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Milling Cutter Cutting Tools, and Consumables

Most people who aren't used to working with industrial metal cutting tools don't think of drill bits as consumables until they break their first one; milling cutters and end mills are the same way because they don't last forever. End mills can wear down from working on harder metals, or they can fail catastrophically and break in two. Luckily, these consumables are much easier to replace than milling machines themselves.

Industrial Metalworking

Milling machines are an important part of industrial metalworking equipment, as so many metal items start as a solid billet and are only then cut down to their final form. Anyone stocking up on industrial metal cutting tools and consumables needs to make sure their miller cutting tools and other equipment are properly outfitted with the bits or end mills they need to work a full shift.

Steel or Carbide

Carbide is stronger and harder than high-speed steel, but it's not always the better choice. While you always want carbide in the smallest end mills because it's more rigid, the question is more complicated when it comes to other applications. Carbide needs very high revolutions to effectively cut aluminium, so you're often better off with high-speed steel if most of your work involves aluminium.


End mills have usually between two and four cutting edges, for flutes, on the side. In general, you want as many flutes as you can get because they remove the waste metal from the cutting surface. Once again, aluminium is the outlier. Because it comes off the workpiece in such large chips, it can clog flutes very easily. For aluminium, you are often better off with two or three flutes than the standard four.

Mounting Matters

The more precise you want to be, the more rigid the mount you need. Carbide end mills are useful because they are more rigid than high-speed steel, so they are less likely to slip or vibrate out of place on the workpiece. They also stand up better to off-centre forces so they are less likely to fail catastrophically.

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