High-Speed Machining Tips for Aluminum Milling Parts
High-speed milling varies from conventional milling. It is a more productive and innovative way of manufacturing low volume parts and prototypes. The evolving metal industry necessitates the quick production of parts. Every month, custom parts or rapid prototypes demands rise higher. More and more clients want faster completion of their orders. They also want these components to have better accuracy than before.
Aluminum happens to be one of the most versatile alloys for modern production. It is lightweight, durable, strong, and corrosion-resistant. Frankly, it is not wrong to conclude it is the best material for production. For this reason, new milling techniques are arising to unlock its full potential.
High-speed milling is one such modern CNC aluminum machining method. It mainly differs from conventional milling in terms of speed. High-speed milling is usually faster. This allows machinists to feed increase the rate of cutting feed. Additionally, it offers other advantages over conventional milling.
Here Is The Aluminum Milling Parts Machined Process
The cutting speeds of high-speed milling can be up to 3 times as fast as conventional milling. It is even possible to increase it to 2 times higher when working on softer aluminum alloys. It the technical world, the machining feeds defines the productivity of the entire milling process. This makes high-speed milling more efficient than conventional milling.
Aluminum’s machinability allows us to increase spindle revolution speeds. They can even get up to 1800 rpm or more. Such material removal rates make it lucrative when dealing with automotive and aerospace parts. In the first instance, automotive prototypes need plenty of material removal. We try to achieve this with as few milling setups as possible. In the second instance, it involves several parts that are long and large with deep pockets. Additionally, they need to be lightweight. Hence, we machine them down to a set of intersecting ribs. Aluminum alloys make up 80% of planes and rockets bodies.
The Cut’s Temperature
Research shows the temperature of the cut varies with an increase in speed. In the beginning, as the speed increases, the temperature also increases. However, further on, the temperature drastically decreases. This gets to a point where it does not matter. Increasing the cutting speed ends up lowering the temperature by only a small degree. This change is ideal for high-speed milling.
For instance, the temperature may get to 600 to 800 degrees when milling at 300-500 m/min. Yet, when we increase the velocity up to 1200, the temperature decreases by 200 degrees. It then ends up being 150 degrees at 1800 m/min. From this point, henceforth, cutting faster is pointless.
To put this into proper perspective, it is only a mere 150-200 degrees. No material property change in the area arises from local thermal processing. The metal grain doesn’t increase and it also doesn’t demand a lot of cooling. This a significant advantage.
Extended Tool Life
This may seem strange due to the higher speed it involves. Therefore, it is a common notion to think tool wear must be higher. However, when we compare it to the amount of material getting cut with conventional milling, the difference is clear. The evident winner in terms of tool life in high-speed milling.
You may be wondering what contributes to this extended tool life? Firstly, the cutting temperature is significantly lower. This translates to higher tool material strength. Moreover, the chip width is lower during high-speed milling. This is since the tool turns faster and can cut off a thinner chip despite the increased feeds.
In addition, one of the main concerns with milling aluminum is that it is soft. Therefore, it ends up sticking to the tool’s cutting edges during processing. This decreases the tool sharpness while increasing the cutting force. This results in lower tool life.
The Accuracy of High- Speed Aluminum Milling Parts
You may assume that higher feeds make the aluminum surface finish lower. This is since the tool cutting edge traverses further while the tool can make a turn and cut it off. It normally results in a wider chip, increased cutting force, and worse surface finish. However, despite the feed being larger in high-speed milling, its velocity is higher. This means that the chip is actually thinner in comparison to conventional milling. Moreover, the vibration is lower as we use up a smaller cutting force. These features all contribute to better accuracy.
There are high-speed milling techniques that allow us not to use coolants at all. Machining at 200 degrees rarely requires the use of a coolant. Despite this, extremely precise operations require coolants. This is to improve part quality. Luckily the quantity of coolant it requires is usually low as we only need a thin film
It is evident that high-speed aluminum milling parts are a productive and innovative way of manufacturing: prototypes, custom parts, and low volume productions. For any further inquiries, simply contact us.
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