geneb wrote:Makes me wonder what I could crank out on my ShopBot PRT 96 Alpha. I've run aluminum on it in the past, but only "2D" work (control panels) I've only ever used 2 flute cutters on it (.125") when doing that. The last aluminum part I ran was the metal back for the EW panel in the F-15. I ran the tool at 6600 RPM (really too slow for my spindle - it's RPM range is 9000-18000 [2.2HP HSD]) and cut the material at .5in/sec. That's probably completely wrong for milling aluminum, but I'll take anything that won't result in another broken cutter. Those little bastards are expensive, even when getting 'em from Centurion Tool.
What are you using for creating your toolpaths with? I started out with V-Carve pro and eventually upgraded to Aspire.
I use HSMxpress but have access to SolidCAM through SolidWorks. I am looking to switch to Fusion360 though with the full HSMworks CAM package. I like being able to work on CAm while in my CAD package so the switch to Fusion360 will let me keep that at a FAR cheaper price point in the long run. I just HATE the new GUI in Fusion360.. It will not be an easy change over I think and I admit I keep putting it off as long as I can. At roughly $12 each the Viper 3 flute aluminum mill end mills are not to bad price wise and they mill like a dream. The finish is really nice even in dry milling (Which is what they are designed for, dry milling). You should have little issue doing 2.5D or even full 3D milling on that CNC with a nice spindle like that. As long as you keep the chips clear and allow the mill to do the job instead of forcing it, it should turn out some really nice work. I mean if the OKO and the X Carve can do it.. Yours should be a walk in the park. I use Aspire for V carving when I do engraving work in stone and such. HMS does not do such a great job at that so far from what I have experienced. But it is a great CAM package for 2.5D milling like the mounts. Bit of a learning curve like all good CAM seems to have. But the level of control is really amazing. Looking forward to having the ball screw mill back up and running around the first of the year. Looking to maybe change out the X carve for a little larger full ball screw mill early next year also. Just not happy with how the XC does and the amount of issues it has. My OKO really does better in some ways. But of course both pale in comparison to a ball screw mill of the same design. My real goal this year is the new Tormach PCNC 440. Wife is all about it also so it should happen at some point. At some point I need a lathe also.. But that is further down the road than the Tormach I feel right now.