What's a good basic end mill assortment kit?

Discussion about Tooling and Fixtures. End Mills, Router Bits, Hold Downs, Fixtures, Etc.
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Athaidesign
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What's a good basic end mill assortment kit?

Post by Athaidesign » Sun Sep 27, 2015 1:14 am

Hello everyone,

New to machining here not new to CAD. I have my SO3 all assembled and ready to get started playing and was wondering what a good assortment of end mills would be. The machine will be used mostly for milling aluminum and sometimes for wood engraving signs. I'm aware that carbide bits are better for aluminum, but not really sure what a decent range of bits I would need to get started. My only thought for now was to buy all the available ones on the carbide3d website.

There are hundreds of different sizes available, is there some sort of standard that most machinest prefer to have in their collection?

What are good websites/sources to get bits from? (I'm only aware of Lakeshore)

What about jaws and clamping? Any recommendations here?

I appreciate any feedback you guys can help with

WillAdams
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Re: What's a good basic end mill assortment kit?

Post by WillAdams » Sun Sep 27, 2015 1:26 am

The advice on the end mills page is to just start w/ a set of 1/8" straight and to get additional ones as one's work requires them.
http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Endmills

We list vendors here:
http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/ ... #End_mills

My suggestion would be to find a local shop.

clamping: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Workholding
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
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Brian Stone
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Re: What's a good basic end mill assortment kit?

Post by Brian Stone » Sun Sep 27, 2015 1:48 am

I can't say much else that Will already has. You'll probably find everything you need on the Wiki following the link Will posted. If you're in North America, a lot of people strongly recommend Drillman1 on Ebay. I tend to buy a lot of stuff off of Amazon Prime since I've gotten used to the speed of service.

Here are most of the bits that I've been using lately. I've been doing relief engraving on relatively small parts, so the thin ball end mills come in handy. You might not need all of these, depending upon what you're doing. I tend to use my 1/8" mills the most these days. I've also been using 45-degree and 60-degree v-bits for chamfer engraving, not shown here.

I'm cutting mostly wood, but all of these bits are suitable for 6061 aluminum and other easily machinable alloys and metals.

From left to right...
1/16" ball mill 4-flute end mill 0.5" cutting length (Richard's MicroTools 3-0625B)
1/8" ball mill 4-flute 0.75" cutting length (Niagara Cutter CB430)
1/8" flat mill 4-flute 0.5" cutting length (SWT H140)
1/16" tapered ball mill 4-flute 1" cutting length (Precisebits CM404-0625-100B)
1/4" flat mill 2-flute 0.75" cutting length (Kodiak Cutting Tools 137388)
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Athaidesign
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Re: What's a good basic end mill assortment kit?

Post by Athaidesign » Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:25 pm

Awesome,

thanks guys I will look into those. I didn't know there was a wiki, I'll start diving into there for all my research.

samc99us
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Re: What's a good basic end mill assortment kit?

Post by samc99us » Tue Jan 19, 2016 6:01 pm

Secret 1: Buy the lowest flute count end mills you can source in the format for your application. You are already spinning a minimum of 16,000 RPM, and switching from a 2 flute cutter to a 4 flute cutter is effectively switching from 16,000 RPM to 32,000 RPM spindle speed. Not good because our machines aren't stiff enough to feed fast enough to match that spindle speed! So, stick with single and two-flute cutters where possible!

For what I do, my favorite combination tends to be a 1/4" x 0.060 corner radius 4-flute bull-nose end mill (I just noticed they now have a 2 flute version) for the roughing pass followed by a 1/8" 2 flute ball-nose end mill. Both sourced at lakeshore carbide, who have recently added ZrN coated tools for aluminum to their lineup.

Inventables sells a decent starter pack, but I recommend sticking with 1/4" tooling for your first cuts as they don't break-I have a pile of broken 1/8" tooling!

McMaster is another good source for tooling, as is MSCDirect.
Modified Shapeoko 2: 1500mm fully supported y-axis, 1000 mm 4060 x-axis, ACME Belt Drive Z-axis, Dewalt DNP611, full aluminum t-slot table, 4x NEMA23 180 oz/in stepper motors driven by a G540

CrazyBillybob
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Re: What's a good basic end mill assortment kit?

Post by CrazyBillybob » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:16 am

+1 on Drillman1 on ebay.
+1 on the 2 flute mills

I found that I have a place for a 1/32 flat end mill when making signs it cleans up the profiles and can get back into the corners to make the letters easier to read. What I did to start was buy a couple of each of the basic sizes my spindle could handle. Then see what I used more often. Then as my budget increases or project dictates I add more specialized or different size /type end mills. Places like Enco, or MSC have sales on end mills every now and then. Drillman1 has different things sale all the time. McMaster carr are more expensive then the others but they always have them and they ship fast (one of the distrib centers is near me so it's next day for ground prices if I just have to have it now!... but I pay a premium for that)
Carbie 3d is cheaper than McMaster carr.

I know some folks have had some issues with broken 1/8" tooling. I'm still using it till I get around to upgrading my bed (stock Shapeoko2 now) Only cutter I broke was when I moved my shapeoko 30 miles and forgot to take the bit out. Start slow then speed up till you get a feel for the material (plastics crank that spindle speed to 11 and start there)

That's my $0.02 worth.
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madhatter
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Re: What's a good basic end mill assortment kit?

Post by madhatter » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:26 am

I must run my ShapeOko very conservatively, because I rarely use anything larger than 0.125" except for cutting out the project from the waste, and I have only broken small bits (0.031", 0.0236", 0.0150") when cutting plastic. I tend to run 0.125" bits for "large" areas I need to mill, then follow up with either an 0.031" or 0.0236" bit to clean up the corners like CrazyBillybob.

Also, another +1 for DrillMan1 on Ebay.
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samc99us
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Re: What's a good basic end mill assortment kit?

Post by samc99us » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:40 pm

There is a time and place for every tool. I have broken several 1/8" end mills, generally during alignment and mistakes like driving my z-axis too far, or switching between bottom alignment and top alignment in CAM and having the tool accidently plunge through 1" of stock...it's bad for the machine so avoid at all costs and double check your zero!!

Throwing out that MSC is having a sale on tooling, 35% off today, code CTB35H. That's a pretty darn good deal and I should have slapped more onto my order. As is it saved me $20 on one end mill (5 degree tapered end mill).
Modified Shapeoko 2: 1500mm fully supported y-axis, 1000 mm 4060 x-axis, ACME Belt Drive Z-axis, Dewalt DNP611, full aluminum t-slot table, 4x NEMA23 180 oz/in stepper motors driven by a G540

_Us3rnam3
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Re: What's a good basic end mill assortment kit?

Post by _Us3rnam3 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:09 am

As the others have said, Drillman1 on Ebay is a GREAT source.

Starting out I would highly recommend this set. It is a reasonable price, $38.45 with shipping, and a good assortment of sizes to play with.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/MICRO-MACHINING ... ZKWEiFJerQ
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cvoinescu
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Re: What's a good basic end mill assortment kit?

Post by cvoinescu » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:56 pm

I will second your endorsement of Drillman1, but I disagree that that selection of endmills is useful as a basic starter kit. The four endmills on the left are too thin for most typical uses, and they're very long and delicate. If you really need a thin endmill for things like text engraving, consider a stub endmill instead. The middle two endmills are about the smallest I would consider for general use.

Personally, I would rather buy at least five 2-flute 1/8" straight endmills, two 2-flute 1/8" ball end endmills, and two smaller straight endmills (say 2 mm or so). Expanding on that, I would add a stub 1 mm or 0.8 mm straight endmill, and possibly a small stub ball end too. Depending on projects and spindle, I would also consider 1/4" endmills (straight and ball end). I might also include V-carving bits (say 30 and 60 degrees) in a starter kit, but anything beyond that would not be "basic" anymore.
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