3 flute vs 2 flute for aluminum

Continuing the discussion from Burning up my spindle - Lights out Aluminum milling:

I’m using the 2 flute variant of that same endmill.

I just don’t have the feed rate to support 3 flutes. Running a 3 flute would burn up faster than the 2 flute would. Honestly, I’d like to try even a 1 flute with these spindles… but there isn’t one available that I’d trust at this point. Still, at $11 and endmill, it gets PRICEY tossing them after only 4 parts… especially if I could get 3-4 more but risk burning the spindle up… {shrug} I dunno. Maybe if I were running 8k RPM I could use the 3 flute, but no way with the 30k spindles.

Typical machining of aluminum even on bridgeport mills calls for a 2 vs 4 (or 3) flute… so I’m sorta fighting myself just from my years of milling aluminum with going away from a 2 flute anyway. :wink:

Would you say that having a SuperPID (which can control router speed down to 5k rpm) would be a significant or important upgrade for someone interested in machining aluminum?

@NathanButler: It depends on which spindle you are using. If a DC motor, go for it. For any AC motors (like most 30k trim routers) you are going to lose a significant amount of power. Also, many of those routers have a “soft start” function which I expect something like a superPID would play total havoc with! Speed controllers tend to only work REALLY well with DC motors. That’s not to say you can’t control speed with one. You can. You’re also just going to lose a lot of power/torque in the process. With aluminum, you NEED that power. The trick with aluminum is to push your cutter as hard as you can, while still getting a good finish. If you baby it too much, it’ll heat up, and die VERY fast. Like very Very VERY fast. The chips remove the heat, so the bigger the chip, the more heat that gets pulled away. Part of our issue is we also only have so much rigidity, and those timing belts are only going to allow so much anyway no matter HOW strong you make the rest of the machine, so if you do start to push the cutter hard enough, odds are then you’ll be getting crazy amounts of chatter… and as my first master machinist I worked with told me “Yeah Son. Chatter ain’t a finish.” :slight_smile: LOL

@AngusMcleod No, that wouldn’t work for me. Maybe some others, but while the SHANK diameter is 1/8", the cutter diameter is 2mm. I need the cutter diameter to be 1/8" AND be able to plunge cut. I haven’t been happy with any of the 1 flute cutters, and I’ve looked at a lot of them. I also have deep milling which is an additional complexity. I’m pretty hard on my cutters.

Ill stick with using straight flute hss and carbide wood router bits for most aluminium projects Cheap and easy to resharpen. been using the same 3 bits for months now. But what works for one may not work for another.