Milling machines are becoming one of the most essential tools in the creation of custom components. These computer guided cutting machines rely on specially designed end mill cutters. Because every cutter is designed to perform a specific function, there is a lot to consider when you are looking at end mills for sale. Not all cutting tools are created equal and knowing what to look for can help ensure that your shop is not going to have to deal with tools that quickly wear out and break.
Milling machines can be used to work on almost any material from soft wood to hard stainless steel alloys. Obviously the material that you will be working with is going to inform your tool choice. Steel tools, including tools made from high speed steel alloy, are great for working with softer materials. If you want to cut into metals like aluminum and steel, you are going to need a tool that can handle the high speeds and temperatures involved.
Solid carbide end mills are the gold standard when it comes to high performance milling. These tools are made using a combination of powdered carbide ceramic and cobalt metal as a binding material. The resulting tools have the strength of a metallic tool, but the amazing hardness and edge retention of a ceramic. Unlike solid metal tools, carbide tools will hold their edge even at extreme temperatures. This means that you can operate at higher speeds and feeds without sacrificing tool life.
Now carbide end mills are all well and good, but not all end mills are created equal. Sadly, you cannot tell the quality of your carbide tool stock with the naked eye. Instead, you will have to trust your manufacturer. This becomes a problem when shops order their cutters from overseas brands. You can often get an amazing deal on these tools, but that deal comes with a cost. Cheap “carbide” tools are often low quality carbide or they are simply carbide coated instead of being made from solid carbide stock.
Ordering your tools from an American manufacturer can help avoid the headaches that come with tools that break suddenly or die quickly. Well made carbide end mills should be able to outlast steel end mills while staying sharp. In order to ensure that their tools will last, many manufacturers will use a protective coating like titanium aluminum nitride that will help provide an extra layer of protection against heat fatigue.
Once you know that you are buying from a quality manufacturer, you need to find the tool that will fit the task you need to accomplish. Square end and ball end cutters are probably the most common tools for traditional side milling material removal applications. If you need to complete something more specific, there are plenty of options on the market.
Thread mills can complete the work of traditional thread taps in seconds while a chamfering tool can help ensure that all of the sharp edges on your workpiece have been smoothed and deburred. Knowing exactly what you need to accomplish when you start a project can help inform which tools you will need to purchase.
To find a large selection of high quality American made end mills for sale, visit Online Carbide. Their team uses advanced CNC grinders and high quality carbide stock to produce milling cutters that are built to last. If you have any questions about their tools, you can reach out to a member of their team by calling 630-238-1424 or sending an email to [email protected]