7 Tips for Improving the Performance of Your End Mill

A broken end mill and premature wear cost a lot but also affects productivity in a big way. Time spent calibrating new tools, installation and locating the needed supplies takes time away from processing metal.

However, if you put time into maintaining and caring for your equipment, it will also help to increase work quality and productivity while extending the tool’s useful lifespan.

Regal provides some considerations for making your end mills last as long as possible.

Carbide-rodes, on the other hand, are pricey tools that need more successful industrial milling operations. Differing carbide end mills serve particular purposes such as roughing, finishing, material-specific application and many others. To protect your investment and get the most bang for your buck, it’s crucial you use the equipment correctly.

To achieve that kind of result and keep your end mills at the highest quality, here are seven tips that’ll help improve their overall performance.

Feeds and Speeds

Any talk of proper milling operation has to start with feed rate and cutting speed. These two elements are the core of what follows. Adequate feed and speed will determine chip load for both end mills and carbide rods.

For every end mill design and work material, there is a small niche for moving at optimal speed for maximum productivity. Even if you run at the perfect spindle speed, feeding at top rates will break the mill. The correct speed won’t work either if the spindle speed isn’t implementing the proper way.

The top speed will create enough heat to soften the tool and resulting it in becoming dull and wearing out at a much higher rate.

End Mill Coatings

Coatings provide mills a hard shell that protects the cutting edges. In many situations, these coatings allow them to take the high temperature produced when processing harder materials. Coming from the material Titanium nitride (TiN), layers offer general-purpose protection against the wear and tear of high-speed steel (HSS) and carbide rods.

Coatings that also have carbon (TiCN) inside them allow Carbide end mills to move almost twice as fast as their uncoated partners without the wear from the additional heat generated. Especially on HSS mills, the coating retards don’t wear out as long as the speeds and feeds do not create excessive heat.

Aluminum (TiAIN) coatings are better able to take the heat generated by the extreme speeds and feed rates needed for high milling temperature, cast iron, steel alloys, heat-treated materials and high-temperature alloys.

Deflections

Trying to dice up too much material at a feed rate or too high speeds can result in tool deflection. This is a sad thing in most industries but wholely worst in end mills. The deflection causes mills to bend, and the constant relaxing and flexing on the mill flutes weakens them.

Another negative is the mill bow. While it’s inside the cut, the flute could dig far to deep in the workpiece and essentially bite off more than it can chew. That chip load could potentially break the mill, causing build-up and the recutting of chips too large to get rid off effectively. This leads to early wear.

Fight deflection by working on feed rates and average speeds and by working with a rigid mill, the most extensive and shortest mill to get the job done. If needed, you can also shrink the tool’s practical length going to the shank and choking it up just below where the flute has been.

Handling The Chips

As previously mentioned, getting rid of chips is the primary concern for productivity, surface finish and reducing tool tear and wear. Chips take in a lot of heat in the process and temperature is an end mill’s worst enemy. Heat does have its positives though.

Heat also helps adhere and bind material, especially aluminum to the end mill.

Use Multiple Flute Tools

Carbide rods come in multiple styles, and some flutes can go up to 12. Multi-flute tools will serve different functions, but when protecting your purchase, it’s crucial you use the tools as intended. Here is a quick list of the most common flutes.

Four Flute Styles

Four flute end mills are versatile when it’s about milling materials when chip packing isn’t a concern. The tools have increased thickness in the core, which allows for improved size accuracy and a decrease in tool deflection. They also allow for minimal chip load.

These end mills are a good middle ground between the two flute of the removal volume and the strength of the mill with more pipes. Similiar to the two flute option, it also allows a square end to obtain the ultimate surface finish.

Six-Flute Styles

The durability of the six flute provides more stability and allows for the sharpest of the cutting edges to stay connected to the working materials.

Two Square-End Tools

When its time decides the proper end mill for your project, two flute square tools are usually your best bet.

These mills are well designed, and center was cutting for slotting, contouring and plunging. The full flute design ideal for getting at chips, especially with more massive peripheral cuts and higher feed rates. A nice perk is that the square end will create a 90-degree angle upon slotting.

Increase The Life Of Your Tool

To get the best return on your investment and increase the life of your carbide end mills, buying a radius ground is a good investment. The sharp corner is the weakest point on an end mill, so the radius ground will stop chipping. The starting costs of carbide end mills is a tad steep, especially for new designs and high performance.

That said, with proper consideration for the ideal end mill for your specific application and an appropriate set up will be worth the finished product. Higher productivity, higher production, and better finishes are just some of the benefits of obtaining the ideal end mill.

Do The Best You Can

Creating the best end mill you can is one of the hardest things you can do. The work can be hard enough without figuring out all these variables. But if you really take the time to dig into the industry of the end mills with this article you’ll be much better off.

But with these tips, you should be in good shape. For more information, check out our resources here.