router with endmill on steel

Could you use a router at slow speed with a small 1/4" endmill on steel or aluminum taking very light cuts with coolant? How about a

1/4" spiral up carbide woodworking bit?
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You can route aluminum, but steel is hopeless.

Woodworking bits may be too light, unless we are talking about trimming the edge of a piece of thin sheetmetal.

Coolant recommended for thicker stock, but what a mess it will make. Bit spins at 10,000 rpm min, and will throw the coolant everywhere.

Coolant must not be flammable. Water-based coolant recommended. But keep it out of the router motor and bearings.

This isn't sounding like a very good idea, even if you can make it kinda work. What are you trying to make?

Joe Gwinn

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Joseph Gwinn

Forget steel. Even if you can get the speed down the chatter is going to wipe out your carbide em.

The spiral up carbide sounds like it might work in aluminum but be prepared to ruin it. If you are trying to get any sort of depth in aluminum, I wouldn't try for an end mill diameter slot. Better to go with reduced diameter so you won't be bouncing against both sides of slot.

This opinion is worth what you paid for it ;) Report back results.


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Mark, This is definitely an interesting concept! I feel that what you are trying to achieve is to make an impression onto an aluminium flat sheet? Would it be a better idea to get the top (Thinner) sheet cut by laser, and then layer this on top of a solid sheet of aluminium, thereby, giving the effect of indenting the top sheet with the pattern you require? Just a thought. Best regards, Anthony.

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Could have shipped it back to enco, but fix was fast and easy...


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xmradio you have a video camera?

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Tom Gardner

I have used a router on aluminium. But only to camfer edges. Works great with woodworking carbide bits. I wouldn't try it on steel.

If you intend to use it for engraving: Pay attention! The bits for handheld routers do have a chip-limiter (right expression?) and you can't use normal metalworking bits for that!


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Nick Mueller

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