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Tool wear

Message 1 of 5
204 Views, 4 Replies

Tool wear

Not necessarily a Fusion question but machining in general I hope to get some Insite on. 


I have many years of experience with CNC milling but am fairly new to metal work machining.  Im milling some pretty complex molds that are like 95% surface machining in 6061 T6 There are only a few flat faces in the cavity of the molds as well as the case lines. All my past experience was milling plastics, tooling board, sculpting wax etc. back in my toy industry career.  SO never had to manage or deal with tool wear.  I need to machine 40 mold 1/2s and there is a pretty long list of tooling, from 1/2 FL EM to 3/64 ball end mills all of which is carbide except 1 lollypop cutter that is a vanadium steel jewelers bur and even a couple carbide lollypop cutters for hitting some undercuts.  There are several drilling ops, that include drilling, undersized pre reaming end mills to final reaming ops to size. 


SO big question is will I even start to see any issues with tool wear with 40 molds? How do you approach and manage this? There is really only 1 feature in the mold cavity that I can realistically measure consistently, everything else is very organic in form.  


Should I measure the tools? Or will I even see any changes in the actual dimension of the tools? I assume a lot of issues with part accuracy come from tools losing their edge and not necessarily getting smaller in size???  OR do they???  


Molds are 3x4x1.5" part in the mold cavity is about 23/4 X 1.5 

Message 2 of 5
in reply to: BillGEGHV

I wouldn't worry too much about tool wear in 6061,

I have tools that have been in my machine for years and are still pretty sharp and hold size fine



the only thing that generally damages them is if I accidently mill into steel, like my vice stop the other day

Message 3 of 5
in reply to: a.laasW8M6T

Yep, aluminum is awesome for keeping tool costs down, just got to watch out for those hard bits of fixturing....

Seth Madore
Customer Advocacy Manager - Manufacturing
Message 4 of 5
in reply to: BillGEGHV

Got it thanks guys, So when you do start seeing tool wear in harder materials it's literally the tool becoming smaller in diameter by a few tenths over time?   Just curious to understand the concept of it, since you hear a lot about it.  

Message 5 of 5
in reply to: BillGEGHV

Yeah, when tool wear starts to creep in, there is a reduction in effective cutting diameter. This can be a couple of things:

1) The tool has physically worn and will measure smaller than when you started using it. This would be likely in exotics or abrasive materials

2) the tool has lost its sharpness and is deflecting away from the part (or deflecting the part itself). This is expected behavior in steels and other alloys.


You have to determine what your line of comfort is and how much you're willing to compensate for. In stainless, I seldom adjust compensation beyond .0015" or so, as it's likely that the tool has lived its useful life and is due for replacement. 


The above focused mainly on bull-endmills (endmill with a corner radius). These are the strongest tools to use for Adaptive and Pocket roughing as well as 2D Contour finishing operations (unless you need a sharp internal corner on the floor/wall intersection).


Ball Mills also wear, but 3D finishing operations don't have a mechanism that allows for adjustment of this. One thing to watch out for is wearing a flat on the tool (if you're doing a lot of sloped wall finishing and it just so happens that you're using the same relative spot on the tool (Parallel and Contour tend to be culprits at this, especially in a 3-axis only mode)

Seth Madore
Customer Advocacy Manager - Manufacturing

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