How to Use a CNC Router for Cutting Aluminum

If you have a CNC router, you can easily use it for cutting aluminum. However, to achieve optimal results, you must match the cutting parameters and capabilities of the machine to the material’s characteristics. To find the best fit, use a feed and speed calculator. Also, don’t forget to lubricate the cutting tool, as aluminum is prone to chipping.

Choosing an end mill

When deciding which end mills to buy for your CNC router for aluminum, there are a few factors to consider. One of the most important considerations is the type of material you’ll be cutting. For example, if you’re cutting aluminum, you should use a high-speed steel endmill. Although these cutters tend to last longer, they also cost more. If you’re a beginner, it may be a good idea to start with HSS endmills and upgrade to carbide when you’re more comfortable with the process.

Another factor to consider is the rigidity you’ll need in your machine. Aluminum is less forgiving than wood and plastic and requires more rigidity. If you push too hard, your device may begin to bend. This can cause the cutter to break or become dull. On the other hand, you can use a stubby end mill if your CNC router is rigid enough.

Feed rate

There are several challenges when using a CNC router for aluminum. First of all, it’s essential to understand the properties of this metal, which is softer than wood and plastic. Unlike wood, aluminum has a relatively low melting point. To produce a smooth, sharp surface, you must use a high-quality carbide endmill. Also, remember that aluminum has a much smaller sweet spot than wood or plastics, so machining it at a low feed rate can cause the material to melt or damage the tool.

Lubrication is also crucial when using a CNC router to cut aluminum. While it can be done without lubrication for short periods, the longer you leave the process unattended, the more dangerous it can be. Without proper lubrication, aluminum can be tough to cut, and the process can become ruined if you leave the piece unattended for an extended period.

Using a coolant mist

Many CNC Router users are wary of using coolant, but it is necessary for cutting thin aluminum. Using a coolant mist can help keep the tool lubricated and prevent the device from rubbing and chipping during the cutting process. Misters are cheap, easy to install, and can be controlled to deposit a small amount of fluid on the aluminum while spraying the cutter.

Proper lubrication is essential when cutting aluminum, as it can cause chips to stick to the cutting edges, reducing the tool’s life. CNC Routers with ZRN coating or two or 3-fluted endmills are more effective for cutting aluminum than their non-coated counterparts. Cutting aluminum is a unique process that requires specialized cutters. Using cutters made of aluminum will help minimize the chances of damage and increase the RPM.

Using a four-flute cutter

It would help to consider several things when using a CNC router for aluminum. First, you need to determine the exact cutting parameters for aluminum. Aluminum is a soft and gummy material, so it tends to get stuck in the flutes of a CNC mill. One way to solve this problem is to use a coating on the cutter. This will reduce the chances of aluminum chipping, but it may not be necessary. Secondly, you will want to consider how much leverage you need for cutting aluminum.

Another factor to consider is material density. While wood is 50 pounds per cubic foot, aluminum is 170 pounds. Therefore, the cutting load on an aluminum cutter will be much higher. Consequently, you should consider the type of engagement the cutter uses to make the process as easy as possible.

Using a carbide tool

Using a carbide tool when using your CNC router for aluminum is a great way to cut this material accurately and efficiently. Using a carbide tool will give you the sharpest cut possible, and it will also last longer. The downside is the price, which is more expensive than a high-speed steel cutter. However, if you are a beginner and are on a budget, you can start with a carbide tool and upgrade later.

While cutting aluminum, you should consider the rigidity of the metal. Unlike wood or plastic, aluminum requires more rigidity than these materials, so it’s essential to keep this in mind. If you push the metal too hard, you may cause the machine to bend, resulting in a worse cut. A carbide tool is best suited for cutting aluminum because it provides more leverage.