Composite end mills are designed for creating shapes or holes in workpieces during different kinds of machining, such as milling, drilling, contouring, slotting and so on. To help with the machine tool, the composite end mill has cutting teeth on both the face and the edge of the end body. Composite end mills are responsible for cutting a wide range of composites or other materials that are difficult for machining in different directions.
Composite materials refer to the materials that combine two or more dissimilar materials with individual benefits and characteristics. The combination allows the original materials to acquire new series of advantages that cannot be achieved by their own. Industrial composites are mostly manufactured from the process of laminated plies that are embedded in a polymer matrix, layer-by-layer. The plies are mainly made from straight and continuous fibers, such as glass, aramid or carbon. On the other hand, a polymer matrix, which is the host material, is mostly polyester, epoxy, phenolic and so on.
Abrasive composite materials or composite materials with high fiber reinforcement are difficult for machining and cutting. Following are the problems that interfere with the manufacturing process during cutting composite. First of all, the multiple layers of composites might delaminate. Secondly, the fiber of high-fiber composite might be teared or pulled out, or even too strong to cut. Moreover, the cutting tools might have uneven tool wear, resulting in the poor surface finish or imperfect holes. These problems are normal since the combination of different materials introduce many factors and advantages, making the composite materials particularly difficult to drill or cut.
Composite end mill that has diamond cut or other designs that focus on composites cutting can be the solution for profiling your composite products. They play crucial roles across the industry since composite materials are developed and advanced throughout the last half century. Composite end mills can be applied to a large range of machining tools to create essential gears for racing cars, helicopters, commercial planes, and sport equipment.
Choosing the composite end mill that can focus on the characteristics of the composite materials are important to optimize the cutting performance of machine tools. Here is the introduction of four different types of composite end mill, which include straight flute composite end mill, compression composite end mills, chip-breaker end mills, and diamond cut end mills.
Straight flute composite end mills are also known as straight flute composite cutters. It is particularly designed for preventing the delamination of layers of composite materials. Straight flute composite end mills apply all forces in a radial way. The feature allows the cutter to get rid of the axial forces generated from the helical cutting edge. The cutters can shear the difficult fibers with a high positive rake angle. Straight flute composite end mills are most suitable for peripheral milling.
Also known as compression cutters, compression composite end mills have up cut and down cut helixes. Half of the cut body has “left-hand spiral” and right-hand teeth while the other half has “right-hand spiral” and right-hand teeth. The design generates opposing forces during cutting, and also enables to stabilize the material without lifting, fiber pullout, delamination or other problems.
The chip-breaker end mills or chip-breaker cutters are suitable for roughing and profiling high-fiber composite materials. The unique geometry of the notch-like chip-breakers allows them to cut difficult fibers and shorten chips and also helps the evacuation of composites. Chip- breaker end mills can be useful since the chips are small, preventing the stringy fiber chips interfere with the cutting.
Diamond cut end mills can be subdivided into end mill style and drill mill style. Both of them have the feature of down-cut geometry on the outside diameter and the combination of left-hand cutting teeth and right-hand cutting teeth. Similar to chip-breaker type, diamond cut end mills can perform roughing and profiling the high-fiber composite materials effectively. As for the difference between two styles of diamond cutters, the end mill style cutters perform center cutting while the drill mill style cutters have 140°point angle. The drill mill style therefore is more ideal for plunge cutting and clearing the out pockets which are in the center of composites sheets.
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