February 1, 2019

Searching for End Mill Cutting Tools

End mills are available in a wide range of geometries and types, making it a preferred cutting tool for everyday milling applications. This rotating, multi-edge cutting tool is typically used to make non-axially symmetric features along the workpiece as well as holes, slots, pockets and contours. An end mill is a cylindrical cutting tool, resembling a giant drill bit, that’s secured by a tool holder. End mill cutting tools can perform an array of operations on either flat or irregular surfaces.

End mill tools for sale today feature both drilling and cutting capabilities for up to 5 axes of motion. The workpiece itself moves and makes contact with the stationary milling tool, removing material along the object’s toolpath. In CNC milling operations, CAM programmers are tasked with searching for end mill tooling in order to create complex and incredibly precise shapes. It requires tool selection based on a balance of machine performance, tooling geometry, workpiece material and other considerations.

There are numerous end mill designs that can help machinists accomplish specific tasks that are necessary to produce the desired part. For example, square end mills can be employed to produce sharp edges at the bottom of pockets and slots. Roughing end mills feature a series of serrated teeth that remove heavy amounts of material, minimize vibration and create rough surface finishes. With ball end mills, you can create a radius at the bottom of pockets and slots.

End mills are also broken down according to center and non-center cutting. Center end mills feature cutting edges on both the helical sides of the tool as well as the tool’s tip/face, making them extremely useful for plunge milling. Non-center cutting end mills feature side edges only, making them useful for side milling applications.

Since end mills feature spiral shaped cutting edges, each tool is designed with a specific number of “flutes”. The flutes along an end mill tool provide a free path for metal chips to escape during machining. Having a greater amount of flutes on the tool allows for more cutting edges. However, as the flutes increase, the available path for chip escape becomes narrower. Flutes have a direct impact on the type of workpiece material involved, so be sure to choose carefully as chip carrying capacity and removal rates will vary. Harder materials require end mills with more flutes, softer materials warrant larger channel spacing in order to accommodate the evacuation of bigger chip sizes.

End mill tooling is also available in metals such as High Speed Steel (HSS), Cobalt and Solid Carbide. Each end mill material type offers varying levels of wear resistance, toughness, metal removal rate and more. The choice of end mill material also depends on the workpiece material and maximum spindle speed of the machine used to employ the tool.

In addition, coatings can be applied to end mill tools in order to increase surface hardness and optimize both cutting speed and performance life. For example, titanium carbonitride (TiCN) end mill tooling is designed for better wear resistance on difficult materials such as cast iron and stainless steel. Aluminum titanium nitride (AlTiN) end mills are popular for high speed and high temperature applications.

CAM programmers traditionally rely on manufacturer catalogs, websites and other sources to find the exact end mill tool for their job requirements. With so many tooling variables to search for and consider, tooling comparisons often become a time consuming component that affects their own workflow as well as overall shop floor efficiency. In addition, not only does their end mill tooling data need to be accurate for programming, but it also has to be up-to-date.

For end mill tooling choices, MachiningCloud provides on-demand access to a growing number of popular brands along with the latest and most precise CAM programming data possible. Users can review, select and assemble 3D tooling models of end mills from an array of manufacturers instantly. This includes cross referencing available tooling options with the desired cutting diameter, max cutting depth, number of flutes, workpiece material and more. From standard solid end mills to high-feed indexable milling tools, MachiningCloud puts tooling data to work for you, removing the time it takes to search for the end mill that they need in order to get the job done.

To search for end mill tooling across a wide range of tooling catalogs, download the MachiningCloud app and install to any desktop or tablet.

End Mills on MachiningCloud

1. In MachiningCloud Home, choose a default manufacturer catalog by selecting the active brand logo in the top right corner.

2. Choose a new manufacturer to set as the active catalog.

3. Select Solid End Mills from the active brand’s available tool categories.

4. Continue using the tool category selection or use the search filters on the right to narrow down the brand’s available end mill tools. There are an array of available search filters including corner radius (RƐ), number of flutes (Z), cutting diameter (D1) and approach angle (KRI).

5. Additional filtering will ultimately lead to your preferred product’s catalog page. Choose a tool and select Create New Tool Assembly.

6. Review, edit, download and/or continue to add additional components to the end mill assembly. When completed, select Add To in order to save the final assembly to your Job list.

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