6061 Aluminum, Unsure About Plunge & Depth/Pass

Not my first time using the X-Carve but I’m essentially a beginner and know nothing, so I’m trying to learn on my own.

Trying to make a small gauge to measure something, milled out of 4.7mm 6061 aluminum. I’m using a 1/16" 2 flute bit, and using recommended surface speed and tool feeds for 6061 I’ve come to a feed rate of 224 IPM. This is with the Dewalt at it’s lowest speed for 16000 RPM.

I’m not quite sure how to work with the plunge rate and depth per pass though. This is all through Easel for now, I’ve yet to purchase any software. I’ve tried looking for ways to calculate it but for some reason I can’t find anything. Other users on other forums use different speeds and bits, so I can’t make a ballpark guess. I only have one bit this size as well, so I wouldn’t want to just “eyeball it” anyways.

If anyone could recommend a way for me to nail a safe and efficient plunge rate and depth per pass I would very much appreciate it. I’m sorry in advance if I’m doing some thing dumb. Thanks.

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I would highly discourage 224 ipm with a 1/16 bit unless your passes are finer than frog hair.
10ipm is my limit @.01doc. with a plunge of 5ipm
even if you can run a feed rate that high the machine vibrates too much and gives poor cuts. Don’t get me wrong i do cut prototype samples @140 ipm but the edges are ragged. steel is another story @140 ipm with shallow passed it does get a clean cut but i think it has to do with how the metal deflects the cut where aluminum is much softer and gets galled much easier.
Remember most documentation and recommendations for bits were meant for a cnc mill not a cnc router. There are limitations to a machine of this type but for almost every limitation there is a way around it.

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With aluminium and Easel, “go fast and shallow”
Another aspect to consider is the plunge rate, set that low. I usually run plunge at 3-6ipm.

With a 1/16" 2F bit I would try 25IPM @ 0.003" DOC and take it from there. If smooth I would increase feed rate in 25% increments from base point.

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Thanks for the replies guys. I guess my speeds are way fast. So I’m going 25 IPM, .003 DOC and plunge at 4 IPM. I’m using a 1/16" 2flute, what setting for the router would you guys recommend?

No need to go past Speed Setting 1 (16k rpm for the Dewalt)
I am at 10k myself (Makita)

Thanks. It seems to have a smooth finish but I’m getting tool chatter for some reason

Try to reduce feed rate, try 15ipm and see if there is any change?

Hm. There’s still a bit of chatter. I’ll have to troubleshoot it some more. Thanks though for speeds and feeds!

What would you use for a 1/16" bit?

Ok. Thanks. I’m going to cut that tin template tonight. I’ll post and let you know how it goes.

Used 20ips 1/16" bit and broke two of them. Tried a 1/8" bit and it sparked and looked like it might start a fire. It was like a mini fireworks show. I gave up with the tin since it was ruined anyway. It was just a test.

.002 doc

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Late to reply but are you using 20 IPS or IPM? that’s a huge difference

Also your surface may be heavily oxidized. in another post I made, I had some issues with chattering in the beginning but as the cut progressed it wasn’t as bad so for the whole time I dropped oil on the material and someone else did say that my surface might be really oxidized and/or not level.

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I have been using Fusion “Adaptive Clearing” high speed machining strategies for aluminum. With a sharp 1/8" high-helix 2F Kodiak, I am able to go 60ipm with a 10% engagement (.0125" WOC) @ 981f/min (30,000rpm, .001"ipt). It’s taking pretty small bites, but this is at .22" depth of cut and it’s making a proper chip (not creating dust) and it’s using the whole length of the end mill (not just the tip). Serious dust collection required because a (dull) tool loaded up one time. Check out the free HSM advisor from Autodesk (similar to Gwizard).

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Looking for hsm advisor, can’t seem to find it. Mind sharing a link? Thanks!

HSM Advisor


This is rather old but I tried aluminum again with a larger bit.
I followed your advice recently for the 1/4" bit since I didn’t have any reference to start from. How is the quality of your cuts when you use the 1/4" for aluminum?

I used the exact same settings and it deflected awfully, throwing the path almost 5mm off course, so I slowed it to 10ipm @ same DoC, and it still deflected pretty badly. Tried it at the DW611’s 1 and 4 dial for both settings. It chatters so badly I’m surprised the bit didn’t even break yet.

I’m new here and this post seems super relevant to what I am looking to do. I want to mill 1/8 and 1/4 inch aluminum 6061 or 5052 sheet metal. Honestly I don’t have any experience, but am willing to learn. The machine is a 50 x 50cm model has a Dewalt on it. It is located at my local library’s maker space. They are not sure if they will be allowing people to mill aluminum on it yet and presently they do not allow PCB boards at the moment. In any case I am thinking of using a 1/8 inch bit to cut out my parts. I can book the machine for hours so time should not be a factor as I just want to get it right the first time. Someone I was talking to spoke about contact and speed, said to try 20% contact on the bit and I can mill faster and cleaner. So I turn to the community here to help me out on these decisions.

I can’t help you with your request for help, but I can tell you you might have better luck posting this request in the the project category of this forum, where they say to post help requests. This category is where people post a tip or a trick to share with others. I hope your able to find what your looking for there ! Happy Carving !