Aluminum Machining Made Easier

Aluminum Machining Made Easier

The modern machine shop has high-tech equipment and can cut, mill, shape, and create many parts and components. In fact, if you offer custom metal fabrication services, your shop may need to work with a variety of metals from time to time. If your customers want aluminum parts, your machinists need to create them in the most efficient way possible. However, aluminum alloys are not always easy to work with and here are some tips to make the process faster and easier on your budget.


Did you know a horizontal machining center is best for working with aluminum alloys? Chip buildup is a major concern when machining soft metals like aluminum, and with an HMC, chips fall away naturally. The HMC design lets you mill, bore, and grind aluminum faster and more efficiently. If you don’t have a good HMC and do a lot of aluminum work, you may want to consider buying one. However, for occasional aluminum machining, (or if you can’t afford new machinery) you can outsource the work to an experienced custom metal fabrication shop.

Aluminum Alloy Drilling

Drilling is sometimes a problem when you use aluminum. It’s important to have the sharpest bit possible, and carbide is best. It takes more pressure to drill through soft metals, and this causes heat buildup. It’s not a good idea to dry machine aluminum, and you should use light weight cutting oil.

Drilling speed is an important consideration. For example, large holes need slower drilling speeds. Custom metal fabrication specialists keep an eye on drilling chips. If they have a blue color, the metal is too hot, and you need to slow down the process. You can use more lubricant and lessen the pressure also. It’s a good idea to drill a pilot hole before boring large holes. This keeps heat buildup to a minimum.

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