Most people I have talked to have often avoided trying to machine aluminum on their CNC Router, and rightfully so. It can seem like such a challenge for those who are most comfortable with woodworking practices.
It’s also true that not all CNC router machines are made equal. Some are a little more rigid than others. Some have more powerful motors and spindles. However, we’ve found most of your hobby CNC machines will be able to cut aluminum to some degree.
There are three things you’ll need to be able to cut aluminum on your CNC Router:
- The Right Tool
- WD-40 or Cutting Oil
- and.. Patience
When people think of machining aluminum, they think of high-end milling machines. Such machines are capable of performing complex work.
CNC routers, however, can operate at a much higher rate than a milling machine when combined with the best CNC router bits for aluminum.
Continue reading below as we review our Top 5 Router bits for cutting aluminum.
Can you cut Aluminum with a CNC Router Bit?
People often ask whether CNC routers are capable of engraving aluminum. That’s because most of the time they see the routers engraving through plastics and wood.
So, can a CNC router cut aluminum?
Yes, the best CNC router bits for aluminum has the capability of performing such a task. Nearly any kind of CNC router can at the very least engrave aluminum with the right tool and set-up.
After you know the secrets of engraving aluminum, you would find that machining aluminum with the best CNC router bits is not only easy but productive.
Cutting aluminum using router bits is a can be a success when in combination with a little preparation and knowledge.
Engraving aluminum with a CNC router bit is quite an easy task. Your typical tabletop or benchtop CNC routers are sufficient enough to engrave aluminum.
The only thing you need is the right router bit, set-up, speeds and feeds, and maybe a little WD-40. So, now let’s find out what CNC router bits work best with aluminum.
Best CNC Router Bits for Aluminum
1. Amana Tool SC Spiral 51402 Single Flute
When it is about engraving on aluminum, this particular CNC router bit from the famous manufacturer Amana Tool is the perfect one.
This single flute router bit serves your purpose with less effort and efficiency. The spiral “O” flute coating of this router bit is produced with ultra-fine carbide
It has a unique proprietary edge design processing system and features a high-polished engraving edge with a special “mirror finish” technology.
With this special coating it can result in a clean cut, excellent chip extraction, superior surface finish, and long tool life. The bit’s finishing or sharpening process improves feed rates and allows for more linear feet engraved in less time.
Available in both inch and metric sizes, these sophisticated CNC router bits are designed for a variety of machining applications. The one of a kind carbide polishing process, improvements in engraving performance, and tool design make this router bit suitable for displays and signs.
2. Amana Tool 1630HSS Spiral Flute
This specific CNC router bit by Amana Tool is another great equipment specially designed for coping up with all your engravings done on aluminum.
The high-grade industrial tool is manufactured by micro-grain carbide of the best quality. It has features like a super polished edge with a unique “mirror finish” technology.
Also, it has an edge processing unit that engraves the aluminum with the finest of details. This is why, when it comes to engraving aluminum, most people choose this particular router bit due to its benefits.
It has two high-speed steel (HSS) flute varieties, one single flute, and another double flute.
Single flute design is where easy and speedy chip removal is desired. This way, it engraves better on any kind of aluminum. The double flute provides you with a smooth finish as compared to the single flute when slotting or grooving.
3. Amana Tool 46290 Deg Tapered Angle Bit
Amana Tool incorporates multi-flute, high shear, and ZrN (Zirconium Nitride) Coating specifically designed to have the ultimate combination of finish, strength, and longevity of the tool in aerospace materials.
Modern-day aluminum metals present a challenge to the owner while engraving.
However, using this special router bit addresses these challenges with a winning combination.
This industrial router bit is used in 3D carving and sign making industries in aluminum and other materials such as copper, bronze, wood, plywood, plastics, and so on.
The 3-axis motion along with the right software allows 3D capabilities and provides models and signs to work with the materials.
The carbide tips engrave smooth contours with low stepping while the special coating provides high resistance to sharper engraving edges, wear, extends the life of the tool, and builds up less heat and friction.
This tapered design achieves minute details in deep engraves and improves the complexity of the work.
4. Amana Tool V-Groove 45792 90 Deg
Another remarkable CNC router bit for engraving on aluminum by Amana Tool. The carbide tips with double edge folding rectangular & V-groove industrial router bits are intended for shaping aluminum composite materials such as Dibond, Alucobond, etc.
These router bits are designed for aluminum materials with 135, 108, 90-degree angles, and rectangular grooves.
Industrial quality carbide tipped router bits are very strong and lightweight. Also, they can be ordered with designs with patterns and any kind of color that mimics other materials such as marble or wood, making them popular.
Specifically designed router bits are made to use V-grooves in aluminum and allow easy bending without putting cracks on the bent area. You can route within 0.8 mm from the bottom part of the composite panel and achieve a clean bend radius.
5. Amana Tool 1634HSS Spiral HSK Bit
This router bit intended to engrave on aluminum is one of the best tools. The router bit works wonders while engraving on the tight corners of hard aluminum sheets. The router bit consists of two different kinds of flute, single flute, and double flute. Both of them have distinguished features.
Single flute is required when it is about easy and fast chip removal. It is excellent for engraving wood and different types of aluminum. When it comes to a smoother finish, slotting, and grooving, the double flute is better than the single flute. Double flute works effectively on many kinds of aluminum.
Engineered with high-grade standards for achieving quality results while engraving, fast material removal procedure, and improved engraving efficiency, this specific CNC router bit should be the perfect tool for professionals.
CNC Router Bit Aluminum Cutting Guide:
Before heading onto your aluminum CNC router projects, you need to know certain things about the router bit you’re using. If you have been in this industry for an extended period of time, you may have the required knowledge needed already. For beginners, here are some factors that you should consider before making your first cut.
1. Tool Geometry
One of the important aspects that play a major role in the CNC router bits is the tool geometry. Hence, it is very important for you to consider the same while choosing a CNC router bit. That’s because it helps you in determining what should be the best for your work at hand.
Both material and application have a significant role to play when it comes to the selection of the tool. In general, tools with more flutes tend to have a big core. Larger core means more tool strength. Larger core router bits restricts the chip space and reduces the flute depth.
2. Cutting Edge Type
Carbide router bits have formulated coatings that maintain the sharpness and lubricity of the tool’s engraving edges. Carbide modernized the engraving industry by providing longer life to the router bits and incorporating faster speeds. Also, it is capable of retaining the hardness at high temperatures in comparison to HSS.
High-speed steel (HSS) is known for its hardness, resistance, and toughness for metal engraving. It is cost-effective and available. PCD or polycrystalline diamond tooling is another type of engraving router bit. Diamond particles are fused into the carbide substrate to create the hardest and abrasive materials used in router bits.
3. Speeds and Feeds
There are certain parameters that need to be looked over to achieve accuracy and finish. The term feeds and speeds are used in reference to spindle rpm, plunge rate, feed rate, and rapid. Feed rate represents how the CNC machine moves the router bits during engraving to obtain quality cut.
Rapid refers to the speed the router moves above the material. Plunge rate denotes the speed by which the router bit inserts into the material during engraving. The spindle rpm is the set value for the material being processed and the tool being used.
Related: Learn about how long CNC router bits typically last and how to optimize tool life.
4. Cutting Operations
Profiling router bits are intended to use for engraving outer edge shaping, picture frames, moldings, etc. In general, these router bits include a bearing and are not suitable for plunging into the surface of a material. Drilling can be done with these router bits. But, you need extra care and caution to perform such activities. Slotting bits engrave parallel to the router base and straight bits cuts perpendicular through the router base.
The best CNC router bits engrave aluminum after incorporating the right feeds and speeds and avoiding unnecessary mistakes. These router bits are specifically designed for a variety of machining applications. The best router bits feature an outstanding performance by delivering excellent finish and stays sharper for a long time.