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Question about 6061

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kentuckyjim

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#1
I have some 6061 tube that I want to machine. Can it be safely worked with a router and a router bit. I have a setup that I use on wood that I want to replicate in 6061. Is this advisable?


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woodchucker

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#2
I will work, but you need to secure things better, and take lighter cuts. Slow the bit up a little, and put some tap magic for aluminum on the aluminum, and keep adding it to prevent the AL from sticking to the router bit..
 

kentuckyjim

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#3
I will work, but you need to secure things better, and take lighter cuts. Slow the bit up a little, and put some tap magic for aluminum on the aluminum, and keep adding it to prevent the AL from sticking to the router bit..
Thanks. I'm new to this and hoping to avoid major foul ups.


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Bob La Londe

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#4
I made molds out of 6061 using a Bosch Colt Router as a spindle on a Taig mill and using a constant flood of tranny fluid for a coolant/lubricant. It machined fine with light high feed rate cuts. (Well as fast as the Taig would go anyway). A more modern 3 phase spindle isn't really much different (for load and power) except being closed and liquid cooled. Well, and being induction rather than brushed.

Yes, you can, but if you want good results try to keep your loads under 0.1HP or less. You would be amazed at how much material you can remove at less than .1 HP. I do not actually care for router bits for milling aluminum, but I have used them. a 40ish degree flute angle mill is far superior.

Lubrication is and chip clearing is important for high speed milling aluminum. Chip welding onto the flutes of the mill or router bit is an issue if you fail in that regard. I know only to well from experience.

The biggest issue in my opinion with using a universal brush motor for milling aluminum is that eventually it will get full of aluminum chips and short out. Then next issue is that often the spindle nose bearing gets hot enough to soften the plastic nose of the router or it just fails under constant load and continuous use. I am pretty sure a lot of that heat is transferred up the tool from the cut itself. You can replace the bearings if the nose of the router didn't melt, but your regular old wood routers are not a good long term solution for milling aluminum.

I still have a Bosch Colt router on my little CNC gantry mill that I use for making wood parts.
 

Bob La Londe

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#6
I have hand fed aluminum parts on a router table. I was not thrilled with it, but I did get the job done. I've got a cast iron table extension for my table saw that my router drops right into when I need it. Much nicer (and safer) to use than most little purpose built router tables you see.
 

Bob La Londe

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#7
Glad you mentioned the router table by the way. That may answer another issue I have been thinking about for a powered deburring tool.
 

Cobra

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#8
Thanks. I'm new to this and hoping to avoid major foul ups.


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I would really say that the material and tools should be very solid. The tool will try to grab and could be trouble if they get loose
 

Dave Paine

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#9
I am a woodworker and started to work with metal in the last few years. I purchased a milling machine in January of this year. I have used my router bits to make profile cuts in aluminium, 3/8in radius. I took light cuts, 20-30 thou, used Tap Magic for lubrication and had slow speed. This worked well.

I would not attempt this with my router table. My router slowest speed is 12,000 rpm. I ran the milling machine at 770 rpm.

I have experienced aluminium cold welding to tools on my metal lathe at 450 rpm. Normally I can clean off the chips with sharp knife.

HSS and carbide router bits will cut aluminium, but only if you prevent cold welding of the chips.
 

kentuckyjim

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#10
Are you hand feeding on a router table?
Yes I am using a router table. I have a jig to hold a 3 1/2 length of tubing. I use this set up for cutting the mortise on a fly reel seat. I want to make an aluminum or nickel silver clad seat with a wood insert. I found a picture on line but I am not sure if I can get it inserted here. I know a picture would be worth a thousand words.


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kd4gij

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#11
You can copy and past a picture here but not sure if you can with tapa talk. You can however download the pic to your phone the upload it here. Is this a CNC router table?
 

kentuckyjim

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#14
Yes! Thank you . I have spent the last hour trying to figure out picture posting. My set up is a slightly modified 40 year old router table and a similar vintage Craftsman router. It may not be up to this task though it works for wood seats. For the few seats of this style I will make, retooling doesn't seem worth it and
I will probably do it by hand.


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Billh50

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#15
I know they use routers all the time at Stanley Magic Door to cut the holes in the dooor trims. I personally thought they were nuts for doing it. But that is how they do them.
 

Bob La Londe

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#16
The things is like any machine operation care and setup are very important to getting safe quality results. I was once hit by a piece of flying aluminum plate and the wound in my gut looked like I had been shot. I could tell any story I wanted to about the scar and it would be believable.
 

kentuckyjim

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#17
The things is like any machine operation care and setup are very important to getting safe quality results. I was once hit by a piece of flying aluminum plate and the wound in my gut looked like I had been shot. I could tell any story I wanted to about the scar and it would be believable.
Bob
Your story is one of the situations I am hoping to avoid. A wise man once gave me some good advice.
A. Know what you don't know
B. Ask questions first
C. Respect the process. Follow the directions every time


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Nogoingback

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#18
I've also used my router table to round over the edges of aluminum plate a number of times, though I'm a bit nervous every time I do it. So far, I've never had a problem and every time
I've done it, it's been done by hand with no jig. The edges have always come out quite nicely as long as took my time and was careful. I always take multiple passes and light cuts and have
never had the router try to grab the part out of my hand. (knock on wood...)
 

kd4gij

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#19
If you can post a picture of your setup you are using, we might come up with a way to get it done.
 

Silverbullet

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#20
I would suggest using as long a length of the tubing to help with holding it down. Even clamping it to a piece of steel angle iron to stiffen it. It can be done safely too. Wear good eye protection those chips fly
 

kentuckyjim

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#22
If you can post a picture of your setup you are using, we might come up with a way to get it done.
First of all thanks to everyone who has provided input on my project. I have some pictures of the set up I use for wooden reel seats and the setup I'm contemplating for the metal clad reel seat.


Since aluminum has some sticky properties I may just use some nickel silver tube instead. The wall thickness is about .016.


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kentuckyjim

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#23
First of all thanks to everyone who has provided input on my project. I have some pictures of the set up I use for wooden reel seats and the setup I'm contemplating for the metal clad reel seat.


Since aluminum has some sticky properties I may just use some nickel silver tube instead. The wall thickness is about .016.


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Again thanks to all who responded! I decided to just wade in and use the nickel silver tube rather than the aluminum. The finish project is serviceable. Next time it will be better including a different knurl. A router will work for this project but I am positive there are better ways.



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dlane

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#24
There is a way to upload pics here using tapatalk that are not red x's , that's what your pics are ,you can see them but we see red x. Search uploading pics using tapatalk, I think it has somthing to do with a paper clip not a pic
Thanks
 

kentuckyjim

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#26
There is a way to upload pics here using tapatalk that are not red x's , that's what your pics are ,you can see them but we see red x. Search uploading pics using tapatalk, I think it has somthing to do with a paper clip not a pic
Thanks
Thanks-I'll try again


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