Cutting Aluminum Sheet

I tryed cutting aluminum but it came out less than wonderful. I cut down the rate of cutting down by half. Still jittery and did not cut to the depth specified. I ordered a couple of new bits and they should be here tomorrow. Will try again. Am I wrong to assume that if can cut .125 that .250 cut is no problem.

I just cut this 1/2 plate from Amazon to make lift plates for the Y rails and had no problems, Just used the default settings in easel for Depth of Cut and Feed Rate. I also used the bit from Inventables. Cut very nice. I have upgraded to a one piece X axis but before with the two piece I cut some plasma torch holders out of 1/4 plate with no problems and very nice results.

You should not have any problems with the machine cutting aluminum if everything is tight and calibrated.

I have cooling- a mister setup spraying washer fluid. With a 2 flute 1/4" bit I can cut at 70" per minute with .01 passes. I slow it down to 35 inches a minute for my 1/8 single flute and drop to .008. And I can do 25-30 inches a minute with my 1/16" at .006" depth. All of these with my DW660 running wide open.

The MAIN thing I found is keeping the plunge rate slow.

Cutting .06" sheet with 1/8 single flute at 35 inches a minute:

The finished product:

Here is cutting at 35 inches a minute with a 1/16" two flute. 1/4" plate, I ended up slowing it down to 25IPM

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And BTW, my machine is a shapeoko 2 with NEMA 17’s…


I have 3d machined 1 inch bar stock using other peoples settings like above and all was fine and I mostly use carbide wood router bits.
It cuts steel to so far up to 3/8 its all just a matter of settings and some guess work

some steel

With the cooler I haven’t needed to slow it down. Actually broke an 1/8 bit running it too slow. But I keep my feed rates high.

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Great minds think alike I am gathering parts for something similar but instead of mdf on the inside I was going to hit up my bud who has some inch hdpe board and make a pallet for the inside.

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Would hate to spill or overflow on an mdf waste board #Warpage

Maybe wrapping the waste board with plastic first or a large empty tray for the water tray to sit in.

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True, but hdpe is pricey :frowning:

Dam that first piece is nice and shiny :slight_smile:

Just curious are the tool marks from using a large stepover?

Yeah over the bridge in nj. But I find great deals on cutting boards at the christmas tree store also

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Check out the site of a german guy who builds cnc machine from very basic materials. He has just installed a pumped cooling system using a car screen washer pump. His youtube name is HomoFaciens

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I always have toolmarks- but I always use 40% step over. I’d guess they are mostly from not having perfect tram and not using optimum cutting speeds.

A problem I had when cutting aluminum was doing deep profile cuts. It was probably due to runout, (the bit wobbling) the bit would hit the walls of the channel it was cutting, bind, dig in and either break or gouge the print.

The way I fixed this was to widen the channel to about 140% of the bit diameter (with a 40% step over so it would do it in 2 passes). So that there was just a bit of extra clearance for the bit. I did this by making an offset of the outer perimeter line of 40% of the bit, They cutting out the perimeter as a pocked operation (between the 2 lines) rather than as a profile cut.

If your going to be cutting allot of Al, I would recommend taking a look at Estlcam and the new version 10. I use trochodial milling. It solves many of the problems of cutting AL with a router.

Estlcam works with Xcarve? Does it work direct to Xcarve or create Gcode file and what post processor do you use. I use UGS