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Milling Aluminum With a Slow Speed Drill Press

03/11/2013 3:20 AM

Greetings All,

Does anyone have any experience milling Aluminum with a slow speed drill press?

Thanks for your opinions.

Spacecannom

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#1

Re: Milling Aluminum with a slow speed drill press

03/11/2013 4:06 AM

A drill press isn't designed for the side-loads imposed by typical milling operations, so accuracy will suffer, and the life of the spindle bearings will likely be greatly reduced.

I once tried counter-boring some bolt holes with a 4 flute end-mill in a cheap Harbor Freight drill press. The spindle was so sloppy that the end-mill skittered around and really wasn't able to bite into the surface.

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#2

Re: Milling Aluminum with a slow speed drill press

03/11/2013 6:08 AM

I've tried this too, many years ago. Even if you could fix the problem of side loading the spindle bearings, the machine is not rigid enough to not go into harmonic oscillation and chatter a slot even in the thinest of materials. That was my experience in 1/8th inch aluminum slot cutting, with a 3/8 inch end mill. And the MT2 taper fell out several times, as a draw bar is needed for milling operations, and drill presses do not have the hole through the spindle for this.

The mill drills are slightly better. The 3 in 1 use a drill press head, but it's bolted to the main lathe. They still are very wimpy.

Try to find a stout mill drill if your budget can't support a true vertical mill. It all depends on where you want to be able to go to make and fix things.

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#3

Re: Milling Aluminum With a Slow Speed Drill Press

03/11/2013 1:39 PM

I have heard all these arguments before and thanks for your opinions, but it doesnt change the fact that I have to use what I ve got and can't afford a mill.

So outside of sloppy spindle problems any advice on getting the job done.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Milling Aluminum With a Slow Speed Drill Press

03/11/2013 2:11 PM

You might want to try an end mill with a Left Hand spiral (helix), Right Hand cut so it will try to push away from the part instead of digging into it. Depending on the finish you are looking for rotary files, like those used in dremil tools, may work for you also.

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#8
In reply to #4

Re: Milling Aluminum With a Slow Speed Drill Press

03/11/2013 5:12 PM

GA dgibson, thx.

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#5

Re: Milling Aluminum With a Slow Speed Drill Press

03/11/2013 3:47 PM

As stated abouve, rotary files will work MUCH better than end mills.

Slower, but much less chance of personal injury and damage.

My adive is DON'T DO IT, if you can't do it right, and safely.

I hope this is a DIY project.

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#6

Re: Milling Aluminum With a Slow Speed Drill Press

03/11/2013 4:48 PM

All the replies are a "good answer" Take it from an old tool maker, Don"t try it. You will end up ruining your project as well as your hands. Find someone with a Bridgeport to do it correctly and you will save a lot of money and your hands in the long run.

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#7

Re: Milling Aluminum With a Slow Speed Drill Press

03/11/2013 5:07 PM

This is a "no other option situation", sometimes ya just have to make do with what ya got. So it comes down to technique.

Thanks again for your opinions.

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#9
In reply to #7

Re: Milling Aluminum With a Slow Speed Drill Press

03/11/2013 5:22 PM

What, exactly, is the milling operation you need to perform?

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#10

Re: Milling Aluminum With a Slow Speed Drill Press

03/12/2013 1:14 AM

Creating a 1.25 inch deep pocket, I will start by drilling most of it out with a regular 1/2" drill. Then use the end mill to finish the sides and bottom.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Milling Aluminum With a Slow Speed Drill Press

03/14/2013 3:21 AM

1.25 x ? x ? (Regardless, you're asking a lot of a drill press.)

Do you have an X/Y table?

If you only need a small quantity of these (or just one) machined, I'd be happy to help. I'll send you a private message.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Milling Aluminum With a Slow Speed Drill Press

03/14/2013 12:26 PM

Yes, I have an X/Y table with a built in vise.

FYI, project finished. Looks good.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Milling Aluminum With a Slow Speed Drill Press

02/03/2017 7:29 AM

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