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    Default Most effective endmill for steels

    I've been using 1/2" Helical and Fullerton for my roughing in A-36. 650 SFM .004 IPT 75% stepover .75" ap running dry with tool life of 25-30 min. Is this reasonable or should I be getting more life? Also should I try running wet? Please advise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSplitter View Post
    I've been using 1/2" Helical and Fullerton for my roughing in A-36. 650 SFM .004 IPT 75% stepover .75" ap running dry with tool life of 25-30 min. Is this reasonable or should I be getting more life? Also should I try running wet? Please advise.
    .
    tool length and tool holder length influence vibration which can easily damage a end mill in minutes. sudden tool failure and how much time and money it takes to recover, say damaged part, damaged tool holder, damaged machine can be 100x more important than breaking speed records. as the end mill stick out increases normally sfpm is reduced or the end mill will vibrate til to the point the corners break off before a reasonable tool life has happened.
    .
    for example trying to save 10 minutes but spending 20 minutes and costs dealing with tooling issues and damaged part issues.
    .
    since .75 depth of cut is in the small parts range that can influence whether you stay with small end mills or not. obviously if you use a 4" facemill and you make 1000 to 2000lbs of chips per hour its faster than a 1/2" end mill that would break trying to do the same. plus 4" facemill might have 100 to 200 minute tool life. many jobs a tool needs to run for many hours and not wear out before job is finished
    .
    typically end mills and carbide insert mills most adjust width and depth of cut and feeds and speeds til tool life is in the 60 to 300 minute range for steel. i have often seen going 1/2 the metal removal rate and tool life goes from 30 to easily over 100 minutes. many times tool reliability increases and even a 2% sudden tool failure rate can be extremely expensive figuring in total costs at the end of the year. for example carbide drill costing $300. and breaking 10 each per year trying to save 10 seconds a hole that by year end might be trying to save 4 hours of time but costing 20 hours of rework AND $3000. in cost of replacement carbide drills. drill life might be 30-45 minutes. go 1/2 speed and sudden tool failure becomes unheard of and by end of year saved 16 hours (less rework)and $3000. (tooling costs)going slower with tool life now in the 100 - 200 minute range
    .
    coolant is just that coolant. it prevents heat buildup which expands part and distorts final dimensions when part cools to room temperature. many use a blast of coolant like a fire hose to blast the chips off the part and fixture so the 1000lbs of pounds of chips go to chip screw conveyor by themselves. hand shoveling a ton of chips per day gets kind of old. by the way heat is related to hp being consumed 1hp about 746 watts. use 10hp thats 7460 watts and like a electric heater of that wattage thats a lot of heat. many a job the cloud of steam of coolant machining you cannot see the part. obviously thats a lot of heat effecting part dimensions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSplitter View Post
    I've been using 1/2" Helical and Fullerton for my roughing in A-36. 650 SFM .004 IPT 75% stepover .75" ap running dry with tool life of 25-30 min. Is this reasonable or should I be getting more life? Also should I try running wet? Please advise.
    I would run dry (air blast), but get a coating for it. You don;t mention if the tools are coated, or what coating? Here is a quick little guide about titanium based coatings.

    Titanium coatings TiN, TiCN, TiAlN, AlTiN - HANNIBAL CARBIDE TOOL, INC.

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    if your trying to maintain a .0001" to .0005" tolerance you better be able to control temperature. many use a coolant temperature control system where coolant temp is within +/-1F
    .
    even with that i have seen coolant effect part .0003" per 40", coolant evaporation has a chilling effect.
    .
    and if you dont need a coolant blast to flush a ton of chips a day down to chip conveyor than you maybe not doing all that much. literally many use hundreds of gallons per hour of flow to move the chips out of the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF_TomB View Post
    if your trying to maintain a .0001" to .0005" tolerance you better be able to control temperature. many use a coolant temperature control system where coolant temp is within +/-1F
    .
    even with that i have seen coolant effect part .0003" per 40", coolant evaporation has a chilling effect.
    .
    and if you dont need a coolant blast to flush a ton of chips a day down to chip conveyor than you maybe not doing all that much. literally many use hundreds of gallons per hour of flow to move the chips out of the way.
    You realize there are coatings (probably alot these days) that are MEANT to cut dry? Using coolant defeats the purpose of them. Besides that, the majority of the heat should be going into the chip. And again, not everyone is running a giant gantry mill with 2" dia by 10" long endmills. He is using a 1/2" endmill.

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    XXXX First off let me give a warning, I am a little biased. I sell these tools. XXXX

    Anyway we developed a new line of variable flute endmills with chipbreakers Most are 5 flute. Nothing "new", just new to us. We decided to go with the AlCrn coating from a certain vendor. Wow what amazing results. I tried on on our multitasking machine for milling the drive slots on CAT40 or BT40 holders. After a full week of production I could literally put the tool back in the package and resell it. Unreal. Worked out so well I am switching all of our machines to this tool but with even shorter flute length and a shorter blank length just to save a few extra bucks, and 4 flute instead of 5 since we are running this on live tooling so it isn't very rigid. 1/2 X 2-1/2 long instead of 3". Now it has been 4 weeks and still going strong. Just a little discoloration and corners have a little wear. 1/2 Variable 5 Flute End Mill with Chip Breaker .625 LOC .008 Radius MariTool

    https://www.maritool.com/Cutting-Too...516/index.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    You realize there are coatings (probably alot these days) that are MEANT to cut dry? Using coolant defeats the purpose of them. Besides that, the majority of the heat should be going into the chip. And again, not everyone is running a giant gantry mill with 2" dia by 10" long endmills. He is using a 1/2" endmill.
    Yep...hot hardness and all that good stuff.

    We run Helical for anything HSM related and love them, but for heavier cuts (especially full slotting) the Stabilizer 2.0s from Niagara are top notch in my opinion. Haven't run them in anything super tough, but mild steel? They seem to love being buried, super quiet with great chip evacuation.

    Don't mean for that to sound like any sort of indictment on the Stabilizers HSM capabilities either. I can't say one way or another how they would go up against Helical because I simply haven't used them in that application very much.

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    I typed the following comment, but the site had an error, so pasting it here about 30 minutes too late:


    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    You realize there are coatings (probably alot these days) that are MEANT to cut dry? Using coolant defeats the purpose of them. Besides that, the majority of the heat should be going into the chip. And again, not everyone is running a giant gantry mill with 2" dia by 10" long endmills. He is using a 1/2" endmill.
    And to add onto that:

    Those coatings (AlTiN, TiAlN, etc) require heat to work better. The coefficient of friction is actually lower when they are a couple hundred degrees C, Which is pretty easy to do.

    If the endmill isn't glowing or throwing a lot of sparks, it is fine.

    And using coolant with a tool that is getting that hot is a recipe for premature wear, as it will thermally shock the tool as it gets hot and cold.


    Tom often doesn't really read into the point of most questions. He has some valid info sometimes, but 95% of what he copied and pasted from his notes don't apply here.


    To the OP: it seems you are just using conventional toolpaths? Just hogging along? That tool life seems okay. I will say that if you were using CAM using some adaptive/high speed milling toolpaths, you might get better life going much faster with smaller stepover. There is a bit of a learning curve in doing it but a lot of us use them almost exclusively to rough nowadays.

    And just to add another question: are the tools you mention coated or uncoated? And are they variable flute/helix endmills? Both of these can improve your cutting situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fmari --MariTool- View Post
    XXXX First off let me give a warning, I am a little biased. I sell these tools. XXXX

    Anyway we developed a new line of variable flute endmills with chipbreakers Most are 5 flute. Nothing "new", just new to us. We decided to go with the AlCrn coating from a certain vendor. Wow what amazing results. I tried on on our multitasking machine for milling the drive slots on CAT40 or BT40 holders. After a full week of production I could literally put the tool back in the package and resell it. Unreal. Worked out so well I am switching all of our machines to this tool but with even shorter flute length and a shorter blank length just to save a few extra bucks, and 4 flute instead of 5 since we are running this on live tooling so it isn't very rigid. 1/2 X 2-1/2 long instead of 3". Now it has been 4 weeks and still going strong. Just a little discoloration and corners have a little wear. 1/2 Variable 5 Flute End Mill with Chip Breaker .625 LOC .008 Radius MariTool

    Variable Flute End Mills With Chip Breaker - Made in USA - MariTool
    Plans to add anything smaller? Like a 1/4"?

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    Yes,
    I plan on adding many more sizes and flute lengths. So far feedback from my customers have been very positive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSplitter View Post
    I've been using 1/2" Helical and Fullerton for my roughing in A-36. 650 SFM .004 IPT 75% stepover .75" ap running dry with tool life of 25-30 min. Is this reasonable or should I be getting more life? Also should I try running wet? Please advise.
    Is this being done on a machine that is capable of High Speed Machining? If so, I would definitely look into that type of toolpath. But that tool life for your parameters seem decent.
    A36 is butter, you may even be able to kick it up a notch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtndew View Post
    Is this being done on a machine that is capable of High Speed Machining? If so, I would definitely look into that type of toolpath. But that tool life for your parameters seem decent.
    A36 is butter, you may even be able to kick it up a notch.
    Yes I agree. I have a customer running our tooling and also Helical Solutions tooling 1,000 sfpm in 4140. Fil D on Instagram: “1/2” maritool chip breaker for steel. Running at 945 sfm! And getting great tool life. @maritoolusa #maritool #cnc #machining #machinist…”

    Let me be clear, he is also running tools from Helical at the same rate. I've heard nothing but good about tools from Helical. I don't sell them just saying and giving credit where credit is due.

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    I used to use a lot of Iscar chatter free cutters on a specific part. I would do 10 parts (two full slots, mild steel profile cut blocks, pretty deep and about 300mm long, there is a thread about it somewhere) and they would snap off. Held in an ER 25 holder, for clearance issues. Varied depth of cut from 4mm-6mm.

    I went to a Widia seminar just after they bought out Hanita and one of the Hanita specialists was over here. He told me to try these List 5777 • VariMill II™ and ramp my feeds up a bit. Bonus is that they are cheaper than Iscar, and hardly break. They still cut when it looks like they shouldn't. Get 15 Parts now and change them out. Have even pushed them further to see what happens but eventually changed it out because of surface finish. I would recommend them to anyone. I don't mess up collets anymore and am very happy with them.

    I know Frank is well respected here so I am definitely not saying that they are better than what he is suggesting. Just some of my experience. I also only cut with air blast on them.

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    NAST555,
    I agree 100% Widia makes some great stuff. Not just endmills but there coolant thru drills are unreal!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fmari --MariTool- View Post
    Yes I agree. I have a customer running our tooling and also Helical Solutions tooling 1,000 sfpm in 4140. Fil D on Instagram: “1/2” maritool chip breaker for steel. Running at 945 sfm! And getting great tool life. @maritoolusa #maritool #cnc #machining #machinist…”

    Let me be clear, he is also running tools from Helical at the same rate. I've heard nothing but good about tools from Helical. I don't sell them just saying and giving credit where credit is due.

    WOW! Now that is moving!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dodgin View Post
    Yep...hot hardness and all that good stuff.

    We run Helical for anything HSM related and love them, but for heavier cuts (especially full slotting) the Stabilizer 2.0s from Niagara are top notch in my opinion. Haven't run them in anything super tough, but mild steel? They seem to love being buried, super quiet with great chip evacuation.

    Don't mean for that to sound like any sort of indictment on the Stabilizers HSM capabilities either. I can't say one way or another how they would go up against Helical because I simply haven't used them in that application very much.
    I have tried The Stabilizer 2.0's but they could never handle the SFM. The Seco rep told me to run it at 300-400 SFM. Tried that and started chipping cutting edges.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dandrummerman21 View Post
    I typed the following comment, but the site had an error, so pasting it here about 30 minutes too late:




    And to add onto that:

    Those coatings (AlTiN, TiAlN, etc) require heat to work better. The coefficient of friction is actually lower when they are a couple hundred degrees C, Which is pretty easy to do.

    If the endmill isn't glowing or throwing a lot of sparks, it is fine.

    And using coolant with a tool that is getting that hot is a recipe for premature wear, as it will thermally shock the tool as it gets hot and cold.


    Tom often doesn't really read into the point of most questions. He has some valid info sometimes, but 95% of what he copied and pasted from his notes don't apply here.


    To the OP: it seems you are just using conventional toolpaths? Just hogging along? That tool life seems okay. I will say that if you were using CAM using some adaptive/high speed milling toolpaths, you might get better life going much faster with smaller stepover. There is a bit of a learning curve in doing it but a lot of us use them almost exclusively to rough nowadays.

    And just to add another question: are the tools you mention coated or uncoated? And are they variable flute/helix endmills? Both of these can improve your cutting situation.
    They are both coated; Helical is A-Plus (TiAlN ??) Fullerton is something proprietary similar to TiAlN or AlTiN. Yes, they are both variable helix and variable pitch. I would never go back to square index endmills and lose my hearing!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtndew View Post
    Is this being done on a machine that is capable of High Speed Machining? If so, I would definitely look into that type of toolpath. But that tool life for your parameters seem decent.
    A36 is butter, you may even be able to kick it up a notch.
    Yes, I have a Haas VF-2 w/ high speed machining option. What tool and stepover would you use for HSM?

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    obviously it depends on cost of part. if you got a $10,000. part thats weighs a few tons and you got somebody wanting to save 10 minutes with 2% chance of sudden tool failure and possibly scrapping the $10,000 part then your priority is not speed bursts and occasional sudden failures but high consistent reliability
    .
    and no way if you got 2 to 10" depth of cuts are you going to use a 1/2 end mill at 600 sfpm or faster. you obviously never using full 10-20 hp had a 2 ton part vibrating so bad it was destroying tooling in minutes requiring slowing things down if you want tooling to survive making 1 part. and many horizontal mills with a 40" or 50" square pallet you often need tools and tool holders than can reach 20" or more.
    .
    you get laughed out of the shop talking about 1000 sfpm with long tooling and high depth of cuts with $10,000 parts saying you going to save even 1 hour of time and have only a 2% chance of scrapping the part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF_TomB View Post
    obviously it depends on cost of part. if you got a $10,000. part thats weighs a few tons and you got somebody wanting to save 10 minutes with 2% chance of sudden tool failure and possibly scrapping the $10,000 part then your priority is not speed bursts and occasional sudden failures but high consistent reliability
    .
    and no way if you got 2 to 10" depth of cuts are you going to use a 1/2 end mill at 600 sfpm or faster. you obviously never using full 10-20 hp had a 2 ton part vibrating so bad it was destroying tooling in minutes requiring slowing things down if you want tooling to survive making 1 part. and many horizontal mills with a 40" or 50" square pallet you often need tools and tool holders than can reach 20" or more.
    .
    you get laughed out of the shop talking about 1000 sfpm with long tooling and high depth of cuts with $10,000 parts saying you going to save even 1 hour of time and have only a 2% chance of scrapping the part.
    I really really don't understand why you comment on these things.
    Go back to the 1st post. He is using a 1/2" endmill. I seriously doubt it is more than 1-1 1/4" LOC, or I at least hope he would have mentioned that (4x 5x diam etc) in asking about tool life.

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