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Machining soft aluminum, 6061-O

Machining soft aluminum, 6061-O

Machining soft aluminum, 6061-O

Are there any recommendations on how to machine soft aluminum without lubricant, specifically 6061-O? What are the recommended methods?

Found this post, but it's from 10 years ago, and maybe the cutting tool technology has changed since then: https://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/cnc-machinin...

Would PCD tools be the way to go still?

RE: Machining soft aluminum, 6061-O

I frequently use a CNC router on 6061. I have no way to use coolant with its wooden deck. I use TiAlN coated mills at 21,000RPM and wax. I've never had a problem.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Machining soft aluminum, 6061-O

Compressed air and wax solution directed right on the cutter from at least two directions , with 6061-0 this stuff is like machining lead, you have to keep the cutter sharp and clean. The minute the metal builds on the cutter, it is all over bar the shouting. I find that a relatively high cutter speed with a low feed rate works well. The feeds and speeds will depend a lot on your machine. Good luck with this.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Machining soft aluminum, 6061-O

High rpm is not your friend with gummy aluminum. High rpm means heat and lots of friction, sorry but sometimes you have to cut aluminum like its a chunk of hard steel and using high speed steel cutting tools. I'm from the days of no carbide end mills and only cemented carbide face mills.

RE: Machining soft aluminum, 6061-O

freeze it first

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RE: Machining soft aluminum, 6061-O

You need a machine with LFV technology (Citizen) which allows chipping of any material.

I have a Citizen L32 with it on and is a godsend on problematic materials.


RE: Machining soft aluminum, 6061-O

Dry machining is not easy with 6060.

Milling should work dry, but you should not make big steps so that the chip spaces do not stick together.

Drilling will probably only work with chip breakers or very small excavations.

Cut threads dry or form threads; you can forget that. Perhaps thread milling would be an option.

Turning only with PCD tools, little infeed and high feed.

All in all, if it is somehow feasible, I would prefer cooling.

Greetings from Germany

RE: Machining soft aluminum, 6061-O

We a saw wax o our carbide table saw blade and the radial arm carbide blade for cutting all aluminum. The router carbide gets it too. The router we make roughigbcuts then do a climb cut finishing. This leaves a nice smooth finish. The saw wax is like a beeswax. It melts slightly as the material and cutter warms up. It coats the tool like oil on water so it lasts quite a while. Mainly you have to watch for cutter clearance getting clogged up. The circular blades have to br cleaned carefully with a needle nose pliers.

RE: Machining soft aluminum, 6061-O

I’d use paraffin as a lube and polished carbide inserts

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