Metal cutting is one of CAMaster’s tabletop CNC routers’ greatest strengths. With spindles that operate at a much higher top speed than your average conventional milling machine, you can use the benchtop router to cut all kinds of non-ferrous metals.
Aside from milling speeds, there are also other factors to consider to protect your CNC metal cutter from potential damage while utilizing its full capabilities.
Factors That Impact Success During Metal Cutting with CNC Routers
Metal cutting in CNC is similar to any other CNC milling operation. Despite the similarities, there are still various elements to incorporate into your milling operations to ensure clean cuts while working with metal. These include the following:
One of the first and most important factors to consider is the machine’s rigidity. Before anything else, you must ensure that your intended CNC metal cutter has a rigid chassis and is capable of meeting metal cutting demands.
For example, CAMasters Stinger I CNC Router is one of the most robust tabletop CNC routers on the market today. With its rigid body and user-friendly design, it’s capable of delivering strong, precise cutting forces that are perfect for any production environment while meeting your budget requirements.
Firm Clamping on the CNC Router Table For Metal
Aside from machine rigidity, workpieces must also be secured in place to avoid displacement from the CNC router table for metal cutting and ensure machine accuracy while applying cutting force. To this end, clamps can be used to hold the metal workpieces firmly in place during metal-cutting operations.
Some of the most common clamping techniques used in different workshops include:
- Toggle clamps
- Eccentric clamps
- Vacuum clamps
- Cam clamps
The Right Cutting Tool
The entire CNC machining process involves numerous parameters, including feed rate, cutting speed, cutting depth, and chip load, among many others. In all of these parameters, the choice of cutting tool may directly or indirectly play a significant role.
Essentially, you need the proper cutting that is durable enough to cut the intended material, in this case, metal, without snapping. In metal cutting, the recommended cutting tool is a carbide end mill. It’s capable of providing the required strength to deliver a strong cutting force with minimal wear.
On a similar note, the number of flutes on the cutting tool will also have a direct impact on the cutting process. Lower flute counts are typically used on softer metals like aluminum as it allows the faster clearance of chips. On the other hand, higher flute counts have more cutting power but with less chip clearance and are used in milling harder metals like steel.
Using an Adaptive Tool Path
The CNC machining process is a physically demanding process that involves contact between the cutting tool rotating at high speeds and the metal workpiece. This usually results in a high impact that can end up damaging the workpiece or the cutting tool.
In order to reduce this impact, CNC experts recommend using an adaptive or ramp toolpath, which eases the application of force while increasing the depth of the cut, reducing the overall impact load while extending the tool life in the process.
Cutting Fluid For Added Cooling
The contact between the cutting tool rotating at very high speeds and the metal workpiece involves a high amount of friction that generates extreme amounts of heat. In some cases, the heat generated during this process is high enough to melt the two pieces of metal and weld them together.
In order to keep this from happening, experts recommended using cutting fluid during the process, which acts as a coolant and prevents the overheating of the cutting tool and the workpiece.
The cutting fluid also acts as a lubricant, reducing the amount of friction during cutting and, in turn, the amount of heat generated during the entire process.
Helpful Reminders When Cutting Metal
- The ideal bracket for metals’ optimum speeds and feeds is much smaller than that of wood. If you don’t stay within this optimum bracket, your cutters will begin to wear out much quicker or break frequently, and your surface finish will be low quality.
- Some metals, such as aluminum, have a tendency to stick to the cutting tools. The build-up of aluminum deposits on the edges of cutting tools results in the bit welding itself to the metal. In order to cut successfully with aluminum, you should:
- Use a feed and speed calculator.
- Use carbide-coated bits.
- Clean chips and deposits regularly and thoroughly.
- Make more passes at shallower depths to make cleaning easier.
- Use fewer flutes and increase the cut width.
- Don’t reduce the speed rate too much.
- Use a mist to lubricate to help prevent chips from sticking to the cutting edges.
Improve Your CNC Machining Capabilities with Robust Tabletop CNC Routers From CAMaster
Our team at CAMaster is dedicated to improving your workshop’s CNC productivity and efficiency. Armed with a vast knowledge base and extensive experience in CNC machining, our team is fully committed to sharing our experiences and expertise with you to help you get the most from your CNC router. Call us today to find out more about our CNC machines.