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Aluminum feed rates

Discussion in 'CNC Routing & Laser Cutting' started by jayhawksigns, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. jayhawksigns

    jayhawksigns Very Active Member

    Jan 8, 2005
    Just wanting to confirm some feed rates for cutting aluminum, because what I read is completely different from what the guy who trained me on my ArtCAM software told me.

    I have been ordering Onsrud bits from Hartlauer in Orgeon. On his "catalog" it says to cut aluminum with the 63-600 series bit at 125ipm with a 1/4" bit. I was instructed to do it at a much more conservative 20-25ipm. Just wanting to get other opinions on how fast to cut, because 1, its time saved, and 2, its important to keep your chipload up, and at the 20-25ipm, chipload is not existent.

    And I am cutting .190" 3003 aluminum

  2. Dennis Raap

    Dennis Raap Active Member

    Oct 5, 2003

    I have not cut any aluminum but I saved a post from Letterville. In the post they were cutting .080 aluminum with an Onsrud bit 63-620 at 50 ipm and 19000 RPM. They said to use Climb Milling also.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Vital Designs

    Vital Designs Vital Designs

    May 29, 2005
    Dalls, Texas
    I use an Onsrud bit (can't remember #) cutting alumalite and 040 at 50 ipm with good results.
  4. hol

    hol New Member

    Oct 26, 2005
    If you have a mister you can cut the aluminum at faster feed rates with no problem. Using an Onsrud 1/8 upcut spiral I cut 1/8 in aluminum at 75 - 100 ipm.
  5. k.a.s.

    k.a.s. Very Active Member

    Aug 8, 2003
    NE ohio
    I would think that the 125ipm they recommend would not be for .190 alum. I cut .080 at about 60 to 80ipm I have never cut .190 but I would think 30to40ipm would be fine.
  6. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    San Diego, CA
    Spindle Speed

    1/4" Spiral O bit you want to move your RPM's to 12,200, 1 IPS, and a stepdown of .125 or your .190 which is close
  7. Typestries

    Typestries Very Active Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    NJ | VT
    If you want to cut aluminum at all successfully you need 5052 alloy. Most painted aluminum is 6063 which in my experience cuts poorly. You'll most likely need to get 5052 from a metal supplier and not a sign supplier. Using onsrud bits at 40-60 ipm, 1/4" bit, 1/8" per pass, 19k rpm you should get chips shaped like "c" and not shards that should fly out of the bit tangentially to it's direction of travel at high speed. The chips should be hot-thats part of the cutting heat being removed.
  8. JoyMonkey

    JoyMonkey New Member

    Mar 8, 2007
    I spent a lot of time last year looking for the perfect feed and speed for cutting thick aluminum and leaving a nice finished edge.
    I typically use an Onsrud 63-620 or 63-622 tool (1/4" dia, 3/8" or 3/4" cel) climbing at 33ipm and 18000rpm with a 0.125 step. I've found that this slow feed and faster spindle speed gives a really nice polished edge on the final product.
    I also use a dual mister to keep everything nice and cool; at such a slow feed, I'd imagine things could get messy without any type of coolant.
  9. signsbygeorge

    signsbygeorge Member

    Feb 12, 2007
    Ain't no way to cut alum w/o coolant. The Gerber tech told me to use a hand sprayer and water. This was 7yrs ago. He was full of it, bit still gummed up. I am on my second mister since the 1st dual mister kept losing one side. We use that veggie coolant, maybe something else works better.
  10. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    San Diego, CA
    6061 is the recommended alum for routing, 5052 is softer and tends to heat up more. Most will use 5052 because it's significantly cheaper.

    If your gumming up your spindle speed is too fast. You can always move faster thru material, it's just that you have to keep your bit cooler.

    I use a air cooler and that's all I really need, but out of habbit before having the cooler I still squirt a little WD-40 on the bit as it's going now and then. I have a mister that sprays coolant but I've never hooked it up because they are messy and can mess up my spoilboard
  11. JimJenson

    JimJenson Active Member

    Nov 4, 2006
    Crisco (lard) also makes an excellent cutting lube.
  12. gunshy

    gunshy Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    We use the cheapest dollar store vegetable oil we can find, works great.
    I work at a large electrical sign shop, 90% of what I cut is alum.

    are you cutting .190 or did you mean .090?

    I usually cut .125 around 20- 30 ipm.
  13. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

    Mar 25, 2006
    Mars Florida
    Another option you might want to consider is a vortex tube. I've used one when I cut 1/4" aluminum plate and it does a great job of keeping the bit cool and you don't have the mess of oil. I bought my table with the lubricating option but have never used it once in the past six years.http://www.airtxinternational.com/how_vortex_tubes_work.php
  14. gunshy

    gunshy Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    good info, so you use it often or just that once?
    What cut rate can you achieve for say .125?

    Looking at this table what one would you recommend?


    Sorry for so many questions, but that would solve some issues...

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