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    Default Recommended Mill Bit Starter Set

    I'm looking for an economical milling bit starter set. I'll only be doing light milling as a hobbyist. Looking for end mills ( 1/8 to 1/2", maybe up to 3/4"h and maybe a dovetail bit to make some custom BXA holders). Most of my machining will be in 6061 AL and 1018 steel. Some machine in brass and if I have the courage and need to machine some SS ( SS is not a requirement ). Any recommendations on a reasonably priced starter set.

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    Buying a set of end mills (there end mills not bits) is a waist of money. You will buy end mills you will never use. Figure out a project that you want to make and buy the end mills for that. Then your next project you can use them a second time plus the ones you will need to buy for the second project.

    Buy good quality.

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    I'm sure you can find some good ones on ebay and craigslist.

    Look for Weldon, Niagra, Cleveland, and my favorite ITW. Stay away from Chinese endmills and cutters if possible, but for a one-off project in aluminum you might be able to get away with it.

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    Many of the internet tool supply places have sets of end mills at reasonable prices. I purchased one that included sizes from 1/8" to 1/2" in both two flute and four flute styles. But just square end, end mills; nothing fancy. If you want a dovetail or round nose or other styles, you are probably going to have to buy them separately. That is not bad. Something like a dovetail mill is only useful over a narrow range of dovetail sizes. So, you need one for the project at hand, not a universal one. I have never seen a set of dovetails offered.

    Some places you can look at:

    McMaster-Carr

    Grainger Industrial Supply - MRO Products, Equipment & Tools

    MSC Industrial Supply Co. | Find Power Tools, Hand Tools, Machine Tools & More

    Cutting - H.S.S. & Solid Carbide | Travers.com

    Shop Tools and Machinery at Grizzly.com

    http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRHM

    http://www.cdcotools.com/index.php

    http://www.littlemachineshop.com/pro...ry=-1550042347

    I am sure there are more sources. End mill cutters are not like drill bits where the quality can vary from excellent to totally unusable. They are produced in much smaller quantities. They are not a hardware store commodity so the quality level is much more consistent. Most of the end mills that you can purchase from these sources will be at least of good quality. Of course, there will be better ones, but the quality will be at least good.

    This is a professionally oriented board. I would suggest you may be a better fit at a home shop/hobby board. I would suggest here:

    http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/forums/3-General

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    wtf is a mill bit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtndew View Post
    wtf is a mill bit?
    IIRC, there are 8 bits in a byte. Must be for a CNC.

    JR

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    Be sure to get a few 'roughing' endmills, sometimes called 'corn-cob' or other names. These enable you to cut quickly on any machine, and take much larger cuts on smaller machines than would otherwise be possible. Often the finish left by a rougher will be adequate, and if not, a skim cut with a finishing endmill is all you need to add. If I were you, I'd get mostly roughers and a few for finishing. You might think that a two-step procedure would take twice as long, but if there is a lot of stock to remove, the rougher/finisher combination will save you time.

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    Being a new machinist myself, I'll approach the question with some humility.

    HSS mills will get you plenty far working with aluminum and mild steel. Not knowing what you're max HP or RPM is, or whether you're CNC or Manual, I couldn't recommend carbide since they're usually about 4X higher in price than HSS mills. I was turned onto YG HSS mills by others. I bought some from latheinserts.com. Don't let the name fool you, they have a large selection of milling tools. Plus since you mentioned lathe tool holders, they have a good selection of hobby sized lathe tooling at fair prices. I can't say but you might give them a call and see if they can help put a set together. The owner's name is Curtis (exkenna here on PM). I've had good experiences buying from him thus far.

    To all the dicks that are being snarky, what a warm welcome and do you remember what you called an end mill when you first worked with them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Fleming View Post
    To all the dicks that are being snarky, what a warm welcome and do you remember what you called an end mill when you first worked with them?
    Lighten up Francis.
    When I first started, I called them end mills, because that's what my boss told me they were, and I listened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Fleming View Post
    Being a new machinist myself, I'll approach the question with some humility.

    HSS mills will get you plenty far working with aluminum and mild steel. Not knowing what you're max HP or RPM is, or whether you're CNC or Manual, I couldn't recommend carbide since they're usually about 4X higher in price than HSS mills. I was turned onto YG HSS mills by others. I bought some from latheinserts.com. Don't let the name fool you, they have a large selection of milling tools. Plus since you mentioned lathe tool holders, they have a good selection of hobby sized lathe tooling at fair prices. I can't say but you might give them a call and see if they can help put a set together. The owner's name is Curtis (exkenna here on PM). I've had good experiences buying from him thus far.

    To all the dicks that are being snarky, what a warm welcome and do you remember what you called an end mill when you first worked with them?
    Flat ended 4 flute drill bit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtndew View Post
    Lighten up Francis.
    When I first started, I called them end mills, because that's what my boss told me they were, and I listened.
    The OPs background is wood working where if it isn't a saw or uses a drum cutter of sorts, it uses a bit. A little tact will go far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkinkade View Post
    I'm looking for an economical milling bit starter set. I'll only be doing light milling as a hobbyist. Looking for end mills ( 1/8 to 1/2", maybe up to 3/4"h and maybe a dovetail bit to make some custom BXA holders). Most of my machining will be in 6061 AL and 1018 steel. Some machine in brass and if I have the courage and need to machine some SS ( SS is not a requirement ). Any recommendations on a reasonably priced starter set.
    Every 'set' I have ever seen, has been composed of the cheapest, shoddiest quality parts that could be bought, at even higher prices.

    Get a couple catalogs from Machine Tool suppliers, and buy what you need, when you need it.

    From a hobby perspective, forget about having one of every size. A fly cutter works well for cleaning up flat surfaces, and you can afford the time to take an offset pass to make the slot as wide as it needs to be.

    I would suggest that you either skip the cutters larger than 1/2 inch, or shop cheap on ebay or wherever you can get them cheap from. 1/2 inch and under, the milling cutters are a bunch more affordable.

    I have heard sort of good reviews of the cheap Chinese cutters from places like richontools (do a search of that term). Cheap enough that they will not kill you to break a few, and far cheaper than the same or lesser quality bits in the 'sets'. I fully intend to buy an order from them to try, once my mill is set up.

    I would also suggest that you could do a lot worse than to track down a Cutter grinder shop, and see what they can do for you in the way of reground cutters. I have bought such in the past, and got good value, as the size of the cutter, was not of much importance while cutting up to a scribed line on the workpiece.

    You ARE going to break and or fry several milling cutters learning what to, and not, to do. Might just as well not be causing you financial hardship while so doing. And if you are going to buy cheap Chinese end mills, you might as well pay as little as possible for them.

    Cheers
    Trev

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Fleming View Post
    The OPs background is wood working where if it isn't a saw or uses a drum cutter of sorts, it uses a bit. A little tact will go far.
    Again, lighten up.... IT WAS A JOKE!

    Show me in the OP where he's talking about wood working, I'll even paste his OP here so you can read it again:
    I'm looking for an economical milling bit starter set. I'll only be doing light milling as a hobbyist. Looking for end mills ( 1/8 to 1/2", maybe up to 3/4"h and maybe a dovetail bit to make some custom BXA holders). Most of my machining will be in 6061 AL and 1018 steel. Some machine in brass and if I have the courage and need to machine some SS ( SS is not a requirement ). Any recommendations on a reasonably priced starter set.
    As for telling me to have some tact... you called me a dick. Where is your tact?

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    This is where I would start out.
    Titanium Nitride Coated End Mill Set 20 Pc
    Perhaps a strange view from someone who makes cutting tools but no sense learning on higher priced stuff IMO and yes I have used up a few sets of them myself.
    Not great but workable and way cheap, giving you a lot of sizes to work with.
    Later you can buy some name brand 3/16 or whatever as ones and twos as you burn them up.
    Bob.

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    His profile says woodworking.

    I'll let it go since you made it completely clear it was a joke. You were the unfortunate victim of my rage towards something I've been witnessing-old hats not cutting any slack to the less experienced crowd.

    The theory goes if you want to learn or progress, find a harder challenge. In this case, newer folks such as myself come to where the masters of the trade congregate to get the most useful information.

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    Expect to learn fairly quickly that milling tooling such as endmills and cutter inserts, and even drill bits are consumables and will get used up. You will buy tooling for a job or project, not 'for keeps'. Better if you get into that mindset early.

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    Don't buy sets of endmills. Chances are, you have several that you'll never use. For my home shop, 90% of my work is done with 5 sizes of HSS end mills; 1/8, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, and 1/2". I wait until ENCO or somebody has a sale and then I buy a few. You can buy 1/2" and smaller 4 flute, double end, center cutting endmills for less than $10 each.

    Do you NEED coated? NO
    Do you NEED roughers? NO

    For heavier stock removal, get a good insert milling cutter. Don't use a fly cutter! I like the cutters that use APFT or APKT style inserts. About a 2.4" dia., 4 insert, cutter works really good on a Bridgeport style mill.

    Just my humble opinion. I'm retired and really don't know shit.
    JR

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    I deliberately omitted HF from my list of possible sources. While I would trust most others, HF does not inspire confidence in me when purchasing any cutting tool. It may be OK, but I wouldn't buy end mills from them.



    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    This is where I would start out.
    Titanium Nitride Coated End Mill Set 20 Pc
    Perhaps a strange view from someone who makes cutting tools but no sense learning on higher priced stuff IMO and yes I have used up a few sets of them myself.
    Not great but workable and way cheap, giving you a lot of sizes to work with.
    Later you can buy some name brand 3/16 or whatever as ones and twos as you burn them up.
    Bob.

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    If you're new at it, I'd say away from carbides and fancy coatings or alloys until you get the hang of speeds, feeds, and cutting fluids. It would be incredibly frustrating, and attendantly expensive,for you to plink the edges off a high dollar carbide endmill because you cranked the handle the wrong way accidently or took the wrong size bite at the wrong speed. A nice HSS endmill will do everything you need to do for now.

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