Some machine shops today do a lot of work with steel, but when it comes to aluminum machining, they may shy away from metals like 7075, 6061, and 2024. The truth is, aluminum alloys can present problems because they’re not as hard as steel. However, by following these helpful tips, you can improve your work and lower your scrap amounts.
Choosing the Right Alloy
Some alloys are easier to work with than others. For example, 6061 is not hard to machine if you choose a T4 or T6 temper. If you need to machine 2024 or 7075, choose annealed metal when possible. Annealing uses heat treatment to harden and strengthen the alloy. This makes it easier to machine.
When it comes to aluminum machining, sticking is a major problem. The metal has stickiness to it, and this makes chips buildup worse because they don’t fall away easily. Not only that, stickiness can dull even the sharpest cutting tools in a short amount of time. Use hard and sharp cutting tools like tungsten carbide, and you need coarse grade carbide for high-speed work to limit heat buildup.
Cutting Tool Problems
With high-speed work, cutting tools not only dull quickly they can sometimes break. Using very hard cutting tools helps because they stay sharp longer and a dull tool is more likely to break. Choose tools with fewer flutes too.
Do You Need Help with Your Aluminum Machining?
In some cases, it’s best to hire a machine shop that specializes aluminum machining and in materials like aluminum alloys. This can make your job easier, and you can still fill your customer orders on time. Machining most aluminum alloys requires a lot of horsepower, and if your machines aren’t up to the task, you could have a hard time when you work with soft metals. A trusted shop can take care of all your needs.