Author Topic: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?  (Read 20720 times)

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Offline LaserSteve

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #25 on: October 29, 2016, 10:36:26 pm »
Green A9,  although I'll use bulk WD40 liquid in an emergency. I make prototypes out of 6061 and brass as part of my job. I'll use Tapmagic for tapping, there is some really good additive in there for tapping high Silicon Aluminum or "gummy" Aluminum.

Steve
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Online nctnico

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2016, 11:18:46 pm »
Thanks again for all the suggestions! I got a project involving quite a bit of work on aluminium. I'll go and hunt down some tap magic (I'll need to tap around 100 holes) and some Relton A9 cutting fluid for drilling. As a side node: I still need something convenient for tapping into aluminium manually. I'm too afraid to use something mechanical (like a cordless drill) since I'll be working on 250 euro heatsinks (each!) and hate to leave a broken tap in it.
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2016, 11:29:24 pm »
FWIW - you can use either one for drilling, milling, tapping. I have never used A9, but the tapmagic works as a general purpose cutting fluid for small jobs. For aluminum, I generally use forming taps that compress and flow the material instead of cutting it. No chips and it does not take much power to do it. You can tap with no pecking - just run the whole depth and never clear a chip. Reduces the chance of broken taps from chip clogging and re-cutting.

You do, however, use a different hole size for forming taps. It is always a slightly bigger hole so you need to get a forming tap chart if you go that way.
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Online nctnico

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #28 on: October 30, 2016, 12:56:37 am »
Those forming taps look like a great solution to me and I never knew they existed until now  :palm:
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline P90

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2016, 01:19:55 am »
Green A9,  although I'll use bulk WD40 liquid in an emergency. I make prototypes out of 6061 and brass as part of my job. I'll use Tapmagic for tapping, there is some really good additive in there for tapping high Silicon Aluminum or "gummy" Aluminum.

Steve

The original TapMagic with the smell that would give me a headache,
 worked so much better than the later environmental friendly mixture. 
 

Offline radar_macgyver

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2016, 03:38:22 am »
As a side node: I still need something convenient for tapping into aluminium manually. I'm too afraid to use something mechanical (like a cordless drill) since I'll be working on 250 euro heatsinks (each!) and hate to leave a broken tap in it.
How about a tapping stand? I've had good luck with those on plates (< 5mm thick). As long as the original hole was drilled perpendicular to the surface, the stand will help keep the threads square to the plate as well.
 

Offline alsetalokin4017

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2016, 05:11:40 am »
I got pretty good at tapping by using this technique:

-Clamp workpiece in drillpress or mill vise and locate hole to be d+t
-Drill with correct size drill for tap (work up in stages if it's a big hole)
-Without moving or unclamping workpiece, put the tap in the chuck
-Apply a bit of A9 for aluminum or TM or whatever
-Start drillpress and turn off (you just want the inertia of the spindle, not driven by motor)
-Lower tap into hole and let the inertia of the spindle+chuck to "thread" the tap into the hole
-Be ready on the brake so as not to go too far or fast
-Blow out chips with compressed air
-Reverse DP rotation and lift tap out of hole under power

It takes some practice and you might break a tap or two while learning, but once you've got the technique down it will save tons of time, and you always get perfectly tapped holes this way.
 
(Of course you have a broken tap extractor kit on hand, don't you?)    >:D
« Last Edit: October 30, 2016, 05:14:03 am by alsetalokin4017 »
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Offline HighVoltage

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2016, 09:08:15 am »
Tapping aluminum with a hand drill requires a really good (and expensive) tap.
If you are using a really good tap, the cut out material will come out to the front and will not be in the way and will not create any additional friction.
Using a slow speed and a little bit of fluid will create great cuts.

I have a set of tapping tools just for Aluminum and will never use them on any other material
Also one set just for tapping plastics and this will never be used on metal.
This way, they will always stay sharp and work great.

Here are some pictures
The last one is especially good for tapping Aluminum
But don't be scared to pay a huge price for these.

https://www.hoffmann-group.com/DE/de/hom/Monozerspanung/Gewindebohrer/Maschinen-Gewindebohrer-HSS-E-PM-Hartchrom/p/134270-M1,6



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Offline SeanB

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2016, 09:53:00 am »
If you are tapping and want to make 100 or so holes use the roll tap, and buy a good quality set, and with it also order a tap extractor, so you can get the broken tap out if you break it.  A good tap T handle ( racheting type) will also help, and also get a centre bit to drill your pilot holes accurately and drill a slight countersink in the surface as well for the tap.  If the tapped hole is over M5 get a countersink mill to get a good edge on the finished holes, and make sure that there are no burrs on the surface. Under M5 the 6mm centre bit does this job in one step.

If you have a harder aluminium alloy use a spiral machining tap, though there hand tapping is really not recommended, as they are spiral and self clearing, but brittle, and are a pain to extract if you break them in a hole. I have a few centre punches made from broken taps.
 

Offline WackyGerman

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #34 on: October 30, 2016, 10:07:39 am »
In my company we still use spirit for drilling and tapping in aluminium with standard drills and taps for steel . I made hundreds of tappings and never had a problem with fitting electrical components
 

Offline orin

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #35 on: November 01, 2016, 06:54:40 pm »
If you are tapping and want to make 100 or so holes use the roll tap, and buy a good quality set, and with it also order a tap extractor, so you can get the broken tap out if you break it.  A good tap T handle ( racheting type) will also help, and also get a centre bit to drill your pilot holes accurately and drill a slight countersink in the surface as well for the tap.  If the tapped hole is over M5 get a countersink mill to get a good edge on the finished holes, and make sure that there are no burrs on the surface. Under M5 the 6mm centre bit does this job in one step.

If you have a harder aluminium alloy use a spiral machining tap, though there hand tapping is really not recommended, as they are spiral and self clearing, but brittle, and are a pain to extract if you break them in a hole. I have a few centre punches made from broken taps.


I like to use a regular tap handle and a tap guide - http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1963&category=

I get the hole set up as you say, mount the guide in the mini-mill, centered over the hole, then let the spring loading provide the initial pressure on the tap.


 

Online nctnico

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #36 on: November 01, 2016, 08:19:26 pm »
I'm pretty good with aligning a tap without tools but I think I'll get something like this just to make sure because the forming taps seem to be trickier than cutting taps:

BTW the tapped holes need to go into a large heatsink (200x120x120 mm) and they are all blind holes.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #37 on: November 01, 2016, 09:05:30 pm »
I'm pretty good with aligning a tap without tools but I think I'll get something like this just to make sure because the forming taps seem to be trickier than cutting taps:

Definitely true. They are designed to be used with a machine or tapping fixture.
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Offline nbritton

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2016, 05:23:18 am »
I just use the pink RV anti-freeze, a/k/a propylene glycol, in my milling machine coolant system. It's like $2/gallon. It's non-toxic, propylene glycol is used as a food additive. Carbide can cut through aluminum like butter so you don't really need a cutting fluid per se, what you need is a coolant. 

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Super-Tech-RV-Marine-Antifreeze/17179674
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 05:28:37 am by nbritton »
 

Online tautech

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2016, 06:31:40 am »
I just use the pink RV anti-freeze, a/k/a propylene glycol, in my milling machine coolant system. It's like $2/gallon. It's non-toxic, propylene glycol is used as a food additive. Carbide can cut through aluminum like butter so you don't really need a cutting fluid per se, what you need is a coolant. 

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Super-Tech-RV-Marine-Antifreeze/17179674
How wide a range of metals do you find anti-freeze useful for ?
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Offline rob77

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #40 on: November 05, 2016, 10:12:41 am »
I still need something convenient for tapping into aluminium manually. I'm too afraid to use something mechanical (like a cordless drill) since I'll be working on 250 euro heatsinks (each!) and hate to leave a broken tap in it.

using a tap designed for machine taping and setting the clutch on a cordless drill to low torque (just enough to do the job) never failed on me (usually taping M3 to M5 sizes). if the part is really expensive and i don't want to accept any risk, then i'm going for the 3 pass taping with a set of taps (3 times the same hole with a drill is still much faster than hand taping).
 

Offline nbritton

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #41 on: November 05, 2016, 04:05:16 pm »
I just use the pink RV anti-freeze, a/k/a propylene glycol, in my milling machine coolant system. It's like $2/gallon. It's non-toxic, propylene glycol is used as a food additive. Carbide can cut through aluminum like butter so you don't really need a cutting fluid per se, what you need is a coolant. 

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Super-Tech-RV-Marine-Antifreeze/17179674
How wide a range of metals do you find anti-freeze useful for ?

I really only work with aluminum so I don't want to comment on that. I have used it for steel and didn't run into any problems with it.

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/propylene-glycol-d_363.html
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #42 on: November 05, 2016, 05:28:29 pm »
I just use the pink RV anti-freeze, a/k/a propylene glycol, in my milling machine coolant system. It's like $2/gallon. It's non-toxic, propylene glycol is used as a food additive. Carbide can cut through aluminum like butter so you don't really need a cutting fluid per se, what you need is a coolant. 

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Super-Tech-RV-Marine-Antifreeze/17179674
I wouldn't be so quick to call any glycol non-toxic. A couple of years ago I had to do some research on which type of glycol to use in a smoke machine. There are lots (I means LOTS!) of different types of glycol and some are very toxic where others are used as food additives indeed. I'm not convinced coolant is needed at low speeds but aluminium tends to clog badly (at least the soft 6060? stuff I usually encounter) so it is more about lubrication at low speeds. Still glycol is something I could try since I still have part of a bottle with food grade propylene glycol.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline CraigHB

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2016, 08:10:46 pm »
Ethylene Glycol is very toxic.  That's the stuff they put in coolant for engines, though they're getting away from that now.  Propylene Glycol is not toxic at all.  It's used in stuff like toothpaste and baking confections.  So yeah you have to be real careful with glycols and be positive about what you're working with.

I have a small milling machine I use for hobby stuff.  Of course 6061-T6 aluminum is my favorite metal to work with.  I use a real simple cutting oil, three parts mineral spirits and one part mineral oil.  It's super cheap and works well.  Cutting oils sold for machine work with aluminum are like ten times more expensive and are not particularly easy to find.  Mineral spirits you can buy from the hardware store and pure mineral oil you can buy from the drugstore.  I've actually tried WD40, but I like my home brew cutting oil better and it's still a lot cheaper than buying WD40 by the gallon.
 

Offline radar_macgyver

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #44 on: November 05, 2016, 08:35:51 pm »
I'm not convinced coolant is needed at low speeds but aluminium tends to clog badly (at least the soft 6060? stuff I usually encounter) so it is more about lubrication at low speeds.
Are you using TiN coated tools? Aluminum tends to stick to this coating. I'm not sure if TiCN is any better, but I've had best luck with uncoated or black oxide coated tools for aluminum.
 

Offline CraigHB

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #45 on: November 06, 2016, 02:34:33 am »
I use cheap HSS bits from China.  The milling bits get a constant flow of cutting oil, but I just use WD40 on the stuff done by hand.  Never had a problem with aluminum sticking to the HSS bits, but they dull pretty quick on stainless steel.  Titanium...forget it.

After reading this thread I think I'll see if I can get some of that tap magic.  Also like the idea of forming taps.  I've done something like that using stainless screws on aluminum, but didn't know taps are made just for that purpose.  I've found formed threads in aluminum are stronger and tighter than cut threads.  That's always good especially for the tiny screws I use a lot with powered models.  There's a bigger difference in strength between formed threads and cut threads with those tiny screws.
 

Offline geggi1

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #46 on: November 13, 2016, 11:20:20 am »
I've been using a mix of polywater http://www.polywater.com/polyplus.html and ethylene alcohole.
It works very well.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #47 on: November 14, 2016, 10:54:49 pm »
I looked into obtaining Tap magic and Relton A9. Doing that I came across a topic on a machinists forum where several agreed the new formula of tap magic lost most of it's mojo but Relton A9 seemed to be still good. I couldn't find it locally so I had to order it from the US and to offset the horrible shipping costs I bought four 110ml bottles (guess what my father gets for Christmas...). I tried to get a gallon but unfortunately the sellers didn't want to ship to the NL.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online tautech

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #48 on: November 14, 2016, 11:04:43 pm »
I looked into obtaining Tap magic and Relton A9. Doing that I came across a topic on a machinists forum where several agreed the new formula of tap magic lost most of it's mojo but Relton A9 seemed to be still good. I couldn't find it locally so I had to order it from the US and to offset the horrible shipping costs I bought four 110ml bottles (guess what my father gets for Christmas...). I tried to get a gallon but unfortunately the sellers didn't want to ship to the NL.
Be interested to see how that goes.... :popcorn:

When I need a drilling and tapping lubricant, Rocol RTD is my preferred:
https://www.rocol.com/products/rtd-compound-reaming-tapping-drilling
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Online nctnico

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Re: Your favorite aluminium milling/drilling lubricant?
« Reply #49 on: November 15, 2016, 01:23:00 am »
OK I'll post the results but that will probably be around Christmas.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 


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