Shoulder Mill

High-performance shoulder mills are an excellent choice for small diameter roughing and finishing operations. Shoulder mills are specially designed to cover ramping, grooving, and plunging in the aerospace, energy, and general engineering industries. Small diameter cutters use only one insert, which improves productivity, reduces inventory, and reduces machining costs. Inserts are designed with elliptical cutting edges with a 90-degree straight face and true pitch, which allows replacing SCEM finishing in some applications.

The function of Shoulder Mills

Shoulder mills cut in two directions (transverse and axial) to make 90 ° cuts during shoulder milling operations. Sometimes referred to as 0/90 degree cutters, they have flutes to evacuate chips and have slots at the ends of the flutes to hold the cutting inserts. Shoulder mill cutters mount on a milling machine and use replaceable, indexable cutting inserts that can be rotated, in other words, indexed, to reveal a fresh cutting edge as it tries to dull. Inserts can be replaced with new ones of the same type or a different type without removing the shoulder mill cutter from the machine. Replacement mills require fewer tool changes than solid tools in high-volume, high-speed, high-feed, and difficult-to-machine metalworking and manufacturing applications.

Shoulder milling produces two surfaces simultaneously, which in tandem with face milling, requires peripheral milling. One of the most significant criteria is to obtain a genuine 90-degree shoulder. With traditional shoulder mills, as well as shoulder mills, long-edge mills, and side and face mills, shoulder milling may be achieved. Because of these various choices, in order to make the best decision, it is important to carefully consider the operating requirements.

Advantages of Shoulder Mills

Shoulder mill cutters have tangentially mounted inserts for greater break resistance and excellent cast iron machining results due to fine-tooth pitch. High feed and downfeed speeds in roughing are also achieved when machining materials such as inox and titanium; surface quality and processing stability are excellent.

90 Degree Shoulder Mills

90-degree shoulder mills offer aggressive cut angles up to around 9 degrees with guided internal coolant; features that together help increase material removal rate and chip removal. The different tool bodies contain an optimized flute that is designed to optimize stability, chip removal, and cutting performance. Most models are suitable for everything from light precision machining to medium rough machining. Double-sided 16mm shoulder mill inserts feature an embedded wiper edge for a high-quality surface finish, extra margin on the clearance surface to strengthen the cutting edge, and a positive rake design that produces a soft cut.

Another benefit is that 90-degree shoulder mills are typically offered in a variety of grades for machining cast iron, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and many other additive materials. Each insert grade is offered with the ALP, ML, MM, and MH insert geometry option. ALP is a peripheral ground geometry for roughing and finishing machining of aluminum alloys, while ML is designed for light and finishing machining of stainless steel and titanium. MM and MH are general and heavy cut grades designed for many types of material.

Shoulder Mill Considerations

Different tool body materials provide different stiffness at different lengths. This is also true for shoulder mills. Steel works best at a ratio of 1: 3 times the diameter, heavy metals at 1: 5 times the diameter, and carbide 1: 6 times the diameter. For length to diameter ratios greater than seven, use tools with built-in dedicated damping devices. Always give yourself the best chance of success by using the shortest possible gauge length for your tool material.


CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) coatings on shoulder mill cutters are usually thicker and provide better heat protection during large contact arcs. The thickness of these coatings tends to round the cutting edges and does not make the tool sharp. This can have a negative effect when making finish cuts with small feedback arcs but again is beneficial if there is heat in the process. If materials tend to be "sticky or sticky", CVD is not the first choice.

When making finishing cuts on shoulders or with a low arc of contact where sharp edges are required to prevent deflection or abrasion of the tool, PVD coatings should be the best choice. These thin coatings bring edge preparation closer to being as sharp as it should be. This helps to cut the material with a shoulder mill cutter, not move it around. These coatings do not cope well with heat and perform better in situations where a coolant is needed. They are also the best alternative to CVD in "sticky or rubbery" materials.

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