Essential Tips for Efficient Aluminium Machining


Follow Us

Essential Tips for Efficient Aluminium Machining

Aluminium is a soft and ductile material which has an expansive array of applications in various industries which includes automobile, aerospace, electronics and construction. To mobilise the potential of this versatile material, precise and efficient aluminium techniques are very important. Additionally, the efficiency of aluminium drilling process depends on various factors like tool geometry, processing conditions, materials and cutting and parameters.Similarly, it’s crucial to learn the correct aluminium cutting technique to achieve high-quality finish. Following are some tips for aluminium machining to maximise the efficiency:


1. Detailed Understanding of the Properties of Aluminium

Before exploring the aluminium cutting and drilling techniques,it is vital to understand the properties of the metal.Aluminium is soft and ductile(ability to draw into thin wires).It is strong but also lightweight and corrosion resistant.At the same time,aluminium has high thermal conductivity and low melting point, therefore the tricky situations must be managed in order to prevent damage and other frustrations.


2. Usage of the Right Tooling

Selecting the right cutting tool is the first and one of the most important step to achieve precision and efficiency in aluminium machining.Due to aluminium’s ductility(ability to draw into thin wires) and it's very low melting point because of which it can stick to the cutting edge of the tools, it needs specific tools to work with.Therefore, to avoid such situations, carbide cutting tools or diamond coated tools are used that can withstand high RPMs while maintaining a sharp cutting edge to keep cutting right along the metal.

When using carbon cutting tools, it is preferable to select high hardness carbide tooling.A helix angle of 35 to 45 degrees must be aimed to minimise heat generation while still achieving a good finished surface.Also,cutting aluminium produces long chips,hence choose tools with maximum of three flutes as it assists in good chip clearance.

When choosing aluminium drilling tools, the following factors must be considered:

  • Drill bit parameters like material and the coating
  • Type of drill bit which includes center, twist, step, body, conical, reamer or inserts
  • The diameter of the hole
  • The angle and length of the bit,


3. Usage of the Correct Speeds and Feeds

Optimising the cutting parameters is important to achieve efficient aluminium machining. The use of high speed machining techniques which implies faster spindle speeds and feed rates can remarkably reduce machining time and enhance productivity with a exceptional quality of the finished product.Speed and feed rates play a crucial role in the process.Also, check with a speeds and feeds calculator or our tooling manufacturer’s charts.


4. Choosing a Cutter with Low Flute Count

While choosing a cutting tool for aluminium an important factor is the cutting tool. The less flutes a cutter has, the more space there is to evacuate the chips.Two flute cutters are perfect, with single and three flute tools are also effective.


5. Maintaining a Good Temperature

Cutting aluminium creates heat, which can affect the tool life,prevent material softening,poor finished surface and workpiece malfunction. Therefore, proper cooling and lubrication are essential to dissipate heat and to prevent chips build up.The coolant cutting fluid aids in heat dissipation, evacuation of chip build up and reduction of friction.In addition, using a water soluble coolant or air blast system can assist in maintaining same cutting temperatures and improving the overall efficiency.


6. Tool Path Strategy

Choosing the right tool path strategy is important for precision in aluminium cutting. Techniques like trochoidal milling and high efficiency milling establishes a smooth and continuous cutting motion with minimal vibrations and tool deflection. The tool path strategy helps in dimensional precision and better finished surface.


7. Watch Your Chips

The long chips created while cutting aluminium builds up around the tooling which causes various problems like sticky buildup, increasing heat etc.It is important to clear the chips.the 3 flute maximum on the cutter helps in chip removal.Incorporating a cutting fluid will help flush away chips.An air blasting system also helps to keep it clean.

The colour of the chips indicates various problems:

Silver-Indicates healthy chip formation.Shows good work.

Blue or darker-Probable heat build up.The cutting parameters must be adjusted or a coolant must be used.

Red or glowing-Indicates critical heat conditions.Immediate action must be taken to reduce the heat,

Black or smoky-Indicates the life of the tool is coming to an end.Cutting parameters and tooling geometry must be checked.



To summarise, aluminium is highly machinable but it has its own characteristics and set of challenges. Understanding the material is one of the ways to learn how to machine it more efficiently. Always make sure the feeds and speeds are correct. Use two flute, uncoated carbide cutter and don’t let the chips clog the tools.Still having problems? MG Saws has driven excellence over 50 years ensuring high-precision machining and superior quality output.MG Saws is a leading Aluminium Cutting Machine Supplier and Aluminium Drilling Machine Supplier providing aluminium cutting solutions in the GCC region.