Preferred end mills

K_4c

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Looking to try some different carbide end mills. Kit preferred.

what’s your go to brand?
 

LongRifles Inc.

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Looking to try some different carbide end mills. Kit preferred.

what’s your go to brand?

"kits" and tooling rarely work well together. Tools are so application-specific anymore that it really pays to do your homework. This is where latching on to a well-qualified tool rep pays big dividends.

Case in point. Right now I am wrapping up a job for a friend who is a "turd chaser" on Ft Carson. (Wastewater Management) They have an array of obsolete pumps that are fitted with a wear item. The material is 1.25" 316 Stainless plate. Austenitic stainless is very prone to work hardening.

When I started I was using a 1/2" rougher at 20ipm and 1200RPM. It took 1.5 hours to pocket the interior ring. I switched to a high-performance tool, a shrinker, and a dynamic contour. I did the same job in 26 minutes at 284ipm, 5200rpm, and a .025" stepover. At full depth mind you. (1.3" depth on a 1.5LOC tool)

Yeah, no shit. I took an hour out of the cycle time. This was also done dry. Just a little air on the tool to clear the coffee grounds.

The tooling made all the difference. It is well worth your time to find a good tool vendor that legitimately tries to solve problems vs just selling you stuff.

Good luck.
 

LongRifles Inc.

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Shootin Stuff

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It’s not cheap, but if you have deep pockets and enough spindle then ceramic tooling is where it’s at for high speed machining.
 

K_4c

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"kits" and tooling rarely work well together. Tools are so application-specific anymore that it really pays to do your homework. This is where latching on to a well-qualified tool rep pays big dividends.

Case in point. Right now I am wrapping up a job for a friend who is a "turd chaser" on Ft Carson. (Wastewater Management) They have an array of obsolete pumps that are fitted with a wear item. The material is 1.25" 316 Stainless plate. Austenitic stainless is very prone to work hardening.

When I started I was using a 1/2" rougher at 20ipm and 1200RPM. It took 1.5 hours to pocket the interior ring. I switched to a high-performance tool, a shrinker, and a dynamic contour. I did the same job in 26 minutes at 284ipm, 5200rpm, and a .025" stepover. At full depth mind you. (1.3" depth on a 1.5LOC tool)

Yeah, no shit. I took an hour out of the cycle time. This was also done dry. Just a little air on the tool to clear the coffee grounds.

The tooling made all the difference. It is well worth your time to find a good tool vendor that legitimately tries to solve problems vs just selling you stuff.

Good luck.
I appreciate your feedback. I’m nothing more then a tinker that likes to make/modify stuff as I go. Essentially I’m just asking for a reputable manufacturer of fine carbide end mills (4 flute flat and ball variants).

by “kit” I meant a set of carbide end mills in the applicable sizes (1/8-1/2”).
 
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1moaoff

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It all depends on what you are cutting, hp and rpm, coolant, rigidity, 1 off or production, desired finish, etc.... so many considerations...

Kits dont really work out. Most people run alot of a certain few sizes
 
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Shootin Stuff

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Buying machines is cheap, it’s the tooling that will cost you.
Whatever you do, don’t buy anything out of China. All of the hobby grade stuff is shit, likewise anything being sold locally that shares packaging with the chinese garbage and seems too cheap to be true usually is.

Anything European is generally fairly high quality. I’m not too sure about what the US manufacturers are like, but surely there are a few that produce good tooling?
 
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Shootin Stuff

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Also assuming your machine is sufficiently rigid your main limiting factors for tooling are spindle hp/speed, table travel speed and materials type.

There are online calculators for all of the numbers you need, but provided you do not need to cut a pocket smaller than your tool then all your heavy work will probably be done with 1 or 2 sizes of roughing mill and the same for finishing.
 

K_4c

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I’m just a hobbyist gents. I picked a Precision Matthews mill with DRO and put on a x axis power feed. Small little machine, but it’s handled every I’ve take upon myself to build. Mainly used for Jeep parts, or inlet rifle stocks. Nothing serious. I had a few burnt out barrels that I ripped into to figure out different feed and speed with the carbide end mills that I do have. Just tinkering.

appreciate the input guys
 

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Shootin Stuff

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I thought your avatar was a CNC machining center for some reason.
You might not be able to get enough RPM to make the most of carbide tooling, but the best thing to do would be to head on over to practicalmachinist and have a poke around there, those boys should be able to get you sorted out.
 

iceng

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One of the parts we make, I had a problem with chatter and non-optimal feed. Tool rep came out, suggested a tool and tips, got them in, it went WORSE for chatter. He came back out next day, checked out feeds, cut, etc, realised he goofed, credited us, got it sorted.

We are all human. It happens. Just because a Catalog or some page says "this is good" doesn't mean it works "best".

Right tool for the right job.

To answer the question, there is no "go to" brand for tooling. Stainless or alloy, even cro-mo, what type of coolant you use, how much pressure your coolant has, how fast you can spin the tool, and how you are holding it. Why slab cut with a 6mm 2 flute when a 5 insert face cutter can do it in 1/4 the time, and 200% less load ?
 

CHADPEZZLE

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I appreciate your feedback. I’m nothing more then a tinker that likes to make/modify stuff as I go. Essentially I’m just asking for a reputable manufacturer of fine carbide end mills (4 flute flat and ball variants).

by “kit” I meant a set of carbide end mills in the applicable sizes (1/8-1/2”).
I use a lot of tooling from Destiny Tools, https://www.destinytool.com/ they're located in California as am I so shipping is quick and their 3 flute carbide variable helix tooling is great for all the aluminum I machine.

I order through their supplier https://www.carbidecart.com/
 
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lariat

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"kits" and tooling rarely work well together. Tools are so application-specific anymore that it really pays to do your homework. This is where latching on to a well-qualified tool rep pays big dividends.

The tooling made all the difference. It is well worth your time to find a good tool vendor that legitimately tries to solve problems vs just selling you stuff.
This. 100 million percent. If you go with a tool list PER PROJECT, you will find that you will save money in the long run. And there are many tools that can cross over. $1K in tooling wont get you very far, and it can get you very little if you try to buy a kit if it has the wrong tooling. Also, a tool list that is made means that a machining approach has been pre-determined, so success has a better chance of occurring.
 
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Vodak

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Given your situation running a manual machine I don't think you'll see enough of a benefit from running the high dollar tooling to justify it's cost. It just doesn't have the rigidity, spindle speed and feed consistency of the big CNC's these guys are running. Will an expensive cutter work better? Yes, but is the cost justified for what you're doing? Probably not.
If I were in your position, I would probably buy a couple mid range carbides in a few common sizes to match the work you expect to do. Maybe 1/2, 3/8, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16. If you're running soft metals as well as steel get a mix of 2 and 4 flute cutters for each size. Soft metal will gall up and pack off the flutes of a 4 flute. Whatever the house brand is from a respectable tooling supply company like MSC, McMaster, etc. Not the cheapest you can find on E-Bay, or from that tool guy at the flea market though.
Buy specialty tools in HSS and run them carefully unless the task demands carbide. If the curiosity of what a high end cutter will do for you is too strong to resist, buy one or two in a size you use a lot (IE a 1/4) and compare the work done with that, to a new mid range. My experience has been that you get better return on multiple cheaper end mills than one high dollar mill for most manual work, especially if you're new to it. A fancy tool with the tips burned off makes just as big a mess as a cheap tool with the tips burned off.
 
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sirhrmechanic

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I look on eBay and buy big lots of 'used' or surplus end mills. Tons of them online.

My best score was $400 for 2,000 end mills from a Boeing plant in Kansas c. 2007... Probably all smuggled out by some guy in his lunch box. I am STILL using those end mills. I have so many left, I will be using them for another decade. For much of our work, which is not CNC production or documented/traced aerospace work, used mills and/or odd lots are your friend! You can do a LOT of work with used carbide (and HSS) mills that are not managing to make the metrology for a CNC machine or a high-end manufacturer.

But we can get a lot of life out of stuff that big name shops would toss.

Cheers,

Sirhr
 
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Ludasmith

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I use Helical and Harvey in the shop. Huge selection. Garr has cheaper carbide. If you want a HSS kit I've bought a few from Amazon with no regard to brand and just check reviews.
 

MOwens79

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Garr tool, Lakeshore Carbide, SGS, Niagara, OSG, Harvey Tool, are my go to carbide endmills. I never buy a kit, I buy what I need usually 6-12 at a time. Harvey Tool, and Lakeshore Carbide make some gunsmith specific endmills that help when milling things like 80% AR lowers, 1911s, and Picatinny Rails.

Garr, SGS, and OSG are my go to endmills when I have a lot of parts to run or Mold Inserts to surface machine.
 
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