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Metalworking (rec.crafts.metalworking) Discuss various aspects of working with metal, such as machining, welding, metal joining, screwing, casting, hardening/tempering, blacksmithing/forging, spinning and hammer work, sheet metal work.

End Mills -- 2-Flute vs. 4-Flute?

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Old March 1st 05, 10:11 PM
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Sure you do. In that 2 flute gives more chip clearance, and in
aluminum you can take a thicker chip and a higher sfm than you can in


Grant Erwin wrote:

I don't buy the steel/aluminum answer, sorry.


Old March 2nd 05, 05:21 AM
Harold and Susan Vordos
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"Jon Elson" wrote in message

Without having to buy $60 Ski-Carb end mills, I generally use small
4-flute end mills in aluminum, as you get twice as many cutting edges
per revolution.

But at the cost of less chip clearance. You generally can't run the table
feed fast enough to load the cutter well with two flutes, so 4 really serve
no purpose, and the minimal clearance you spoke of make using them a real
PITA. Lots of flute loading if you run at respectable speeds, and smearing
at the cutting edge. Avoid using 4 flute end mills in aluminum when

Today, practically all 4-flute cutters are center-cutting, too. Also,
don't forget the 3-flute cutters. They are a nice compromise. You can
even get 1-flute cutters!


But if you're serious about machining aluminum specify aluminum cutters, as
Jon already advised. The clearances are way different so they perform heads
and shoulders better. Aluminum cutting end mills are often so marked on
the shank. Don't use them for steel. They'll cut, but the slender edges
can't cool very fast and quickly burn.


Old March 2nd 05, 05:26 AM
Harold and Susan Vordos
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"Steve Lusardi" wrote in message
The previous responses were general, but not absolute. You can use 2 flute
on steel and there are 4 flute end mills that plunge. It is all about chip
clearance really.

Nope. It's about relief angles, which are the real limiting factors if you
expect good tool life and good cutting performance. Chip clearance is not to
be ignored, however. Properly ground 4 flute end mills applied to aluminum
would likely suffer from chip clearance problems with considerable loading
of the flutes, often leading to broken end mills.


Old March 2nd 05, 05:29 AM
Harold and Susan Vordos
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"Proctologically Violated©®" wrote in message
You can also get better finishes w/ a 4 flute, as you are getting more

per rotation.

Depends on the job at hand. Often you are better off with fewer flutes so
you can eject the chips----nothing is cut and dried when machining with end
mills----each job may have a different requirement. That's why there's such
a large variety of configurations.


Old March 2nd 05, 05:30 AM
Harold and Susan Vordos
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"Daniel A. Mitchell" wrote in message

2-flute cutters are also better for slotting to size (especially in thin
materials) in one pass. Side deflection of the cutter still occurs, but
it doesn't widen the cut as it does with 4-flute cutters ... think about

Yep! Special short 2 flute end mills are made expressly for cutting


Old March 2nd 05, 05:33 AM
Harold and Susan Vordos
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"Grant Erwin" wrote in message

You will when you're faced with a serious application. Don't think so?
Try using a 4 flute half inch end mill taking a serious cut (full width and
half inch depth) on some ½" 6061-T6 aluminum plate, high spindle speed
(4,000 RPM) and fast feed. Then lets talk.



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