What's new
What's new

HSCO vs Carbide End Mills for General Shop Use

NLan07

Plastic
Joined
Dec 27, 2021
Hey everyone!

New member here, and this is my first post on this forum.

Quick background: I'm a mechanical engineer, EIT to be specific, who also has a passion for CNC machining. I have a couple of years of experience designing, programming, and setting up parts for CNC machining and helped convince my partner at work to jump into the CNC realm with me. We purchased a Haas VF-2SS with all the bells and whistles which we'll be using for general job shop type work to compliment the other manufacturing work our business does (waterjet, press brake, general fabrication, etc.) We'll primarily be machining aluminum, plastics, steel, stainless steel, and maybe the occasional super alloy like titanium, but we'll mostly be working on steels and aluminum.

In our search for good, general shop use tooling we found a vendor local to us who sells Niagara Cutter tooling. Since I'm not super familiar with that brand I figured I'd ask you guys here with more experience a couple of questions.

1. Is Niagara Cutter a good tooling brand?
2. What is the difference between HSS and HSCO (8-8.5% Cobalt content) tooling? I've used carbide tooling almost exclusively and I'm not super familiar with different types of HSS tools. We're only interested in their end mills.
3. Does HSCO tooling have an advantage over HSS tooling, and if so, would it be worth it to purchase the HSCO end mills available locally vs. carbide end mills?

I imagine carbide tooling would be better generally in our machine, but these tools are at a really great discount. I'm trying to find out if they'd be worth it to get or if we should just spend the money on different tooling. Again, this is for general job shop type use.

Thanks so much everyone! I'm looking forward to being a member of this forum!
 

plastikdreams

Diamond
Joined
May 31, 2011
Location
upstate nj
I use carbide for everything, lasts longer and cuts more stuff...you can also cut faster and harder with carbide.

If you have the experience you have put forth you should know this.
 

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
Cobalt (HSCO) are better than plain HSS, and will last longer. There are very few applications where it's better than carbide; sometimes plastic will cut better with HSS or Cobalt than with carbide, and sometimes a cobalt drill will perform better than carbide in some stainless steels, unless you get just the right carbide drill for the job. All other cases that I know of, you're better off with carbide. The cost is pretty comparable these days in small to medium sizes, unless you go with a fancy brand like Niagara. Don't get me wrong, they make a great product, but they have a lot of decent competition. Check out Redline for budget friendly carbide that performs well. Avoid "general purpose" cutters, and get material specific ones, it makes a big difference.
 

DMF_TomB

Diamond
Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Location
Rochester, NY, USA
HSS and cobalt

Hey everyone!

New member here, and this is my first post on this forum.

Quick background: I'm a mechanical engineer, EIT to be specific, who also has a passion for CNC machining. I have a couple of years of experience designing, programming, and setting up parts for CNC machining and helped convince my partner at work to jump into the CNC realm with me. We purchased a Haas VF-2SS with all the bells and whistles which we'll be using for general job shop type work to compliment the other manufacturing work our business does (waterjet, press brake, general fabrication, etc.) We'll primarily be machining aluminum, plastics, steel, stainless steel, and maybe the occasional super alloy like titanium, but we'll mostly be working on steels and aluminum.

In our search for good, general shop use tooling we found a vendor local to us who sells Niagara Cutter tooling. Since I'm not super familiar with that brand I figured I'd ask you guys here with more experience a couple of questions.

1. Is Niagara Cutter a good tooling brand?
2. What is the difference between HSS and HSCO (8-8.5% Cobalt content) tooling? I've used carbide tooling almost exclusively and I'm not super familiar with different types of HSS tools. We're only interested in their end mills.
3. Does HSCO tooling have an advantage over HSS tooling, and if so, would it be worth it to purchase the HSCO end mills available locally vs. carbide end mills?

I imagine carbide tooling would be better generally in our machine, but these tools are at a really great discount. I'm trying to find out if they'd be worth it to get or if we should just spend the money on different tooling. Again, this is for general job shop type use.

Thanks so much everyone! I'm looking forward to being a member of this forum!

.
1) HSS and Cobalt HSS is cheaper than carbide. also solid carbide end mills
are rarely over 1" diameter. I use a lot of 1" to 2" dia end mills with
flutes 6" to 12" long
.
2)Cobalt HSS is better with harder alloys (SS) that will dull plain M2 HSS
fast, in general Cobalt HSS is tougher and can handle vibration better
than carbide
... got to watch carbide grades, if made for abrasive but soft plastics and
soft composites same carbide used on cast iron I have seen edge chip in
less than a minute where Cobalt or even M2 HSS has no problems
.
there are tougher carbide grades not as hard, but not as brittle as glass.
mill edge rake and clearance angles, mill helix angles and coatings,
coatings and chip breakers on carbide inserts and inserts with wipers
or special insert shapes for roughing or finishing can make big differences
.
both end mills and carbide inserts its best to get ones special for aluminum
or special for harder metals like stainless. general purpose mills are
rarely very good for aluminum and stainless. general purpose ok for
occasional use but optimized cutters made for specific metals usually work
much better often 2x or more better
 

DMF_TomB

Diamond
Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Location
Rochester, NY, USA
another thing big carbide tools require big horsepower
.
that is for 1018 steel if it takes 1hp to remove 1 cubic inch per minute obviously
if big tool can remove 30 cubic inches per minute it will need a 30hp at spindle machine
..... machine can have a 20hp motor but at certain rpm you might have less than 4hp at
the spindle.
.
just saying if you want to use a big carbide insert drill than needs 50hp and you
got a 2hp machine its not going to work to the tools max rate
 

D Nelson

Stainless
Joined
Jan 7, 2015
Location
Missouri Ida
Considering it's a Haas and they are newbies and Niagara is a good solid brand, I'd be tempted to go with it over carbide. High-speed is more forgiving, and they probably shouldn't be trying to run things at the max in the beginning anyhow.

His story sounded a lot like me about 1996. I had no idea just how deep the machining rabbit hole really was. I just new it was like a Indian rain dance. It will work everytime if you never stop dancing. But my god that can be a hard battle to win. This is a fairly complicated industry!
Don


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

Big B

Diamond
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Location
Michigan, USA
I can't give you any specific information about HSCO Vs HSS but I can tell you that for job shop type work you are splitting hairs trying to figure it out. As a total expense of running a job shop type shop the cost of end mills is so minor that it isn't even on the radar. Dialing in feeds and speeds will probably save you more money than switching to HSCO.

If you are doing production work it may make sense but not for one off job shop work.
 

plastikdreams

Diamond
Joined
May 31, 2011
Location
upstate nj
I can't give you any specific information about HSCO Vs HSS but I can tell you that for job shop type work you are splitting hairs trying to figure it out. As a total expense of running a job shop type shop the cost of end mills is so minor that it isn't even on the radar. Dialing in feeds and speeds will probably save you more money than switching to HSCO.

If you are doing production work it may make sense but not for one off job shop work.

Cause you've never run a machine, programmed a machine, owned a shop, and probably never seen a cnc...go back to your trump bashing thread, you're out of your league here.
 

Big B

Diamond
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Location
Michigan, USA
Cause you've never run a machine, programmed a machine, owned a shop, and probably never seen a cnc...go back to your trump bashing thread, you're out of your league here.

Is there something in that post of mine that you disagree with or are you just trolling me like a good TRUMP CULT MEMBER?

If end mills are a large part of the cost of running a job shop you need either learn how to run a milling machine or find another business. Most likely working as a cashier at a convenience store or gas station would be a good fit.
 

T-Man 1066

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Location
N. Illinois
Is there something in that post of mine that you disagree with or are you just trolling me like a good TRUMP CULT MEMBER?

If end mills are a large part of the cost of running a job shop you need either learn how to run a milling machine or find another business. Most likely working as a cashier at a convenience store or gas station would be a good fit.

It was said earlier, Carbide endmills will win most every time. I use mostly anything TiALn coated for steels and SS, especially dry, as the coating works better when hot. Aluminum specific polished, uncoated for AL or plastic.

Drills, cobalt are fine for manual, or older machines, or onesie twosie work. Production machining,in a CNC with CTS, carbide. Once again, material specific grades.

Endmills can be a large cost of running a job shop, not because of the cost of the tool, but the time spent making the cut. You can make a crappy HSS EM last 20 years as long as you only run it at 35 SFM, light cuts, no rubbing, and lots of oil. Cheap tool will cost you alot in lost profit and time.

Smaller sizes, I can mill 1144 stress proof, 2800 (max) rpm's, light radial depth, lets say 1/2" endmill, 1/16" stepover, 5/8" DOC, I can crank the power feed as fast as it will go, lasts all day long, and gets the chips on the floor.
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
The only knock on carbide is it won't take the shock that HSS or HSCO will and in larger sizes it will get pricey. I think a lot would depend on the job at hand. A lot of operations on aluminum, especially a good quality 6061, HSS can last a long time. Not endmills, but I have plenty of sizes of HSS drills that have made 1,000's of aluminum parts and they were originally bought 30 years ago.
 

plastikdreams

Diamond
Joined
May 31, 2011
Location
upstate nj
Is there something in that post of mine that you disagree with or are you just trolling me like a good TRUMP CULT MEMBER?

If end mills are a large part of the cost of running a job shop you need either learn how to run a milling machine or find another business. Most likely working as a cashier at a convenience store or gas station would be a good fit.

Let's get something clear, I'm not and never have been a member of the trump cult.

You just say such asinine things it's just too easy to call out.

And yes, tooling can be a big part of a shops cost, especially if there's a jack ass selecting hss tooling when carbide would be much better.

I use the same carbide endmill in materials from delrin up to Rene based alloys...can you do that with hss or hsco?
 

dian

Titanium
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Location
ch
i wouldnt be surprized if there were more than 100 different hss alloys on the market today. as far as i can see they are proprietary and a tool manufacturer will not tell you what hes using. even in the general aisi/din/en classifications you find more then a dozen cobalt alloys. then there are powder alloys and a plethora of proprietary coatings on top of that.

i will venture the following rule: cobalt hss is 30% faster and costs twice as much. its appropiate for stainless and titanium.

there are coated hss endmills that can be run at carbide speed. an interessting alloy to investigate is m2-al (hss-al, w6mo5cr4v2al, hs 4-4-2+al, 501). its cheap and a m-35 replacement.
 

barbter

Diamond
Joined
Oct 27, 2007
Location
On Tour...
Is there something in that post of mine that you disagree with or are you just trolling me like a good TRUMP CULT MEMBER?

If end mills are a large part of the cost of running a job shop you need either learn how to run a milling machine or find another business. Most likely working as a cashier at a convenience store or gas station would be a good fit.

B,
You're bringing this side of the forum into disrepute now. How about keeping your unprofessional made up name calling to your own little thread will you?

Regarding endmills being a large cost of running a job shop - yes they very much can be if you're cutting exotics.
And BTW - lathes with milling capability (and even mills with turning capability) have been around for a lot of years now. So endmills aren't just used in milling machines anymore....

And what's your shade for working in a convenience store or gas station? Everyone has to do what they have to do to earn a living.
 

Overland

Cast Iron
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Location
Greenville, SC
What a wonderful welcome for our new member here.

Come on guys, do we really have to get so ugly ?

Respect, and reasonable argument , please, when responding a post you don't agree with.
Our new member is trying to learn here, and seek different opinions to help him on "his journey".

Bob
 

NLan07

Plastic
Joined
Dec 27, 2021
Thanks for all of the replies everyone! (Thread derailing aside :D)

I really appreciate the detailed help! I'm familiar with the general performance differences between HSS and Carbide, which is exactly why I have only ever gone with carbide end mills, but I had never heard specifically of Cobalt HSS and didn't know if it was even worth looking at, so I appreciate the help in understanding the differences.

To add some clarity, we actually are interested in picking up some larger diameter tools, and running everything as fast as reliably possible, which is why these HSCO endmills caught our eye. To get us started we purchased carbide end mills in 1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", and 3/4" sizes specific for both steels (5 flute, AlTiN coated) and aluminum/non-ferrous alloys (3 flute, ZrN coated), but currently that's as big we have.

In contrast, and as a specific example, our local vendor is selling these 1" dia, 3" LOC, 5 flute TiAlN coated roughers https://www.niagaracutter.com/search?expand=N53924for $165 EA which is roughly 50% off what I've been able to find it for online. Considering how much cheaper that is than a carbide end mill of similar size (carbide gets expensive faaaast when it gets bigger) they piqued our interest, but if you give me a screaming good deal on a piece of crap..... then I still bought a piece of crap, which is why I wanted to know whether they were worth even dealing with or if we should just save the money for carbide tools. We have no problem spending more money on tooling that will run faster and last longer which more than makes up for it's initial cost, but at some point the cost vs performance reaches a balance and I was wondering how close the the HSCO tooling might be to that balance point.

Being able to run the HSCO faster than 'standard' HSS interests me because we want to maximize MRR as much as reliably possible (we went with the faster speeds and spindle of the VF-2SS vs standard VF-2 for a reason), so all things considered it looks like these tools might be worth looking at for the right application.
 

NLan07

Plastic
Joined
Dec 27, 2021
Endmills can be a large cost of running a job shop, not because of the cost of the tool, but the time spent making the cut. You can make a crappy HSS EM last 20 years as long as you only run it at 35 SFM, light cuts, no rubbing, and lots of oil. Cheap tool will cost you alot in lost profit and time.

Exactly! I'd rather invest more money in a tool that's going to help make us money than pinch pennies to buy the cheapest tool I can that's going to cost me waaay more than the expensive tool would because of the performance/shop time increase. That being said, everyone loves a good deal when they can find one!
 








 
Top