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  1. #1
    Evening Gents,
    .
    As I'm still on the toolpath/feeds & speeds/machine enhancements learning curve and having done a few jobs now, with varying results (and a number of worn out tools) I'm wondering what the kind of ball park tool life expectancy is in general?
    .
    I am pretty sure the answer is "it depends" and on a number of variables such as those on the learning curve in the previous sentence, so I'll give a few parameters to see if you guys have similar experience and how long your cutters remain sharp enough, as I am finding I am going through an 8mm HSS cutter every 2-3 hours of cutting and a little longer for Carbide (3-3.5 hours), but not that much longer.
    .
    My current rough parameters are:
    .
    Material: 6082 T651 Aluminium
    Cutter: 8mm HSS and/or Carbide
    Flutes: Single for the Carbide and 2 for the HSS
    RPM: 10,000
    Feed: 800mm/min (plunge using 600mm/min but ramping this over 10mm)
    DOC: 1-2mm (I had an accidental 5mm cut once, but that was a shrieking mess, but at least didn't break the tool)
    Step-over generally 40-45% but also some slotting, which actually seemed to help with chatter (at least whilst the tool was sharp)
    .
    I have had a few loose bolts & misaligned ballscrew issues on the machine, which I've resolved over Christmas and also have just got hold of a 50litre compressor, which is way, way better than the asthmatic gnat compressor I had previously, so clogged chips should no longer be an issue as well, which didn't help tool life previously.
    .
    The main reason for this post is to get a reference point for tool life, which will help with a benchmark to aim for in terms of tweaking parameters and also whether I'm going to be charging customers for a new cutter as standard when I quote for a job, not that I like charging for essentially learning on the job......
    .
    Oh and whilst I remember, I have noticed the behaviour seems to be that the HSS cutters run fairly noisy to start with and gradually get worse until chatter etc. gets too bad and force a tool change, whilst Carbide (especially the single flutes) are almost noiseless but when they do go blunt, seem to drop off a plateau and deteriorate rapidly. I'm wondering if that is normal for the cutter types?
    .
    Later and also Happy New Year all......
    .
    .
    Chris

    PS. I have been buying cutters from APT and RDG (ebay) but also see some what seem to be very cheap cutter from a seller called Supermario-au - anybody bought from this seller? (looks to be Chinese and I havenothing against going that route for the price , but its always a punt on what you get).

  2. #2
    I have the 6mm single flute carbide cutters from Supermario and they are fine for the cost.

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  4. #3
    You probably know about these anyway, they do a reasonable job at 'tickling' an edge, though you'd struggle on spiral bits

    DMT Mini Whetstones - Diamond Stones - Sharpening - Hand Tools | Axminster.co.uk

  5. #4
    Thanks Eddy,
    .
    They are much prettier than my old oil/whetstone - might have to get one just to lighten the workshop up :) I also have my sights set on a bench grinder/sharpener (if Arceurotrade ever get the one I want back in stock - Bench Grinders - Arc Euro Trade) as I need something for my HSS lathe tools.
    .
    I'll definitely go for some of the Supermario ebay cutters as well, as they are way cheaper (and probably the same thing) as the APT single flute cutters I have been using - thanks Goblin.
    .
    Perhaps we should have a "trusted suppliers" sticky at the beginning of most of the sections on here, like the CAD/CAM one, to save a lot of googling etc.
    .
    BTW - how long do your cutters last chaps - I have this image of Jazz or Jonathon putting 5 year old and never sharpened HSS cutters in their collets and mocking my cutter's lack of longevity (or rather my lack of machining knowledge leading to their early demise)

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Washout View Post
    I also have my sights set on a bench grinder/sharpener (if Arceurotrade ever get the one I want back in stock - Bench Grinders - Arc Euro Trade) as I need something for my HSS lathe tools.
    Nice looking grinders, the seas must be rough from China at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Washout View Post
    I'll definitely go for some of the Supermario ebay cutters as well, as they are way cheaper (and probably the same thing) as the APT single flute cutters I have been using - thanks Goblin.
    Is that the one in Australia ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Washout View Post
    BTW - how long do your cutters last chaps - I have this image of Jazz or Jonathon putting 5 year old and never sharpened HSS cutters in their collets and mocking my cutter's lack of longevity (or rather my lack of machining knowledge leading to their early demise)
    I'm only cutting hardwood wood and I'm finding they don't last very long, the Axminster seem to do quite well and Tilgear Viper cutters came out tops once in a magazine test.
    If I need something quick and disposable when the jobs done I go for something like this.

    Toolstation > Power Tool Accessories > Router Bits > Kitchen Fitters Router Bit Set
    Last edited by EddyCurrent; 04-01-2014 at 10:20 PM.

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  8. #6
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Current Activity: Viewing Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 1,833. Received thanks 192 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    Currently about 3-4hrs from a 2 flute 6mm APT carbide end mill churning it's way through steel, however I reckon I'd get a bit longer the mill that on wasn't so underpowered and could take a decent cut!

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  10. #7
    Eddy - I am pretty sure the description for the Supermario-au seller was that the cutters were coming form China - will doublecheck....
    .
    Yep - definitely China but also some from the same shop from Hong Kong, but that's not unusual for stuff from that neck of the woods http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5x6mm-Germ...item1e667696d2
    Last edited by Washout; 04-01-2014 at 10:30 PM.

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  12. #8

  13. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Web Goblin View Post
    That's why I couldn't find supermario on uk ebay it's supermario-au

  14. #10
    Well not 5yrs but certainly longer than 2hrs from HSS. I want at least 6-8hrs from HSS and I get couple of days cutting from carbide, obviously depends on the finish your looking for to when you call them knackerd. I always finish with a 0.2mm finish pass.

    Now The secret to great tool life is to use 3F Carbide roughing cutters then finish with HSS or Carbide tools. This way cutters last ages and the serated edge roughing cutters allow 3-5mm pass's with no problem. I also nearly always use 6mm tooling with 8mm being the max.

    Cheap cutters are pointless I find and waste of money but I have had the Mario cutters before and they are ok and gave decent life I think, certainly no worse than others I've used.

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