How to Find the End Mill for Your Precision Cutting Job

Aluminum cutters

When you’re working on any major project that involves cutting material, it’s crucial to have the right precision cutting tools.

End mills are often used for industrial milling projects and can perform profile milling, face milling, tracer milling and plunging. The distinguishing feature of end mill cutters is the bit, which can cut in all directions, where most drill bits only cut in axial directions.

There are many different types of milling tools. Some can cut in a plunging manner and some can’t, and others are categorized by different materials, coating, and numbers of flutes. They’re also distinguished by different cutting diameters.

Different bits can be used in end cutters, including but not limited to ball end mill cutters, face mill cutters, and square end cutters. Each of these precision cutting tools is also categorized by their intended function and their four critical angles.

There are a variety of materials used for precision cutting tools. Most are made from standard high-end steel, but Cobalt is often used for tougher applications. Cobalt mills are usually more expensive and have higher feed rates.

Carbide is stiffer and can operate at higher speeds. The material can be brittle, so carbide bits are best suited to newer milling machines without a lot of chatter or vibration. They cost even more than cobalt end mills, but they can run at much higher speeds.

There are other materials and they should all be handled carefully especially when being stored. Each bit should be dipped in a protective coating or put in a tube protector to extend the life of the material.

Coatings also increase the surface hardness of your end mill cutting tool, increasing your cutting and feed speed and making each tool last longer. Coatings can be made of materials like titanium carbonitride, black oxide, titanium nitrade or aluminum titanium nitride.

Consider what precision cutting tools will best suit your milling needs before you invest in bits and coating.
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