Anyone tested cutting Aluminium

Despite it’s not recommended to carve / mill / cut metal I wonder if anyone tested it on (soft) Aluminium yet. The carving bits I bought are not only for hard type of wood but also for soft metals like Al so with low stepping speed I think it might work.

Anyone already did this and like to share his experience (speed settings, depths etc)?

I would not recommend even attempting this without some sort of an enclosure. The chances of the bit breaking and flying off are very high. The issue isnt really with the bit. It has more to do with things like the spindle and overall rigidity of the machine. While SnapMaker has the made a very sturdy machine, the way the X axis is hung off the Z axis means that towards the end of X’s range of movement there is a relatively large amount of back and forth play. Couple that with a relatively under powered / inexpensive spindle with a fair bit of slop in its bearings the bit can move around quite a bit. Al has a tendency to grab onto bits and try to move them. Yes running at lower speeds decreases this effect, but it is still there. This can put quite a bit of stress on the bit resulting in it breaking off. SnapMaker is designing a CNC that has two Z linear modules and a better spindle so it can cut soft metals.

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The spindle is a big factor. The bit is not very true and the bearing in the motor may not be very sturdy.
I hope they come out with a greatly improved spindle module.
Hint Hint SM team, here’s a nice alternative:

It has a very nice built in ER8 chuck too.

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And what about light engraving (1-2 mm deep), with a ball end bit?

I imagine the stress on the printer would be much less than a full milling/drilling…

I’ve yet to even test it on wood but I gotta say I’m itchy to try some slow/shallow aluminum engraving!

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You can give it a try, but my recommendation is still the same. Make sure you are operating it in an enclosure. A snapped end mill to the eye (or anywhere else for that matter) is never fun.

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Sure! I have the official enclosure and will be wearing the safety glasses :slight_smile:

If I manage to get some time to test the CNC module, I will post the results here

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Even carving copper clad boards is proving difficult. I’m trying to use very small end mills instead of the conical bit and haven’t gotten very far into the job before they broke. I have an alternative collet for the factory spindle (and I’ll have yet another one arriving in a few days) that I’m going to compare with the factory set screw arrangement. I plan to use the shaft from one of my broken bits and a dial indicator to do runout measurements.

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I am thinking of making a mount for my Dremel tool. From what I can tell it will work just as well if not better.

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How much heavier is the Dremel? might be a problem… I look forward to your experiment

I agree that it might be too heavy, considering the reports of the z-axis crashing down. I’m pretty sure my cordless Dremel would be too heavy.

One early adopter just strapped a CNC motor onto the linear module. That would be a better solution IMO.

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if we do not push the boundaries we will never learn. Have fun

We have one of these Dremels here at work:
https://www.amazon.com/Dremel-4000-4-Performance-Attachments-Accessories/dp/B00LUU2XFO

Just the main head weighs 1.2 lbs (.54 Kg).
A mount like this:


Wouldn’t add much weight.

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Depends on the Dremel. For instance this one weight almost nothing:

https://www.dremel.com/en_US/products/-/show-product/tools/2050-stylo-versatile-craft-tool

Not sure how powerful that one is though.

Anybody know the watt rating of the Snapmaker’s spindle motor?

I completely forgot. I have the Dremel flex shaft:

https://www.amazon.com/Dremel-225-01-Flex-Shaft-Attachment/dp/B0000302Y8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1531490836&sr=8-3&keywords=dremel+flex+shaft&dpID=41EwdQ4z0rL&preST=SY300_QL70&dpSrc=srch

I am just going to make a mount for that.

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I actually thought of that, but couldn’t figure out in my head how you could mount it rigidly enough. Let us know what you come up with.

Already working on a mount for it. I found someone’s super detailed model of the handle for the flex shaft. I used that model to carve out a clamp that covers most of the handle body (leaving a hole to reach the thing for changing bits). This should give the clamp a crap ton of area to hold onto the handle. It is also going to use the two screw holes on the back to key off it and prevent it from rotating in the clamp. The hard part will be getting the Z height adjusted properly so it does not eat up too much of the Z travel. Funny thing is though I think I can get more Z travel than the stock CNC module with this as the bits can go up into the spindle. I am also going to try and positioning the bit so it can go all the way to the edge of the CNC plate to give more carving area.

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Using the flex shaft is a neat idea! I have one for my proxxon thingy.

How do you get the snapmaker to accept your fake tool? When I Switch the Snapmaker on without any head plugged in it does not even jog…

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Im replacing the electronics, but someone made a pen mount for snapmaker so they clearly knew a way.

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Really, all you need to do is connect the carving module electrically to the controller and then manually control the Dremel’s speed.