Your CNC router can cut trough acrylic and wood just fine, but what if want to try cutting aluminum?
Here are 10 tips to make sure you do it right:
Using a CNC Router to cut aluminum is not a cakewalk. All CNC’ers can make their life easy from a Feeds and Speeds Calculator. Be careful, when you’re near the performance envelope’s edge. When selecting your Feeds and Speeds Calculator, make sure to you get the one that has the optimum features.
Boosting your rpm can be achieved by using the right cutters. Enhance your cutter’s surface speed by selecting the carbide cutters; carbide cutters operate faster than the standard HSS cutters. Coating like TiAIN boosts your cutters speed.
Using smaller diameters cutters will bump up the rpm.
Lower it to 1/4″
Use rigid cutters in case deflection turns out to be a hindrance. Remember, carbide cutters are much more rigid than HSS.
Recutting chips are bound to damage cutters than anything else.
Don’t expect your vacuum dust collection system to do the job, unless you are sure it can suck the chips out of the deepest cuts. An air blast entwined to the spindle is more appropriate provided it points exactly where the cutter is meeting the aluminum.
These make it harder to clear chips. If you want to cut deeper and closer to slot, it can get hard to clear the chips out of hole. Increase the number of passes to be able to cut to a deeper level for better access.
To cut down the sticking of chips to cutting edge, you must apply a suitable lubricant. Assuming that you’re so far rigged up to a compressed air blast, it is not a bad idea to run coolant mist within the same mechanism. A useful and cheaper option could be a mister which can be used to provide air blast while also serving as a coolant. In cases where you’re taking shallow passes or cutting very thin aluminum, you can get away with applying a lubricant.
This could make your tool rub rather than cut. To maintain the recommended chipload, ensure that you keep the cutting smooth.
Using a feeds and speeds calculator helps in solving this issue as it signals you when rubbing occurs.
Fewer flutes maintain good spacing between cutting edges and enough room for big chips to escape.
Plowing with full power can destroy your cutter.
Do not run derated at all time. Keep two profiles, with one derated for finer surface finish or to prevent cutter breaking.
CNC Router might be slow, but still can be employed for more materials than most CNC mill. Relax, and let the machine do its job.