Metal cutting end mills for routing wood - Router Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2020, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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Default Metal cutting end mills for routing wood

I have a milling machine for metal working and have a number of spiral cutting end mills. Has anyone used them for routing box joints or other straight slot cuts? I am not sure they are solid carbide but would expect they are. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks Larry
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2020, 09:58 AM
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I've read about it being done. Also read about using metal lathes for turning wood. I wouldn't ask, I'd just try it, and see if I liked it.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2020, 11:11 AM
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I've done it, but I found that I often get better results using router bits. Metal responds to different blade cutting angles than wood. Try it for yourself, but don't invest a lot of money until you get the results that you want.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2020, 11:27 AM
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i believe that i have read that end mills are typically up-cut bits. i am thinking you will get better results with down cutting for the tasks you mentioned. wrt metal working bits, i'd bet that the cutter geometry is different than that for wood, as well as efficient/recommended rpm's.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2020, 12:00 PM
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i believe that i have read that end mills are typically up-cut bits. i am thinking you will get better results with down cutting for the tasks you mentioned. wrt metal working bits, i'd bet that the cutter geometry is different than that for wood, as well as efficient/recommended rpm's.
The geometry for router bits meant to cut plastic are also different from ones for wood. Like Charley said, different materials react differently to the cutter.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2020, 01:37 PM
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I do know one person that uses 4 flute bits, made for metal cutting, 90% of the time for his wood projects. I don't recommend it for the hobby level machines because most of them are limited in feed rates needed to get the proper feeds for a 4 flute bit.

Another important thing to remember is that the chips created when the bit is cutting carries away the heat produced while cutting. Moving too slow because you are trying to make the bit meet optimum feed rates and spindle speeds for a 4 flute bit will often lead to burning material and overheating the bit. This could also be hard on your spindle because they are normally limited on their lowest speed recommendations.

Of course, that is just my opinion.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2020, 03:42 PM
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Good point Mike. The gullets on metal cutting bits are shallower for the added strength that gives the cutting edges but it doesn't allow for getting rid of wood chips at the higher feed rates of cutting wood.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2020, 05:25 PM
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Hey, when I look at websites, how do I know if a bit is made for metal, wood or plastic? Will a end mill made for wood cut plastic? I have an Avid machine on order and this is all new to me. I want to cut the dust shoe out of HDPE as per the video on their website. I have begun to look at the bits and actually ordered a couple. Not trying to hijack the topic but I hope I am not purchasing the wrong things.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2020, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeSibley View Post
Hey, when I look at websites, how do I know if a bit is made for metal, wood or plastic? Will a end mill made for wood cut plastic? I have an Avid machine on order and this is all new to me. I want to cut the dust shoe out of HDPE as per the video on their website. I have begun to look at the bits and actually ordered a couple. Not trying to hijack the topic but I hope I am not purchasing the wrong things.
go to the bit's manufacturer's site...
plug in your particulars they will tell you what bits you need...

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2020, 07:34 PM
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Thank you sir!

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