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Thread: Air flow

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  1. #1
    Hi all, I have just finished my first aluminium cuts, and believe it or not they turned out very good, I used WD40 for cooling, but I understand that this can be done using air flow, what sort of pressure is need. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Ok, seems as though nobody cuts aluminium.

  3. #3
    Aluminium can be a bugger to cut, you have to pay attention to feed and cutter speeds, too high a feed and the flimsy little cutters snap like carrots, too slow and the clag builds on the cutting edge, the cut suffers and the cutter breaks. The margins are widened with cooling the cutter and I use WD40 or even water to keep the chips from melting and sticking. I also blow cuttings away with a nozzle fixed to the Z axis. The air, at fairly low pressure, comes from a pump designed for aerating large ponds.

    Grade of aluminium makes quite a difference, 1050 is made for bending not cutting and sticks to cutters like shit to a blanket.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by cropwell View Post
    Aluminium can be a bugger to cut, you have to pay attention to feed and cutter speeds, too high a feed and the flimsy little cutters snap like carrots, too slow and the clag builds on the cutting edge, the cut suffers and the cutter breaks. The margins are widened with cooling the cutter and I use WD40 or even water to keep the chips from melting and sticking. I also blow cuttings away with a nozzle fixed to the Z axis. The air, at fairly low pressure, comes from a pump designed for aerating large ponds.

    Grade of aluminium makes quite a difference, 1050 is made for bending not cutting and sticks to cutters like shit to a blanket.
    Thanks for that, My first effort turned out well, I used the rate stated by thecad I use, using wd40 worked well, bur quite messy. I have a small compressor which is adjustable up 50 psi, I will try that next time.

  5. #5
    You don't necessarily need a lot of pressure, it's the air quantity and velocity coming out of the nozzle that counts. Hence if you have thin pipes and a small nozzle you'll need higher pressure. I have a little side channel blower on my setup which only makes about 6 or 7 PSI but is much quieter than most compressors and outputs a lot of air and does the job fine. As per Cropwell I do find that some water/lubricant (I use 7....10% soluble oil in water) is a big help in stopping the ali sticking to the cutters.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Voicecoil View Post
    You don't necessarily need a lot of pressure, it's the air quantity and velocity coming out of the nozzle that counts. Hence if you have thin pipes and a small nozzle you'll need higher pressure. I have a little side channel blower on my setup which only makes about 6 or 7 PSI but is much quieter than most compressors and outputs a lot of air and does the job fine. As per Cropwell I do find that some water/lubricant (I use 7....10% soluble oil in water) is a big help in stopping the ali sticking to the cutters.

    thanks I will see what I can rig up.

  7. #7
    I don't think my pond aerator pump produces even 6 PSI, but it is directed at the cut at all times. I use 8mm internal bore tube and keep the run of tube as short as possible. Just at the beginning of lockdown I decided to revamp my work room and the CNC is yet to be recommissioned, so I can't do pictures of the new, but this is the old :-
    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by cropwell View Post
    I don't think my pond aerator pump produces even 6 PSI, but it is directed at the cut at all times. I use 8mm internal bore tube and keep the run of tube as short as possible. Just at the beginning of lockdown I decided to revamp my work room and the CNC is yet to be recommissioned, so I can't do pictures of the new, but this is the old :-
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have one of those flexable tubes laying around in the shed, I am sure I can jerry rig something. thats a good setup you have..

  9. As others have said, use a high speed and try to stick to a free machining grade like 6061 / T6 (IIRC). I use a airbrush compressor with a small reservoir and a small jet pointed at the cutter. Use standard airbrush hose, about a 1mm hole in the jet which is mounted on a bit of lokline from the mill head so it can be directed at the work. I don't use coolant.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHaine View Post
    As others have said, use a high speed and try to stick to a free machining grade like 6061 / T6 (IIRC). I use a airbrush compressor with a small reservoir and a small jet pointed at the cutter. Use standard airbrush hose, about a 1mm hole in the jet which is mounted on a bit of lokline from the mill head so it can be directed at the work. I don't use coolant.
    I have the same airbrush compressor with a tank. I was wondering if I could use thay, good stuff, thanks.

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