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Solid High feed end mills, why are they so expensive?

Mr.Chipeater

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
I've got a new job that's going to require some 3/16 dia high feed end mills. I was expecting them to be a bit more than standard end mills but $70 ea !?!?!!

Does anyone know why solid carbide HFM are so much pricier than their standard counterparts? Given that only the face of the tool needs to be ground with minimal flute gullets, I would think they'd be lot quicker and easier to grind. Is it just a volume thing?

On another note, has anyone used a combination Feed and HEM end mill? (see below). Do they perform just as well at HFM? They're half the price of a dedicated HFM so it could be a more economical way to go but having the cutting flutes I would think would decrease the rigidity of the tool.

I need to machine a pocket with 3D curved surfaces at 4xD in titanium which is why I am looking at HFM.

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The end mill you posted looks to be dual application HFM and HEM with chip breakers. If all you need is HFM, Maritool has some for reasonable prices.

I don't need a duel purpose one. Just I've never tried them so I was wondering if they still perform as well as a dedicated HFM in titanium.

I'm surprised how much cheaper Maritool's are. Does he grind his own or are they rebranded?
 
I love those helical dual purpose tools. They do NOT perform as well as a designated high feed tool IME, but I really like them for bottom up roughing with an HSM toolpath.
 
I haven't used the dual purpose, but I use Helical solid HFM's quite a bit, in 3mm to 3/8". As much as I like Maritool for most things, I found their HFM's don't last nearly as long (25%?) as the Helical in Ti6Al4V-ELI at the same cutting parameters. There's probably some black magic to the edge geometry and coatings. I got some 1mm HFM's from Fraisa for some tricky spots; I wish I could find a 1/32", .030", or 0.75mm.

I'm sure the prices are high because buyers who rely on them will pay. They make me a lot of money.
 
To be honest, $70 isn't bad. I am using SGS Ti endmills and they're over 100 each. Badass tools though.
 
Having a surface grinder and a simple(bargain ) spin index une could knock then out in a few minutes each
Tell me how you would do the two radii with this spindexer setup.
Plated form wheel will not work.
 
Pricing wise all I can figure its a volume thing. Once those grinders are set up and running, I would guess that they actually take less time to produce than a conventional endmill. Less fluting has got to take less time. Could be they are using a different, more expensive grade of carbide, but I doubt it.

I've never figured out endmill pricing. A tool with variable spacing or variable helix gets a higher price than its conventional counterpart. Run time to produce one is going to be very close or identical. The variable might have things like an edge prep that would add to the cycle a bit - but at a 50% markup?
 
QT: (Tell me how you would do the two radii with this spindexer setup.
Plated form wheel will not work.)
Mostly thinking about the notches, put a snap finger to a tooth face off the wheel head on a snap-finger , cross feed perhaps .125 and drop the wheel at each notch...we used to run flat breach teeth that way, and it was super quick.
Maritool has an all-oil-bearing grinder..state of the art
.. like I would design a grinder.
 
Maritool has an all-oil-bearing grinder..state of the art
.. like I would design a grinder.
Frank is grinding endmills in his shop? That would be strange and new news.
In past, I know who he has teamed up with and that all great in my book.
Maritool is a very good supplier in my book.
The begin days to now. WOW.

Any idiot can do the notches. Tell be about the dual radii and the how.
Yes for sure it can be done on a spin with rotary swing on a manual. Two cut setups and offsets and then the blends.

Can you do the pictured endmill on a manual grinder?
Of course it is 100% possible. How long would it take? Dual rads in different orient and 2 or 5 tenths true?
Should we ignore that the tool has a axial back cut that changes the corner rad shape.
 
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I haven't used the dual purpose, but I use Helical solid HFM's quite a bit, in 3mm to 3/8". As much as I like Maritool for most things, I found their HFM's don't last nearly as long (25%?) as the Helical in Ti6Al4V-ELI at the same cutting parameters. There's probably some black magic to the edge geometry and coatings. I got some 1mm HFM's from Fraisa for some tricky spots; I wish I could find a 1/32", .030", or 0.75mm.

I'm sure the prices are high because buyers who rely on them will pay. They make me a lot of money.
I think you hit the nail on the head. I did some calculations regarding tooling cost and run time using HFM over conventional cutters on a big die project. Everyone questions the high initial cost without looking at what it saves in time. Manufacturers of high end tooling have also spent significant amounts on R and D as evidenced by the variability in performance between some brands.
 
Frank is grinding endmills in his shop? That would be strange and new news.
In past, I know who he has teamed up with and that all great in my book.
Maritool is a very good supplier in my book.
The begin days to now. WOW.

Any idiot can do the notches. Tell be about the dual radii and the how.
Yes for sure it can be done on a spin with rotary swing on a manual. Two cut setups and offsets and then the blends.

Can you do the pictured endmill on a manual grinder?
Of course it is 100% possible. How long would it take? Dual rads in different orient and 2 or 5 tenths true?
Should we ignore that the tool has a axial back cut that changes the corner rad shape.
Ok granted no simple task i recon on a manual grinder. Interesting discussion over a beer but who cares. Seems like it ought to be cake with a cnc grinder where I suppose 99.999% of carbide endmills are made these days wouldn’t it? And if so I’m with the original poster. They seem very over priced. Special cutter? Maybe 10 years ago.
 
Very hard to beat CNC end mill making for speed, price, or quality.
But an odd or specials using a CNC-made standard and altering to your needs can often beat ordering a CNC-made special..
For certain simple sharpening, a manual grinder beats CNC sharpening. For example, a reamer can be sharpened on a Cinci TC grinder (or the like) for a small fraction of the new price.. making a reamer from scratch on a manual is a big job.
 
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Ok granted no simple task i recon on a manual grinder. Interesting discussion over a beer but who cares. Seems like it ought to be cake with a cnc grinder where I suppose 99.999% of carbide endmills are made these days wouldn’t it? And if so I’m with the original poster. They seem very over priced. Special cutter? Maybe 10 years ago.
I'm not having a go at you but have you tried running these. They need a control that can handle them but the change in metal removal rates and spindle loads are phenomenal. Wear and tear on the machine and power consumption alone are a good reason to use them. As others have pointed out they have a special geometry, this loads more of the cut upwards, obviously this is dependant on getting the correct cutter as mhajicek pointed out not all HFM's are created equal. However the $70 may be a bit light for the real high end stuff.
 
Those dual purpose tools like in the original post, sort of defeat the purpose of a "high feed" tool strategy in my opinion. A contoured shape like a mold core or cavity will never touch the side flutes. I don't understand why a high feed tool is any more difficult to grind than a regular bullnose tool, they are all done on cnc 5x grinders now anyway. Have a peek at Iscar's solid high feed tooling, they are quite reasonable and to my surprise, they run with the best of them.
 








 
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