Metalworking End Mills
End mills are types of cutting tools used for working with metal. These cutters can come in a number of flutes, carbide materials, and drill purposes. End mills are used for cutting many types of materials, in a wide variety of applications.
What tools do you use for metalworking?
Metalworking refers to the action of working with various metals to create things like large-scale structures, assemblies, or individual parts. It is a broad term that includes a wide range of tools, high speed and low speed processes, and various skills.
The tools you use when working with metal depend on the type of work you are doing. There are a wide range of tools for bulk forming processes, speed cutting processes, milling or cutting carbides, threading, turning, grinding, and joining processes.
How are end mills used?
End mills are cutting tools that used for industrial milling applications. End mills are a type of milling cutter that are used for many different purposes, like tracer milling, face milling, profile milling, and plunging. More accurately, an end mill is used for making (or cutting) precision holes and shapes on a milling/turning machine.
Since end mills are designed to do many jobs, there are many types within the end mill category. Some end mills are cutting tools meant for small face areas, while others can drill and finish the inside or outside on a part. They can come in a variety of styles and materials as well.
These end mills or cutters are made on computer numeric controlled (CNC) cutter grinder machines. CNCs make cutters at high speeds, under a high-pressure lubricant like high-flashpoint oil, water-soluble oil, or water. The CNC machine contains abrasive wheels that are mounted on a spindle that grind and cut to produce end mills. Depending on what type of end mill you are producing, CNC machines can be made with diamond, carbides, cubic boron nitride, ceramics, or copper.
What are the different types of end mills?
There are many broader categories that end mill cutting tools encompass, but one large categorization is whether the cutting tool is a center-cutter or a non-center cutter. You can also find end mills categorized by material and by number of flutes. Cutters can also be divided by their specific application or geometry. Flutes are the spiral cutting edge on end mills. While 2- and 4-flute cutters are the widest used, there are also cutters with four, five, or six flutes. Lower-numbered flutes are used for more general cutting applications, while high-numbered flutes are designed for cutters that improve surface finish. Each flute has a purpose.
Each type of cutter has its own purpose, and is usually designed for cutting specific materials. For instance, you need a cutter with high rake angles, sharp cutting edgings, and deep, polished flutes when milling materials like aluminum. If you are cutting a tougher material like stainless steel, you'll need a cutter with shallow flutes and squared edges.
These cutters can be made of many types of materials. You can find cutters made of carbide, high speed steel, ceramic, and even diamond. You can also find various coatings (like carbide) featured on the design of these cutters to help reduce wear.