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Aluminum Tooling


Oct 29, 2021
So, I know it doesn't take much to cut aluminum but I'm looking or the best bang or the buck. We have a 12000 RPM Spindle and they don't like to run it wide open. Mainly 6061 Aluminum Plate. A lot of slotting and then finishing with same tool. Don't need anything real aggressive but long lasting and cost effective are key.


Jun 7, 2012
Garr Alumastar or YG-1. Some like Accupro.
This has been discussed in a recent thread if you do a quick search.

Orange Vise

Feb 10, 2012
We go through over a dozen AlTiN coated endmills cutting steel in the same amount of time it takes to go through one ZrN coated endmill for aluminum (based on our tool timers that track time in cut). That's a conservative estimate. In some cases it's more like 20-30, depending on the application. Cost of the tool is inconsequential when it comes to aluminum. We use Maritool's 45 degree helix variable 3-flute with a rainbow ZrN coating.

If you want your process to be dead reliable, start out with a good tool, and then put it in a good holder and pay attention to coolant flow and good toolpaths. In almost every case IME, tool breakage is caused by chip welding due to bad coolant flow or tool burial. A toolholder with TSC coolant jets in the nose helps a lot, but there is, of course, cost associated with using TSC all the time. We only use it when pocketing. Running the coolant slightly rich, e.g. 10% instead of 7%, helps too, but there's cost associated with that as well.


May 11, 2017
Minneapolis, MN, USA
Ask machine rep for a duty load chart for the spindle. Might get a ton more life at 11,500 rpm.

I did precisely that when I got a 15K RPM Haas in 2015. They said no duty cycle, run it balls out. So that's what I did, averaging several hours a day at top speed, never a problem.

Not I've got a 50K RPM Haas, and I run it balls out too. Really cuts down on cycle times with small tools.