On the hunt - world's best aluminum finishing endmill
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  1. #1
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    Default On the hunt - world's best aluminum finishing endmill

    Hey,

    I feel pretty proud of the finishes I've been able to dial in over the years on aluminum. I tend to rough with Helical Solutions or an indexable solution, but one day I was randomly shopping on amazon and picked up a YG1 Alupower end mill. Well that turned into the best finishing endmill I have ever found for aluminum. The extreme polish on the flutes is killer, and it finishes killer as well.

    Well that ain't good enough for me apparently. Im looking for recommendations for the BEST aluminum finishers, bar none. Price is not a problem, I will pay for whatever as long as I can get mirrorlike or better wall finishes. I want the best!

    I was perusing YG1's website and apparently the offer the Alupower end mills with a diamond or diamond like coating. I am wondering if that would add to the beautiful finish.

    I have considered companies like Iscar or Ingersoll or Emuge but Im not super familiar with them so I would like some guidance there.

    Here's some examples of recent partsring.jpgbracket.jpg

    Edit: Im currently running 45degree helix Alupower, from my understanding a higher helix like that lead to better shear action and gives better finish...is that right?

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    Gorgeous finish!

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    whoa!!!!!!!!!
    must have a tight spindle too.

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    Practical answer: The SwiftCarb AF5 series. 5 Flutes, with a very high helix and crazy sharp edges. Center through-coolant hole for maximum elimination of chips in pockets and such. You can run them crazy fast and get good finishes, you slow them down and you can get the finishes you seem to be after. For 1/4"+ size cutters, go with these all day long.

    Harvey has smaller diameter 5 flute finishers. Look under Material Specific / Aluminum / Finishers. TiB2 is an amazing coating for production applications or long-term use, but if you want the very best finishes, always go uncoated. Just before COVID, we had a project with high profile finishes and we were testing with the Harvey 5 flutes. The initial batch off-the-shelf worked beautifully, but when we ordered for production scale, that batch had big issues. I am sure Harvey would have fixed it, but this was in March/April of last year... so it never got followed up on. Just be aware if you try them that if they run like shit, it is a problem and get Harvey to swap them out before you write them off.

    IDGAF What It Costs Answer: Helical flute PCD end mills from Chukyo in Japan. Most PCD inserts are flat profiles with a very sharp cutting edge and minimal relief, with some turning PCD inserts having chip breaking geometry cut with a laser. All of this works extremely well, but the Chukyo guys figured how a method of making straight-up helical PCD cutting faces like a normal carbide end mill.

    When you see the pricing, it will put that "I don't care what it costs" statement to the test.

    Products Eco-Helix | CHUKYO CO.,LTD

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    IDGAF What It Costs Answer: Helical flute PCD end mills from Chukyo in Japan.
    Do you think it's a safe guess that these would also excel in plastics? I'm running a bunch of ABS, Acetal and Polycarbonate, and especially the Polycarb needs excellent finishes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    IDGAF What It Costs Answer: Helical flute PCD end mills from Chukyo in Japan. Most PCD inserts are flat profiles with a very sharp cutting edge and minimal relief, with some turning PCD inserts having chip breaking geometry cut with a laser. All of this works extremely well, but the Chukyo guys figured how a method of making straight-up helical PCD cutting faces like a normal carbide end mill.

    When you see the pricing, it will put that "I don't care what it costs" statement to the test.
    You know who distributes these in the US?

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    I have been really happy lately with Fraisa's Multicut-XA. But I don't get finishes like that, I admit -- those are fantastic. No polishing or subsequent processing?

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    IME the Harvey aluminum specific 5 fluters don't really leave any better finish than 3 flute Destiny Vipers run at the same feeds and speeds, but they are way stiffer when cutting deep! I also have some YG1 Alupower mills when I just need something to remove metal but think the Vipers are better in the long run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trochoidalpath View Post
    You know who distributes these in the US?
    The contact form on the website, I don't think they have a US distributor. At least not one I could find.

    I hit that form up a while ago and got a very polite response with a Japanese price list. One assumes I could have bought directly from them? We are talking like $800 for an end mill though, so I didn't bother.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trochoidalpath View Post
    You know who distributes these in the US?
    More than one maker.
    These are known as "veined pcd end mills". Google it.
    The parts pictured....deserve
    Bob

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    Hmm,
    Let me shoot them an email.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhajicek View Post
    Do you think it's a safe guess that these would also excel in plastics? I'm running a bunch of ABS, Acetal and Polycarbonate, and especially the Polycarb needs excellent finishes.
    Yes, PCD does amazing with plastics in my experience.

    We do some work with high-carbon content polyurethane and nylon; PCD drills are the only way to do those at scale without running through tools, and while maintaining great finishes tolerances.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trochoidalpath View Post
    I have been really happy lately with Fraisa's Multicut-XA. But I don't get finishes like that, I admit -- those are fantastic. No polishing or subsequent processing?
    Nope, this is straight off our Hurco VM10Ui 5 axis...similar finishes on the 3 axis hurco as well. Its had a few light crashes but nothing to mess up the bearings. I clean parts in simple green or alcohol and airblast for when we deliver. You can certainly see vertical milling lines when you look closely but they are imperceptible unless youre looking for it.

    These have been run with a Kennametal milling chuck, so runout is very good. Im actually testing now with a shrink fit holder to see if it is better or not...idk, the damping on the milling chuck may be the secret sauce here, but also may not because these are like 0.005 finish passes which doesnt sound like it would matter on damping.

    For reference, its a 2" long 1/2" finisher running 8500rpm @ 50ipm.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalmadness View Post
    These have been run with a Kennametal milling chuck, so runout is very good. Im actually testing now with a shrink fit holder to see if it is better or not...idk, the damping on the milling chuck may be the secret sauce here, but also may not because these are like 0.005 finish passes which doesnt sound like it would matter on damping.
    You want some hydraulic action! See if the local Schunk folks will give you a test holder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    You want some hydraulic action! See if the local Schunk folks will give you a test holder.
    Not a bad call, I was pricing out some hydraulics earlier and they weren't quite as bad as I remember price wise. Why run a hydraulic over a shrink fit?

    Well if we're talking $800/end mill then yeaaaaaa that may be too much but I guess it might be worth considering. I wonder if they have long enough lengths for our needs....we do a lot of deep pocket or longer reach applications. I see the Harvey PCD ones have very short lengths of cut. Im not sure I really want to deal with distributors in Japan for a damn cutter but then again, Ive done dumber things before. I downloaded their catalogue and its all Japanese!

    Ideally we are talking something that is easily accessible for most users. I guess "price doesn't matter" is a little bit of a stretch...more like "a few hundred or so per cutter" lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalmadness View Post
    Not a bad call, I was pricing out some hydraulics earlier and they weren't quite as bad as I remember price wise. Why run a hydraulic over a shrink fit?

    Well if we're talking $800/end mill then yeaaaaaa that may be too much but I guess it might be worth considering. I wonder if they have long enough lengths for our needs....we do a lot of deep pocket or longer reach applications. I see the Harvey PCD ones have very short lengths of cut. Im not sure I really want to deal with distributors in Japan for a damn cutter but then again, Ive done dumber things before. I downloaded their catalogue and its all Japanese!

    Ideally we are talking something that is easily accessible for most users. I guess "price doesn't matter" is a little bit of a stretch...more like "a few hundred or so per cutter" lol
    The price is scary, but if you got good feed and speeds from them I bet that thing would last indefinitely in 6061.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Gilles View Post
    The price is scary, but if you got good feed and speeds from them I bet that thing would last indefinitely in 6061.
    I've seen a Sandvik 590 with PCD inserts in a face milling application that has been doing about 400 passes a day in an automated cell, for at least 18 months. Easily over 200k parts...

    It has never needed a new insert. Give it a good cleaning to get the schmutz off of it, and the insert tips look brand new.

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalmadness View Post
    Not a bad call, I was pricing out some hydraulics earlier and they weren't quite as bad as I remember price wise. Why run a hydraulic over a shrink fit?
    You kind of hit it on the head when you were talking about playing with shrink fit - damping action. At the level you want to play at, even 0.005" WOC engagements can use a little something in the power train.

    And if you talk to the crazy high-end micro machining guys on Kerns and RokuRokus and Fehlmanns; their GoTo holder for lab grade accuracy and surface finishes are hydraulics (specifically; Big Kaiser's sub-micron Ultra Precision chuck).

    Well if we're talking $800/end mill then yeaaaaaa that may be too much but I guess it might be worth considering. I wonder if they have long enough lengths for our needs....we do a lot of deep pocket or longer reach applications. I see the Harvey PCD ones have very short lengths of cut. Im not sure I really want to deal with distributors in Japan for a damn cutter but then again, Ive done dumber things before. I downloaded their catalogue and its all Japanese!

    Ideally we are talking something that is easily accessible for most users. I guess "price doesn't matter" is a little bit of a stretch...more like "a few hundred or so per cutter" lol
    The language barrier exists so you just feel even cooler when you actually get them in some weird box with Japanese all over it!

    In reality, if you're actually getting parts with the quality you pictured, everything above where you are at is on the far side of the ROI inflection. Yes, I think the SwiftCarb AF5 will push it a little (and/or speed up your finishing with 60% more flutes). Hydraulic holders might also help a bit... but it would be an interesting shoot-out with shrink fit to see if the damping action has an effect in your application. You definitely don't need helical PCD tools special ordered from Japan... I just posted them because I like exotic stuff!

    But aways remember: Exotic pieces of equipment have exotic problems.

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    I've always wanted to try Emuge's Cut and Form tool: 2507.012 | Emuge Corporation

    It's a 6 flute tool that you treat like a 3 fluter. The flutes are spaced in pairs, with the trailing flute actually burnishing the material cut by the preceding flute.

    Seems like a really neat concept. No clue whether it works! Also only 26mm flute length I believe, which is a bit of a bummer.

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    DuraMill's WhisperCut series are supposed to be really good in Aluminum also but I've never tried them.
    Sandvik acquired DuraMill last year or so. I've used some of their variable helix end mills in steel and really like em so far.


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