Inventables Community Forum

Cutting Aluminum (yes another thread)

Hi Everyone,

I am a new x-carve owner. I love the thing, I quickly became enamored with it. I specifically bought it for cutting aluminum. I’ve cut wood and mdf and it’s great. Preparing to cut aluminum this weekend. I’ve been reading a lot on this forum about the subject, but can’t seem to find a solid answer. Tons of info on machining/milling aluminum but not much on actually cutting it. I just need to cut basic shapes on .190" and .063" aluminum. I am also quite confused on the kind of aluminum, i see a lot of references of 6061 but no mention of 3003. It appears that 3003 is much easier to machine/cut. Anyhow, the actual question I would like an answer to is if I need to do any mods on my x-carve to successfully cut these pieces?

Thank you in advanced!

I cut ¼" risers and stiffeners with my xcarve (belt and motors upgraded) for my xcarve. Worked just fine. Slow and easy. Also used the inventables single flute upcut bit for it.

Looking good! So would you recommend cutting aluminum with a stock x-carve?

It should do fine with a decent bit, shallow passes and slow speeds. Thats all i did just to make the stiffeners to cut a little bit harder the next time. Doesnt hurt to try it!

I cut hundreds of aluminum pieces on mine. Starting slow means .004 DOC but fast feeds of 30-50ipm. You should have no problem. Be patient. If there is a hole for a screw in the piece you are cutting, mill that FIRST. Then, put a screw in it so you can avoid using tabs. If it is a small piece you are cutting, cut it at the front left of your machine - close the corner as possible, and rigidity issues will be minimized. I used a compressed air nozzle to clear chips and that helps too. Stick with two or less flutes. If you are doing lots of cutting, consider a Destiny Viper 2 Flute bit - they cut nicely and last a long, long time. If you can’t clear chips with an air compressor or mister, you can shoot a little WD-40 from time to time, but you will need a spoil board for your spoil board. It’s messy! All of prototypes were created on the X-Carve! (until 8/2017 when the Tormach arrived).

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Hi Mike,

I’m also carving 6061 aluminium with the X-Carve/Dewalt 611 without any mods. I have to say I also just started using aluminum so I have been quite careful (not to say scared hahah). I’m setting up the Dewalt Router to 5 or around 24000 RPMs.

I´m using a 1/8" flat end flute Bit, that according to the manufacturer is made for aluminum. The only thing I find a little bit hard is the time it takes to carve, since the cut depth per pass is 0.01 mm or 0.002 in. I’m also using WD-40 from time to time, and the machine don´t seem to loose steps! Pretty exciting!

Here is the result of my first trial:

@AaronMarion Would you be willing to share the file for the stiffeners and risers?