End mills, like all cutting tools, have edges that will eventually wear down. No tool can keep its edge forever, but there are several methods used to extend the life of your tools. One of the most basic ways to get the most out of your milling machine’s cutting tools is to purchase end mills and drill bits constructed from solid carbide. Carbide is a stable and heat resistant tool making material that combines the strength of metals and the heat resistance and edge retention of ceramics. In addition to using tools made from strong materials, using specially treated tools like TiAlN coated end mills can help to increase the longevity of your cutters.
Sources of End Mill Fatigue
There are a lot of different factors that can contribute to the fatigue of your tools. Cutting tools like end mills are striking your workpiece multiple times per second, often with several different flutes. Every one of these many impacts is going to slowly erode the edges of your tools. Luckily using high performance materials like carbide can help to slow down this process. High speed and high heat applications will put even more strain on your tools’ cutting edges. This is why some manufacturers go to extra lengths to preserve the edges of their tools.
Coating End Mills
One of the best ways to resolve the issue of fatigue is to coat tools with a protective substance. There are a wide variety of coatings available. Most of these materials are extremely strong and designed to protect against heat or lower the coefficient of friction on the tool’s cutting edge. While the idea of a “coating” might bring to mind a significant material build up like a coating of paint, the physical vapor deposition or PVD coatings are deposited in extremely fine layers.
In the PVD process, the tool coating is vaporized in a vacuum before being deposited onto the surface of the tool. This means that the coating bonds directly to the surface of the tool in an incredibly thin layer, preventing built up edges that could dull the cutting edges.
TiAlN Coated End Mills
One popular coating for tools that have to deal with high temperatures is titanium aluminum nitride or TiAlN. This coating is designed to offer wear resistance while also forming an insulating layer so when heat is generated by machining, it is deflected into the chips instead of building up in the cutter. A TiAlN coated end mill will offer a superior tool life compared to uncoated carbide end mills.
If you are looking for TiAlN coated end mills for your shop, you can find plenty of great options when you visit www.onlinecarbide.com. They offer a wide range of cutting tools, many of which are coated with TiAlN to offer extra protection from high temperatures. If you have any questions about any of the cutting tools that Online Carbide produces, you can reach out to a member of their team by sending an email to [email protected].