Aluminum is one of the most machined materials. It has several advantages due to its properties such as lightweight, moldable, and inexpensive. However, machining aluminum is not as easy as we may think, there are still some challenges to overcome.
One of its downside cutting aluminum is the clogging cutting tool. The chips could stick in the flutes. If you leave it without concern, it may cause breakage to the surface finish. The chip recutting happens and unexpected friction cause unnecessary wear. In addition, the clogging up endmill can cause the cutting process to take longer.
So, what is the best end mill for aluminum? There are several factors required to consider when selecting the right endmill for aluminum: the number of flutes, helix angle degree, the endmill material, coating, and even the coolant. Since talking about these factors could take a longer discussion, we put it in the next section after the endmill top 7 picks reviews section.
In this article, we did our best to cover the top 7 end mills for aluminum that we found great to use according to the factors mentioned and also the customer feedbacks.
Top 7 Best End Mills for Aluminum
1. SpeTool 12501 Carbide CNC End Mill for Aluminum
SpeTool 12501 is a 2-flute HRC55 carbide endmill that is designed for aluminum, non-ferrous metal, etc. As it comes with 2 flutes, it keeps the chip removal easy to happen despite no coating. According to the customer, this one is able to use for 7075 forged aluminum. We see this worth it to try.
- 2 flutes
- no coating
2. LittleMachineShop 20 Pieces of End Mill Set (2 & 4 Flute)
This is another endmill on the list that is made from HSS (high-speed steel). It comes with TiN (Titanium Nitride) coating that is beneficial for aluminum chip removal while the endmill is spinning. There are 20 pieces of endmills. Half of them are 2-flute models and the rest are the 4-flute models. In terms of customer feedback, we see this endmill as a good one at a nice price.
- TiN coating
- 2 flutes
- a set of 20 endmills
- several unsatisfied customer reviews
3. LittleMachineSop 6 Pieces of End Mill Set (2 Flute)
Another 2-flute endmill you could take a look at on the market is this one. It’s made of HSS (high-speed steel). There are 6 pieces available: 1/8 inch, 3/16 inch, 1/4 inch, 5/16 inch, 3/8 inch, and 1/2 inch respectively from the smallest to the biggest diameter. If you are using an end mill holder with a 3/8″ hole diameter, this one is suitable for all the pieces of the set. Overall, for a beginner, this set of endmills will work fine to machine aluminum.
- 2 flutes
- a set of 6 endmills (available in several sizes)
- It seems no coating
4. Kodiak Cutting Tools KCT129732 USA Made Carbide End Mill
This one is made in the USA. Kodiak Cutting Tools KCT129732 is a great carbide endmill to use for aluminum. It will lift up the chip to prevent from clogging up. There are 2 flutes and the space is wide. In addition to ensuring the chip lifting occurs properly, it’s designed with a 30° high helix. Although this is standard, it will sufficiently keep the milling work smoothly.
- 2 flutes
- 30 degree high helix (standard)
- It seems no coating
5. Autotoolhome High-Speed Steel HSS 4 Flute Straight End Mill
This is the most popular endmills that we found. It’s made of high-speed steel. However, it comes with 4 flutes which may clog the chips. Interestingly, there are many customers that use this for aluminum and works great. You could pick this as a versatile option because it works for some steels.
- Versatile; works for aluminum
- 4 flutes
6. Amana Tool 51377 Solid Carbide CNC Spiral ‘O’ Single Flute
This one is different. It’s only one flute. Due to the single flute, it’s so much easy to lift up the chips. However, on the other hand, you may be a little bit worry due to the single flute. One flute is associated with a smaller diameter and less rigidity. But, since it’s made of titanium, things come different. One of the customers uses this for aluminum panel cutting and the result is amazing. It cuts off the time required for cutting and almost 6 times faster.
According to the official page, this end mill is designed for aluminum, aluminum alloys, aluminum 5052, aluminum 6061, aluminum composite panel (ACP), aluminum composite materials (ACM), etc. If you are going to machine wood and plastic, this will be suitable for them.
- Made of Titanium
- Super easy to pull out the chips
- 1 flute
7. Speed Tiger ISE Carbide Square End Mill
This is another 4-flute model that is able to use for aluminum cutting. There are several sizes available to choose from. Actually, this one is not designed for aluminum, but for alloy steels/hardened steels. However, some customers find it works for aluminum. The titanium aluminum boron nitride (AlTiBN) that coats the main material (carbide) is beneficial to prevent the chips from sticking. This is important to avoid chip reciting that is harmful to the endmill.
- works for aluminum
- coated with aluminum boron nitride
- 4 flutes
Selecting Guide to Best End Mill for Aluminum
Never think that you could pick out any end mill to use for aluminum. This is some advice you need to take into account when selecting the best end mill for aluminum.
1. The Number of Flutes
This is the most important thing to consider. Since the aluminum chips are easy to stick in the flutes, the number of flutes highly contributes to the movement of the chips to get out of the flutes. That said, the less the flutes, the easier the chips to move out.
Many experts will say that 2 and 3 flutes are ideal for aluminum endmill. It gives more space and the chips can easily leave the flutes without being held. However, fewer flutes mean less rigidity due to the diameter. Since you are machining aluminum, this should be not an issue.
2. Helix Angle Degree
The helix angle degree also plays an important role to prevent the chips from clogging up in the flutes. The higher the degree, the easier the chips to get removed from the flutes. It’s easy to understand. If the helix angle degree is less than 30°, then the chips will be kind of being held. We advise you to look up the helix angle more than 30°.
There are some material good to machine aluminum: carbide and HSS (high-speed steel). But you need to know which carbide or HSS that is suitable for this kind of job (aluminum machining).
It’s not rocket science.
The coating helps the endmill being slippery for the chips, further prevent clogging. If you are using made-of-carbide endmills, the coating should be Titanium Aluminum Nitride. Another material such as the high-speed steel endmill is preferable to use Titanium Carbo Nitride coating. A little compound can cause significant result difference.
5. Coolant System
If the endmill provides the coolant system, that means good. The friction can cause heat, and heat cause wear. Here is the coolant system that helps the endmill stays at under a certain temperature.
Working with a milling machine is fun, especially if we machine aluminum. This non-ferrous material is affordable, moldable, and lightweight. We can be free to be creative with aluminum. However, choosing the right end mill for aluminum is as random as we could do. There are some thumbs of rules we need to consider.
Lucky for you, you are at the right stop. You have seen the coverage of some best end mills for aluminum here. You can take advantage of the list to narrow your one best pick. We have to admit that the 3-flute model is none on the list. It should be the right option for 7075 aluminum. Soon, we will cover it here. Thank you.