Aluminum Alloy Cutting Parameters: Expert Recommendations


  1. Due to the relatively low strength and hardness, small plasticity, low tool wear, and high thermal conductivity of aluminum alloy, the cutting temperature is lower, making it easier to cut and a suitable material for high-speed cutting. However, the low melting point of aluminum alloy leads to increased plasticity at high temperatures and pressures, resulting in substantial friction at the cutting interface, which can cause tool adhesion. In particular, annealed aluminum alloys are difficult to obtain a low surface roughness.
  2. Compared to steel and brass, aluminum alloy has two distinct characteristics: the material is soft and less rigid, and its elastic modulus is low. These two factors significantly affect the machinability of aluminum alloy. Therefore, when machining aluminum alloy workpieces, it is necessary to clamp and support the workpiece adequately and keep the cutting tools sharp. Otherwise, the workpiece tends to move away from the cutting tool. Sometimes irregular grooves and shiny compression marks appear on the surface of the workpiece. One possibility is that the pressure of the cutting tool on the workpiece is not normal, and another possibility is that the cutting tool rubs gap-style on the surface of the workpiece when there is insufficient clamping or vibration occurs, resulting in compression and powdery cutting. Then, when the gap or elasticity disappears, the cutting tool bites into the surface of the workpiece and leaves grooves.
  3. To achieve a smooth surface finish on workpieces, it is best to use a combination of rough and finish cutting. This is because various qualified workpiece blanks tend to have some oxide layers that cause considerable wear on the cutting tools. If sharp, polished cutting tools are used for the final cutting process, the above requirements can be met.
  4. Aluminum alloy cutting properties are generally divided into two categories: Category 1 refers to industrial pure aluminum and annealed aluminum alloys with a hardness less than 80HB, while Category 2 refers to deformation aluminum alloys in quenched and aged states. The cutting process parameters for aluminum alloy depend on these categories.
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Typical cutting parameters for high-speed steel and cemented carbide cutting tools

OperationTool materialsCategory of MachiningCutting Speed
Back Rake Angle
End Relief Angle
Feed Rate
Cutting Depth
Rough turning.High-speed steel.1200-4004043330-40≤140252no
Cemented carbide1600-12004036920-300.3-0.640252no
Finish turning.High-speed steel.1400-9004040040-500.05-0.30.3-2.5Cutting Fluid (Emulsion or Cutting Oil)
Cemented carbide1≤24004040020-30≤0.150.3-2.5Cutting Fluid (Emulsion or Cutting Oil)

Typical Cutting Parameters for Diamond Tooling

Category of MachiningMilling Speed
Feed rate
Cutting Depth for Long Chip Alloy
Cutting Depth for Short Chip Alloy

Typical Milling Parameters for Aluminum Alloy

Operation.Tool material.Category of MachiningMilling Speed
Lead Angle
Side Tilt Angle
Feed rate
Milling Depth
Helix Angle
Rough millingHigh-speed steel1300-6008250.1-0.54022930-40no
2150-4006200.1-0.540229≤30Water-soluble coolant.
Cemented carbide1≤25008200.1-0.64022930-40no
Finish millingHigh-speed steel1≤150012300.03-0.1≤0.530-40Water-soluble coolant.
2250-80010250.03-0.1≤0.5≤30Water-soluble coolant or oil.
Cemented carbide1≤300012250.03-0.1≤0.530-40Water-soluble coolant.
2500-150010200.03-0.1≤0.5≤30Water-soluble coolant or oil.

Typical parameters for twist drilling in aluminum alloy

Tool materialCutting type
Milling speed (m/min)
Point angle (°)Helix angle (°)Feed rate (mm/r)Secondary relief angle (°)Coolant
High-speed steel1100-12014045-300.02-0.517-15Water-soluble coolant
280-10012035-200.02-0.515Water-soluble coolant
Cemented carbide1200-30013025-150.06-0.312No coolant or water-soluble coolant
2100-200120404660.06-0.312No coolant or water-soluble coolant
NoteLow speed is recommended for drilling small holes.When drilling on thin plates, it is recommended to increase the point angle or use a drill with a positive rake angle.When drilling small holes, it is recommended to use a drill with a small helix angle.The feed rate for drilling small holes should be small.When grinding the secondary relief angle, it is important to select the appropriate angle.It is better to use a water-soluble coolant

Typical drilling parameters before tapping threads in aluminum alloy

Standard threadM3M3.5M4M4.5M5M6M8M10M12M14M16
Hole diameter (mm)2.73.753.

Typical boring parameters for aluminum alloy

ToolTool materialMilling speed
Feed rate
Point angle
Helix angle
Secondary relief angle
Replaceable boring cutterHigh-speed steel.25-400.2-0.314030-208Water-soluble coolant
Cemented carbide60-1000.1-0.312020-156Water-soluble coolant
Trial boring cutterHigh-speed steel25-400.2-0.330-208Water-soluble coolant
Cemented carbide60-1000.1-0.320-156Water-soluble coolant
Expanding boring cutterHigh-speed steel20-300.3-0.660-1206Water-soluble coolant
Cemented carbide50-700.2-0.560-1206Water-soluble coolant
Boring barHigh-speed steel25-400.05-0.630-2012No coolant or water-soluble coolant
Cemented carbide60-1000.05-0.620-1510No coolant or water-soluble coolant

Typical reaming parameters for aluminum alloy

ToolTool material.Chamfer (°).Lead angle (°).Reaming speed (m/min).The feed rate (mm/r) for the reamed hole diameter (mm) is as follows:
Hand reamer.High-speed steel.4540241/////
Cemented carbide.4540241/////
Hob.High-speed steel.300404710.1-0.20.2-0.40.3-0.50.4-0.8
Cemented carbide.30020-500.2-0.30.3-0.50.4-0.70.5-1.0
Deviation.The allowable deviation (mm/r) of the reamed hole diameter (mm) is as follows:
Insufficient diameter of pre-drilled hole.High-speed steel.≤10>10-25>25-40>40
Cemented carbide.≤0.20.1-0.30.1-0.30.2-0.5

Note: The coolant used is a mixture of kerosene-turpentine oil (5:4), or mineral oil with a viscosity of about 33°E, or high-quality oil. The quality of dry reamed holes is not very high.

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