Cylindrical cutters, or cylindrical milling cutters, are cutting tools that are designed to perform rough milling and remove materials rapidly by their movement within the machines. They are widely applied for milling machines and machining centers. The shape and helix design enable cylindrical cutters to directly remove large amounts of difficult material. They are suitable for side milling, heavy milling, heavy cutting, rough machining or other applications that require rapid stock removal. Rapid stop removal with milling cutters is also known as hogging.
In addition to impressive cutting ability and excellent metal cutting rate, cylindrical milling cutters have the ideal ability to clear and release the chips while milling. Compared with general roughing end mills, cylindrical cutters can cut faster and heavier thanks to the wavy tooth. Cylindrical milling cutters create relatively rough finishes on the material surface and a large number of small chips from cutting edges constantly. The chips are thin and short, which is easier to clear than the thicker form. Cylindrical cutters are available in diameters ranging from 15 to 20 centimeters, and the length varies from 40 to 50 centimeters.
The vital features of cylindrical cutters include the flute, the teeth, the helix angle, the coating, and the shank.
● Flutes: The flutes refer to the deep spiral grooves on cylindrical milling cutters and all the other milling cutters. While the cylindrical cutter is rotating and cutting, the chips will be carried by the flutes and pulled out with the rotation.
● Helix angle: The flutes always spiral in cylindrical cutters and other cutting tools for mills. Otherwise, the straight flutes and teeth construction can only impact and cut the material at once, causing poor surface, low accuracy, and inefficient material removal. The main goal of cylindrical cutters is to quickly remove metal materials, so they have low helix angles that are more suitable for hard and tough metals.
● Teeth: The sharp blades along the flutes, which is responsible for cutting and removing the metal materials, are the teeth. The cylindrical cutters often have more teeth than regular end mill cutters and jagged teeth in order to roughly remove the material at a high speed. The designs of multiple teeth can reduce the vibration and chatter caused by jagged teeth. With the type of teeth, the chips of metals are much smaller and thinner, which is easy to clear. However, cylindrical cutters with jagged teeth leave a relatively rough surface.
● Coatings: To further increase the speed of cutting, reducing the abrasive wear, prolong the cutting tool life, hard coating are often used for cylindrical milling cutters. For example, a polycrystalline diamond or titanium nitride coated cutting tool can last about 100 times longer than a regular one.
● Shank: Shanks are the non-fluted part of the milling cutter. They are used to locate the cylindrical cutter in the holder of milling machines. The diameter of the shank is often different from the cutting part in order to meet the standard holder.
Choosing the most suitable cylindrical milling cutter for the metalwork can reduce cost, energy, and the time cost taken by the operator and the milling machines. Especially, when the machining jobs involve a high volume of parts and might take a long machining time, a right cylindrical cutter can be very helpful.
For starters, larger cylindrical cutters can remove metals faster than regular ones, therefore for rough milling and rapid cutting, it is ideal to choose milling cutters as large as possible. However, the diameter of the shank must fit the standard holders in milling machines.
Secondly, the material of typical milling cutters made of is tungsten carbide or high-speed steel (HHS). High-speed steel refers to cobalt steel alloys, which is most cost-efficient however have a shorter life. For faster cutting to reduce the long process, cobalt-bearing high-speed steels or cemented carbide cutting tools will be more suitable. Although they are more expensive, the efficiency will prove them more economical over time.
When it comes to the flutes on the cylindrical cutters, more flutes and teeth provide higher cutting speed since less material needs to be removed per teeth. However, the balance must be aware of the room for chips when the flutes and core diameter increase.
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