Taking on my first Aluminium project

Looking to do a V carve in aluminium and i’m wondering if there is a V bit people have found better than the rest at cutting aluminium?


I can’t point you to a specific bit, but my experience with V-carving aluminium is to use coolant. WD40 or real coolant doesn’t matter, but cutting dry will easily snap off the tip.

I use either a Whiteside 1540 or 1541 bit (see Amazon) with no coolant

Used to use alcohol as a coolant, but determined that it doesn’t really make a difference for me.

I’ve done quite a few projects in 6061 aluminum and I think the key setting for me is to use very shallow passes. (.005 inch)

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that’s not true you only need to make sure you have a two flute end mill your not cutting steel so you don’t require any sort of coolant because if there’s any heat it disburses throughout the work piece and with the two flute there should be little to no heat

oh snap I used the word coolant but I meant lubricant. Basically the same thing but you are right I was not talking about heat as a problem. In my case when cutting dry it started rubbing more than it did cutting with ugly edges as a result. And broken bits too.

Maybe I did something wrong but I do know out of experience that some WD-40 is making the whole process a lot more forgiving.

It’s not so much to cool the bit as it is to keep the aluminum from galling up the bit. That certainly does happen. I think I remember reading lubricant on aluminum reduces loads something like 60% on the bit.

if your using the right bit it will not gull up on you say any two flute end mill especial a tin coated one another thing crank your spindle up as high as you can about 30,000 rpm is good enough you will get very nice results also try the single flute end mills , if your using a four flute end mill it will do that to you so the less flutes the better.

I keep reading all these posts about these outrageous speeds, are you familiar with chip rate? You can certainly mill aluminum using a TiAN bit without coolant, as long as your chiprate is dialed in correct, with a high enough surface speed. But at 30k rpm you would have to be running a 160in/min feedrate to keep the chiprate correct, and I know that isn’t happening.

If you’re staying within proper chiprate, your settings would be something like .005" DOC, 35in/min federate, 8,750rpm (Setting 1 on Makita 0701C, not possible on Dewalt 611). This is why people buy the Makita spindle over the Dewalt, so you can actually dial in a proper chip rate. If you’re using a Dewalt, you can’t really ever get into a proper chip rate at all, so you’re forced to use coolant/lubricant as to not overheat the bit/cause galling.

AllenMassey made a great feedrate calculator for both the Makita and DeWalt for this.

So, to summarize, unless you’re using a Makita spindle, you need to be using lubricant with the DeWalt spindle, because you’re not in a proper chip rate. Please, correct me if I’m wrong about any of this, I welcome discussion on it.

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Don’t forget he’s talking about V-carving, not flat endmills. :wink:

Anyhow we’re in here discussing but is the OP reading this?


I’ve v carved all those and it’s with the 90 vbit from inventables. I have to get some more since I’ve been milling a lot of aluminum now. I have to try some other brands to see how they work but I’ve been happy with what I’ve been getting out of the engravings. Speeds I will go around 600-1000 mm and up depending what the design is and how it sounding. The doc is small so it’s not trying to hog out a lot and my step over I will change to give it a better finish but I sandblast everything after to make everything smooth since the milling marks are small and smooth out once sandblasted. Then I just powder coat and paint the engravings.


that’s a good point, if he’s talking about vcarving that obviously changes things as well. Also, if you’re using a smaller endmill with more flutes, you can fall back into a good chip rate with the Dewalt speeds as well, but at the speeds required I would think deflection would make it absolutely useless, but I could be wrong. I know my machine can’t run at that federate in aluminum.

That is true i never thought of it like that ive been building these machines with the makita because its better quality and a little quieter lol but it does cut aluminum like butter and the results are pretty good i also recommend all my customers to use the makita for one other reason vs the dewalt the makita is compatible with er11 collets

That you can use a drill mill which has a 60 or 90 degrees point