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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about cut some aluminum tread plate for the first time and was wondering if anyone has any experience with it. I have a 1/16" , 3/16" LOC 4 flute Hertel bit I plan to use so any suggestions of speeds and feeds would be welcome. I'm guessing I zero my bit on the high spots of the treads?? All tips and suggestions are welcome as well.

Thanks!
 

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are you cutting profiles, shapes, slots or just to size???
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'll be cutting a star approx 20" wide X 20" tall and it will have some letters cut into it stencil style.
 

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This is going to be interesting. Aluminum makes a real mess cutting, Years ago when I worked for Boeing they used templates and an overhead router to cut out some parts. They used an oil emulsion for cutting fluid and the chips flew everywhere and stuck to everything along with the cutting fluid. If I remember right they used a 1/4" straight bit. not something I would want to do.
Herb
 

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I'm about cut some aluminum tread plate for the first time and was wondering if anyone has any experience with it. I have a 1/16" , 3/16" LOC 4 flute Hertel bit I plan to use so any suggestions of speeds and feeds would be welcome. I'm guessing I zero my bit on the high spots of the treads?? All tips and suggestions are welcome as well.
Thanks!

How thick is the tread plate? What's your setup? Pictures?



Your bit is 1/16"dia? Possible to get a 1/8" or better "O" or 2 flute? You'll be there all day
making multiple passes and possibly galling the flutes. WD40 for lubricant or you can use air blowing
directly on it. Zero on the high spots. Straight cut bits are good if you dont have a vacuum table. Upcuts like to lift.



I was in a bind once and used a reg 1/8" straight bit (Diablo @ HD), took light passes w/ a mister (WD40)


You could use a larger bit to hog out the letters then come in afterwards w/ smaller bit to tighten
up the sharp corners. Yea, more work but it's better looking.


This is going to be interesting. Aluminum makes a real mess cutting, Years ago when I worked for Boeing they used templates and an overhead router to cut out some parts. They used an oil emulsion for cutting fluid and the chips flew everywhere and stuck to everything along with the cutting fluid. If I remember right they used a 1/4" straight bit. not something I would want to do.
Herb

Wooo... chips from 1/4~1/2" bits are nasty. I have to tape plastic around my legs during the summer
so they dont get in me boots. They do manage to get everywheres. Going down the neck isnt fun.
The rooster tails on them fling the chips pretty good. They burnt my lip once. As for mess, you'll
know I was there as I track it everywhere. I usually get a fist when im home.


Chips from a 1/16~1/8 isnt so bad.


PSA: Do not vacuum Alum chips! They are HOT
 

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Do you know what the alloy is? I've cut 6061 with a 1/8" o flute bit. Speed was 10,000 and feed was 20ipm. Very shallow cuts. I would not attempt it with a 1/16" bit.

If the treadplate seems to melt while cutting it may be 3003.
3003 is soft aluminum and would require a straight cut bit
for a better finish. Something like Onsrud 63-420 & 63-430.
 

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I've done 6061 1/8 inch thick. I used an 1/8" 2 flute upcut (straight cut would have been better) and cut to .35 depth. Used 3 passes. 13k RPM and feed rate of 10 ipm. I used WD40 for lubricant. No matter what you do it's messy! Like others have said you do Zero the Z on the high spot.
 

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I zero to the spoilboard, do a G90 move to the top of the nominal thickness of the material, and then rezero. That way, you are at the height you want, but ensure you will not cut into your spoilboard. I do it routinely with anything I'm cutting that might reach the spoilboard. Here's a link to a video explaining it.
 

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Spoilboards were meant to be spoiled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well I tried cutting the aluminum with the 4 flute bit and it was a big fail, got about 2" into the cut and the bit broke and the aluminum was just peeling back instead of cutting away in chips.

Sooo.. I bought this.. It has a feed rate chart but I don't really understand it. Any recommendations on speeds and feeds for cutting the aluminum?

Amana Tool 51486-Z SC Spiral O Single Flute, ZrN Coated Aluminum Cutting 1/8 D x 3/4 CH x 1/4 SHK x 2-1/2 Inch Long Up-Cut Router Bit with Mirror Finish
 

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it appears to say, eg with your 1/8" diameter bit - appx 25 inches per minute feed rate, when cutting at Diameter (1/8") x 1, or at 1/8" cut depth/pass. about 18 ipm when cutting at Diameter (1/8") x 2, or 1/4" cut depth. i don't see rpm tho, maybe in their text?? it it also very important...
 

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I've cut 6061 aluminum with a 1/8" bit similar to that one. I use a feed rate of 20ipm and my Makita router at its lowest setting, which I believe is 10,000rpm. I would set it lower if I could. I make very, very shallow passes.

I don't know what you are doing with this bit, but a fellow cnc'er and me both found that our 1/8" bit that was supposed to be .125" in diameter was actually .118". Until we figured that out, all of our circles and squares were smaller than they were supposed to be.
 

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I'm about cut some aluminum tread plate for the first time and was wondering if anyone has any experience with it. I have a 1/16" , 3/16" LOC 4 flute Hertel bit I plan to use so any suggestions of speeds and feeds would be welcome. I'm guessing I zero my bit on the high spots of the treads?? All tips and suggestions are welcome as well.

Thanks!
Here is how I remember aluminum being cut.
HErb
 

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