4 flute carbide finishers. What do you need or want to see more of?
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  1. #1
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    Default 4 flute carbide finishers. What do you need or want to see more of?

    I've been looking at our sales based on product categories and noticed strong sales in the 4 flute carbide finisher category. So maybe this sounds wierd to ask. But what can I do to improve this category? What do you guys look for or would like to see more of when looking for carbide finishers. Here are a few things that we are looking to do.

    #1 Start stocking all popular sizes in 2 coatings. Currently all are Tialn, we will introduce ALCRN coating for customers that want better tool life than Tialn.

    #2 Continue stocking more oddball sizes, Seems like the more oddball sizes we stock bring in more sales all across the board.

    #3 Offer even more flute length choices for the common cutting diameters. This way you get the exact length of cut for your current application.

    Weldon flats? This has been racking my brain to say the least. Currently all 4 flute finishers 1/2" and up have weldon flats. I am aware that many people want weldon flats on the smaller shanks as well. So we are thinking about offering Weldon flats on all of the ALCRN coated finishers regardless of the cutting diameter. But on the flip side, some people may want to use these ALCRN finshers ( or any of our finishers) on shrink holders of milling chucks. So in that case they dont want flats on the shank.

    Another feedback I would like is product search. How do you guys like the table drop down menu on the top center of the category page? Does it present well? Easy to find what you need?

    Anyway I hope this doesn't come off as spam. Just trying to get some feedback and offer a chance for other people to read and see what is currently in demand.

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    Just wondering why the uptick in 4 flute finishers? I made the jump from 4 flute variable geometry to 5 and 6 flutes for roughing and finishing. Increased feeds, more rigid tool, and longer tool life.

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    Are your weldon flats optional? I guess I could look for myself but I'm being lazy ;

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    Frank, I like your website design a lot. McMaster is the bar imho. Grainger would define the opposite end of the spectrum. Yours is above average easily. Sometimes I need to cut some weird feature. I don't necessarily care how many flutes, I just need diameter and LOC. McMaster finds this in just a few clicks/filters quickly. Just in 4 flutes for example, it would be nice to know what LOC options are available between single and double end. Just my 2 cents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CosmosK View Post
    Frank, I like your website design a lot. McMaster is the bar imho. Grainger would define the opposite end of the spectrum. Yours is above average easily. Sometimes I need to cut some weird feature. I don't necessarily care how many flutes, I just need diameter and LOC. McMaster finds this in just a few clicks/filters quickly. Just in 4 flutes for example, it would be nice to know what LOC options are available between single and double end. Just my 2 cents.
    I don't have any insight for additions to the 4 flute line, but I have a similar feeling to Cosmo. The website overall is great, but it can get a little confusing when looking for specific tools. It seem like some of the categories overlap so you don't know which one the tool you need will be in.

    An example:

    End Mills - Finishers Square End --> 4 Flute Square End TiAlN Coated End Mills --> 5 Different options with two of them being corner radius end mills and corner chamfer end mills.

    In the perfect world, I really like the visual search engines for tools. All of the following would be small pictures like McMaster. Cutting tools, square cut end, number of flutes, diameter, coating, etc. Maybe at a certain point it kicks you to a different page with specific options like weldon flats, chip breakers, etc. I'm sure others will have input on this or similar ideas as well.

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    I would definitely like more end mill lengths, including stub length end mills, especially in the smaller diameters.

    I second some way to search for tools based off different parameters. For example, off the top of my head,I may have a part where I need to find a 1/4 or smaller end mill with at least .875 reach, sharp corner to .01 radius/chamfer, with minium stick out. I may not care how many flutes I have because most parts I make are prototypes. Something to narrow down my search based off some of those parameters would be helpful.

    Probably a personal preference but your reduced shank end mills worked better for me when they had metric shank sizes rather than 1/64 sizes since I have ready access to metric ER collets but not a 1/64 set of TG collets.

    The response time for any question I have had is fantastic so please keep that up.

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    Pie in the sky for Weldon flats: I'd make them all no flats. Then, add it as an option, AND, let the buyer specify where they want it. Default location +/- 1/8" increments or something. Heat shrink guys get a couple bucks of savings and side lock guys pay extra but get a custom location. Not sure if this would make sense for you as many of the flats would have to be done in house and to order.

    I run my roughers up to a certain amount of deflection. Extra stick out means I can't push them as much as I'd like. For example, I have a 1/2 3F rougher in a 1/2" side lock and I wish I could reduce the stick out by 1/4". I have put on a couple really ugly flats on my 3/8 roughers to fit in the sidelocks. They are ugly, but exactly where I want them.
    Last edited by CosmosK; 07-30-2019 at 04:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CosmosK View Post
    Pie in the sky for Weldon flats: I'd make them all no flats. Then, add it as an option, AND, let the buyer specify where they want it. Default location +/- 1/8" increments or something. Heat shrink guys get a couple bucks of savings and side lock guys pay extra but get a custom location. Not sure if this would make sense for you as many of the flats would have to be done in house and to order.
    I was thinking the same thing. But logistics are the killer here, and price. How much can I possibly charge to put flats on a 1/8 endmill that is only $6.00? What if some tools are ordered 30min before shipping cut off time? Delay shipping one day? Lots of things to consider. Some great feedback so far.

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    How much need is there for flats on an 1/8" tool? I put 1/8" tools in sidelocks without flats and I've never had one move.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fmari --MariTool- View Post
    I was thinking the same thing. But logistics are the killer here, and price. How much can I possibly charge to put flats on a 1/8 endmill that is only $6.00? What if some tools are ordered 30min before shipping cut off time? Delay shipping one day? Lots of things to consider. Some great feedback so far.
    I wouldn't think one day would be a dealbreaker considering it is now a "special" ...? I know we are all in a hurry these days though...

    Maybe make up a half dozen with flats so you have them ready to go. I don't know how big your operation is, if you can afford to sit on stock for weeks or months though. Or specify all tools 'plain' shank, welden flats (or custom flats to print) are made to order and will add one day lead time.

    edit: I cut all alum and brass at the new job, and our roughing is very conservative so we just grind flats on a bench grinder which is plenty good enough for us. The only reason I would want an actual welden (or at least machine ground to a certain depth/size) is to either hand off to someone less experienced and not worry about them screwing it up, or in very heavy roughing of steels or such....

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    Quote Originally Posted by fmari --MariTool- View Post
    ...
    #1 Start stocking all popular sizes in 2 coatings. Currently all are Tialn, we will introduce ALCRN coating for customers that want better tool life than Tialn.
    In general beat on use and non-optimized use, seen a longer life In ALCRN over TiAln?
    Will you price both the same?
    One could stock tools without flats and grind that into a customer ask with a day or two out which could be a niche without a huge investment.
    Bob

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    Weldon flats and whistle stops are good to reduce the chance of the cutter spinning as held.

    The end length is very important for axial surface finish as each flute make another pass or pass line and cut so the finish is feed divided by two for a two flute, and feed over 4 for a four flute. The end dish allows one side of each cut to have a straight wall and the other to be at the dish angle. As a tool dulls the finish gets better because the cutting-edge wear evens up flute length and a wear land radius is created to flatten the end dish for a small end length.

    I have sharpened higher surface finish requirement cutters with adding a small end corner flat with normal clearance at the cutting end that covers all or part of one feed rate divided by the number of flutes.

    Agree this is a chore with manual grinders but adds little or no time on a CNC grinder as the length of that feed does not change. Perhaps the end flat length might be .030".

    Another surface finish trick is to grind the heal on the first feed and the primary on the second feed.

    For manual machine sharpening an OD hook finger keeps the set position of the finger set to the very same place for each end flute sharpening, and very much more solid to wheel cutting pressure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    In general beat on use and non-optimized use, seen a longer life In ALCRN over TiAln?
    Will you price both the same?
    One could stock tools without flats and grind that into a customer ask with a day or two out which could be a niche without a huge investment.
    Bob
    ALCrn is harder... not to say that definitively affects tool life though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    In general beat on use and non-optimized use, seen a longer life In ALCRN over TiAln?
    Will you price both the same?
    Bob
    The ALCRN in many cases lasts 70% to 3x longer than the Tialn version. Just doesn't do as well in the high heat situations. But when using flood coolant, which when finishing is mostly the case, the ALCRN will be the winner every time. Price will be higher. Also thinking about making the ALCRN in a 35 deg helix, just to set it apart from the standard finishers.

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    I dig the drop downs for finding things quick.

    As stated above I've gone to 5 flute almost exclusively. Some 7 here and there. Unless its Aluminum.

    Flute length options on the popular sizes. Like 1/2" Right now I am jamming a never ending supply of parts that are 3/4" thick. A 1/2" tool with .812 LOC and .03CR would be tits.
    As for weldon flats. I can put on on in a couple minutes if I want it. I leave the old Brown and Sharp set up with a diamond wheel and a vise just for that.

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    I've thought for a while that standard Weldon flats are bigger than they need to be for carbide tools, as they were designed for carbon and HSS cutters.

    Why not offer the "custom cut" flats as true "Mari" flats - figure out new optimal flat depths that leaves a stronger shank in carbide, and for a nominal cost supply replacement set screws that work with the Mari flat.

    1) Stronger, stiffer shanks, with the option of putting two or more flats at different heights for optimal stickout. Flats can be on same face, or at 90 degrees or some other arrangement. Maybe slots can be cut in one pass using a CNC indexer to rotate and/or step along the length?

    2) Use modified dog point setscrews for clamping? Allows smaller flat. Or a slightly shorter standard screw with larger contact face (reflecting shallower slot) and chamfer. Or accept a bit of stickout of a standard screw, this lets you use normal Weldon geometry, just less depth.

    If you've got good customer buy-in, they'll find these to be more adaptable and lock in for future sales. That is, unless other vendors look to it too...

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    I think the site navigation is fine, I've never been on the site and had a problem finding what I need quickly. Quality vs pricing is very fair on any of the items I have purchased, and service is great. My emails have always been responded to in a timely manner, phone answered if I need to call, and products ship promptly.

    I like the idea of more flute length options.

    Most common cutter sizes(Which is the lions share of our solid carbide purchasing) usually come with standard flute lengths across many brands. While I don't have time to check every brand available, my local tooling rep will check for me for any brand they rep.

    That being said, on occasion I need a smaller diameter cutter, but need just a little more flute then what is standard. On the standards, the next flute length may jump way more then I would like sacrificing rigidity.

    Off the top of my head....There is at least one 4-flute endmill we buy from you that is not available through any of my regular vendors. It's available on your site, exactly what we need, a few clicks later I can move on with the days tasks and forget about it. Instead of spending time on the phone or looking through the endless stack of tooling catalogs that I should have gotten rid of last year.

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    Weldon flats on a slippery surface and a flat nose set screw can slide axially. Most carbide end mills have too good a surface finish than I like.
    whistle stops if pulled the right way can reduce any slide. Sometimes the cutter/end mill will slide by it self to the right place.

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    I think the drop-down menus are good, and the indentations of the tools under each diameter category is definitely a great visual organizer (versus just a raw list).

    A 4-flute 0.500" 2" LOC with a corner radius like 0.030" or thereabouts would be good.

    I find that I'm getting chatter with a fresh/sharp tool with a square edge - once I broke an edge, the chatter went away (someone mentioned above perhaps the reason for this). Someone suggested a corner radius tool, but finding a 0.500" 2" LOC has limited options. Lakeshore Carbide has one, but I haven't ordered one yet.

    But - I use your site a lot! Since I'm in southern WI, if I order during the day, usually I have it tomorrow, which is fantastic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Gilles View Post
    The website overall is great, but it can get a little confusing when looking for specific tools. It seem like some of the categories overlap so you don't know which one the tool you need will be in.
    I’d tend to agree with this as well. The drop down works amazing when you have one tool you need and the selection is less than say 30 tools. It’s kinda tough with reamers with a pretty long list and taps with multiple varieties/coatings of the same tool. It’d be cool if the page numbers at the bottom listed the dimension ranges. It might take a little more maintenance, but doesn’t seem like it would be very hard to code.

    I’m also a bit newer to the purchasing side of things, so take it with a grain a salt.


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