1/4" Aluminum

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jbc
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1/4" Aluminum

Post by jbc » Sun Aug 23, 2015 5:57 pm

Anyone cutting 1/4" aluminum sheets with the Shapeoko 3?
I need a CNC router to cut parts. Most often I plan on cutting out the outline of the part and drilling holes where I need them.

I have a 3D printer and use that for a lot of my prototyping but now need to make some parts in aluminum and would like to know just how much trial and error I can expect cutting aluminum.
And is the Shapeoko 3 a good choice?

Most parts I will be making will get close to the size of the cutting area the Shapeoko 3 has so using a smaller machine like the Nomad wouldn't work....aside from the cost being higher than what I want to pay entering into this arena.

If you cut 1/4" aluminum sheeting can you show some videos (not much out there on youtube when looking for shapeoko 3) and let me know what to expect for a learning curve when cutting aluminum.

Thanks.
jbc
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WillAdams
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Re: 1/4" Aluminum

Post by WillAdams » Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:00 pm

What we have should be on the wiki: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/ ... #Aluminium

ISTR Edward posting a video of cutting 1/2" stock as well (check the SO3 page?).
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Fablicator
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Re: 1/4" Aluminum

Post by Fablicator » Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:41 pm

Before I forget to mention this, the wiki on materials and feeds/speeds is pretty confusing since S02 and 3 have different capabilities and the feeds/speeds listed usually aren't clear about the machine. Also, the vast majority listed are for the SO2 and its hard to see where values need to be added for SO3.

I feel like there need to be separate pages or charts for the SO2 and 3 as it currently leads to a lot of confusion (especially for anyone unfamiliar with the wiki)

jbc
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Re: 1/4" Aluminum

Post by jbc » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:41 pm

Their aren't many user videos of the Shapeoko 3 out there.
I know its only been out for a little while. There are a few videos out there but only one page (when searched on Google) of 'Shapeoko 3' before 'Shapeoko 2' takes over....and I was hoping some flexing their muscle with shots of aluminum being cut.

The wiki has a lot of good information but out in the wild there seems to be a lack of user's showing off their stuff.

If any of you with the SO3 have videos of aluminum being cut please post them. I think there are many who like to see it in action.
Thanks.
jbc
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Fablicator
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Re: 1/4" Aluminum

Post by Fablicator » Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:47 pm

I got mine completely for aluminum. I'll be posing everything I learn as soon as I get mine.

I'm extremely confident it will work well at this point.

JeromyReno
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Re: 1/4" Aluminum

Post by JeromyReno » Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:57 pm

Image
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I do mostly aluminum. it works great for it. there is a learning curve and a lot of trial and error, but once you get some good feeds and speeds it's pretty straight forward. if I am using less than a 1/4 carbide bit I have to have an air/coolant or oil spray on the bit. it's probably still good to use it with the 1/4 bits to though. so I guess it's no different than using a standard mill like a Bridgeport. the accuracy is stellar with aluminum. most of the stuff I cut is at 10 inches per minute or less so it would be very boring to watch a video of it.

jbc
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Re: 1/4" Aluminum

Post by jbc » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:32 pm

Thanks Fablicator and JeromyReno.

Jeromy -you fabricated the piece in the first picture and then bent it at 90° right?

What do you guys think about the Shapeoko 3 for this part (1/4" sheet).
Thin Mount.JPG
Thin Mount.JPG (51.19 KiB) Viewed 1020 times
Ignore corners. I know the bit can't make the interior corners.
I am more concerned with the curved surfaces.

Would this be a tough piece for the Shapeoko 3 for a novice? I'll need to make 6. I'm expect the 6th one to be the best one lol.
(the undercut on the bottom side will be taken out when made on a CNC machine. This prototype was designed for my 3D printer)

jbc
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JeromyReno
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Re: 1/4" Aluminum

Post by JeromyReno » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:56 pm

I would think this is totally do able. the 6th one would be great haha. that part was machined in two steps out of 1 x 1 angle. the accuracy of these machines will really blow you away. you would have to be very good at your cam program though, I find that the better I get at cam the more possibilities I have. finding the right speeds and amount of step over for the finish you want is where the learning curve is.

jbc
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Re: 1/4" Aluminum

Post by jbc » Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:04 am

How would you rank cam programs for a beginner?
I know of meshcam.
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TomDChi
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Re: 1/4" Aluminum

Post by TomDChi » Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:10 am

JeromyReno wrote:most of the stuff I cut is at 10 inches per minute or less so it would be very boring to watch a video of it.
Personally, I'd watch and probably learn from it! From all the standard stuff I've been reading about milling metal, I got the impression that you needed to be cutting chips of some minimum thickness, or else the cutting edge would just rub and heat up/soften the material without really cutting it. With the minimum RPM of the DW611 (16,000 rpm) and 10 inch per minute feed, you're well less than a 1 mil chip, which is much lower than anything I've seen recommended in manufacturers' feeds and speeds charts. But obviously, it's working!

Are you using a single flute end mill? Coated?

Regarding "coolant"/lubricant, what system/fluid are you using? Did you experiment at all with applying stuff as you go - i.e. spritzing a little WD40 or Tap Magic as things move along. Or did you go straight to a mist/spray system?

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