View Full Version : Routing or cutting aluminium

Fri 03 October 2008, 22:11
What is best router bit on the market? I need one that can cut aircraft grade aluminum or forged magnesium. I ask because I want to make CNC forged sportbike parts.

Sat 04 October 2008, 10:25
JR cut some aluminum for his belt drives. Check out his thread perhaps.


Tue 07 October 2008, 07:04
Hey Max,

I'm all ears on the aluminum cutting info. We have our Mech up and running with a 6' X 20' cutting area. We've built some plasma cut aluminum boats but hope to do our own cutting with router. We're running a 5 Hp Colombo. Can you make any bit/feedrate/speed suggestions for 5052, 5083, 5056 sheet from 3mm to 6mm?


Tue 07 October 2008, 07:45
Hi Chuck.

We cut alu all day on our 2 MultiCAM machines.

We use a 2 flute "quick spiral" full carbide cutting bit, Spinnnig at between 11000 and 14500RPM. Feed rate on a 6mm dia cutter will be about 20 -25 mm per second.

BUT here is the big secret.

Use a mixture of 90% illuminating parrafin and 10% Castrol Sultex 'D' oil sprayed on with a Coolant mister ( we use a NOGA mister).

The idea is to get the chips that fly off the cutter to be as hot and as BIG as possible this gets keeps the tool cool as it is not rubbing against the material at all.

We also cut large boat kits form ali in all thickness and we have found that a 6mm (1/4") cutter to be the best trade off between speed and detail work for slots and grooves. With our 5.5KW spindle machine we cut up to 3mm ali one pass . and usally cut in 3mm (half the cutter diameter) passes.

As i said the mister is probably the most important aspect of this..

Gerald D
Tue 07 October 2008, 12:18
Use a mixture of 90% illuminating parrafin and 10% Castrol Sultex 'D' oil sprayed ..

Translated to "American":
Use a mixture of 90% kerosene and 10% Chevron/Texaco Sultex 'D' oil sprayed ..

Tue 07 October 2008, 19:58
Ah yes, "illuminating paraffin", here I was thinking it had to come from a priest!

Maxman, thanks for the tips. I'm going to need to look into that mister setup. We've sawn many tons of alum extrusions, always used wax on our tools which is basically paraffin. The router cutting experience is a new one for us and it sounds like you've been at it for awhile.

Onsrud is pushing a "zero flute" bit for alloy, claiming as long as you cool it with an air blast the lube can be dispensed with. I'm skeptical about that but may give it a try just to see. Biggest downside for us with the use of lube is it has to be completely eliminated before mig welding. Since we put our own boats together this is significant.


Wed 08 October 2008, 00:07
Hi Chuck,
Yes i know that 'Spiral 0' cuttting bit well they are very good at plastics and soft aluminuim (1200) but i found them too expensive and fragile for really pushing hard through "tougher" grades of material. I have actually seen one of those osrud cutters a 1/2" cutt through 2.5" Nylon one pass at close to 200mm per second.

As for cleaning the cutting fluid off the material, It is a chore ,but it sure beats back grinding all the Plasma cutter oxidation from the edges of the plates. We find a wipe down with a shop rag and then a stainless steel wire brush works ok.

Wed 08 October 2008, 00:18
For all - Link to the Lubricating mister site-


What ever you do , dont buy the "Trico" mister , The kerosene / Parrafin destroys the plastic its made from.

Gerald D
Wed 08 October 2008, 02:12
We use a kerosene based de-greaser for cleaning our metalwork. Would more commonly be known as "engine cleaner" or "paint brush cleaner". It is kerosene with an emulsifier that makes it highly water soluble. Brush/spray on, then rinse away with water. On steel, we literally see rust form within 20 minutes after doing that simple de-grease. The stuff we use is Engen's Tekprol 131 from Oils Incorporated. Might not be considered environmentally friendly in other countries.

Sat 18 October 2008, 07:15
Hi Rory

Is there a supplier here in SA for the Noga mister unit.We have the Trico mister unit on a Multicam at work and they are the biggest piece of ....
Good luck with your build im still in the planning process of my mechmate build.:)

Gerald D
Sat 18 October 2008, 07:50
Toolquip (http://www.toolquip.co.za/) does Noga. Don't know whether they stock something like the "Minicool (http://www.noga.com/nogaProducts.php?catID=moco)" or "Cobra (http://www.noga.com/nogaProducts.php?catID=cobr)"

While looking at Noga of Israel's stuff, everyone can look at their classic de-burring tool (http://www.noga.com/nogaProducts.php?catID=hd32). No toolbox is complete without one of those. :)

Sat 18 October 2008, 08:39
Thanks Gerald will give them a call on Monday, I didn't see anything in their catalogue though but maybe they can get it.
I agree with you about their deburring tool i use mine the whole time at work

Sun 19 October 2008, 23:54

Yes we got ours from Tool Quip. You will just need to make a storage container for your cutting fluid. You will not belive how great those NOGA systems are after struggling with the Trico s***t for so long!.
Also check out the NOGA "coutersinks" they are super for deburring small holes.

Wed 29 October 2008, 22:44

What bit are you using for Alu ?
I 've tried various bits, feed rate, router speed, oil, but still not satisfactory cutting.


J.R. Hatcher
Thu 30 October 2008, 06:23
I have not tried these parameters. I watched a video and it was cutting perfect so I ask for this information. Here is what I was told. Hope this helps.

Cutter: 1 fulte, Belin 33060
Lubricant: None
RPM: 18,000
Feed Rate: 48 ipm
Cutting Depth: .020 per pass

Gerald D
Thu 30 October 2008, 09:18
Different types of alu cut completely differently. Some alu's are easdy to cut, others are nearly impossible. I don't have some names/specs over here at this PE airport. (Hennie, I'm watching you!) The lubrication/cooling of the bit is also critical.

Thu 30 October 2008, 12:12
Thanks J.R, and Gerald,

I have tried on 3mm Alu sheet with as low as 50 mm/min and 15000-20000 rpm.
With end mill, drill,vbit, ball now, etching bit, carbide 2 flute etc with gummy results.:(
J.R. I could not find Belin 33060 on google. Only this post of Gerald on shopbot - http://www.talkshopbot.com/forum/messages/29/11801.html?1140534866

Are you talking of these bits? http://www.plasticsmag.com/ta.asp?aid=4152
Belin 33060 search returned nil on this site.
If not then a link may help.

Fri 31 October 2008, 07:58
A Good reading

Fri 31 October 2008, 14:48

I found this link http://www.midwestsign.com/pdf/lit/belinlit.pdf using a search of "single flute Belin router bit" without quotes.

Unfortunately it doesn't mention the specific Belin 33060, but it does talk about Belin single flute bits being specifically designed for cutting aluminium (SA sp). This is only a "supplier" link. I hope this helps.

Gerald D
Wed 31 December 2008, 05:54
Different types of alu cut completely differently. Some alu's are easdy to cut, others are nearly impossible. I don't have some names/specs over here at this PE airport.

The Alu I had in mind that cuts easier than most is 6061 T6 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6061_aluminum).

Start cutting sideways in from the edge (avoid vertical plunges)

Sun 31 May 2009, 13:57
Hi All,
I am looking at building one of the mechmate machines for routing aluminuim 5083H321 in 2mx6m plates, and 1.5mx3m plates, for a aluminum yacht. Will the mechmate machine do the job with reliable performance and acuracy?

I would love to chat with any of you who have done this, or anything similar.


Gerald D
Sun 31 May 2009, 14:09
See: Alu console frame together and some steel cut - Cape Town, S.Africa (http://www.mechmate.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1018)

Rory has gone quiet - maybe you can make contact with him to hear his comments?