?

I really like the cheater Carbide Tool Path wizard in MeshCam. I didn’t see any material options in there for Aluminum or Brass. It would be nice to have these added.


Hi James-

We’re tried lots of way to cut aluminum and I think we’ve settled on something in the .01" depth of cut (good intuition on your part) and a feedrate of 10-12 in/min. You can tweak from there to go a little deeper and slower if you’d like.

Also, I guess you figured out the toolpath part for 2D but if there’s any questions, check out

I’ll be adding aluminum and brass to the Carbide plugin for MeshCAM but I’m still working on how I’d like to handle some of the internal calculations regarding those two. I’ll try to dig up my source wrench file and upload that too.

Any photo you can post of the wrench you made?


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Yep, I have photos, but I’m getting an error message that says I’m not allowed to post images.

Let me know if it works now.

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Rob, what are your thoughts on coolant for aluminum? what was being used in the video?

What about a recommended RPM?

i 2nd this question. I bought this sucker to cut aluminum. Shocked by the lack of aluminum in the materials menu in the software and having trouble getting it to work. (it keeps stalling). So while the updated sw may fix this, in th emean time I am stuck. if someone with a clue could post complete settings on how to cut 6061, that would be sweet

I’m also a bit frustrated with the machine’s ability to cut aluminum. .1 mm (.004") seems to be the max depth of cut with a 1/4" end mill, and even then it stalls occasionally.

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are you using spray coolanf?

No - I was put off by the health warnings. I keep this thing in my room. Is there anything non toxic?

that probably explains why machinists are so hard case. Coolant vapour must be pickeling them:)
Its always better with lube man

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We have some feed-speed info on aluminum here: