Cutting 1.6mm Aluminium sheet

I’m looking for guidance for a starting point to “cut out” a design from 1.6mm aluminium. I see reference to a Video with settings that Ryan posted about a year ago but I can’t find it and having read through some of the posts on the forum I can’t find any basic settings to start out: X and Y speeds, depth of cut, accelerations and router RPM etc. I plan to use a 3mm bit and accept that with a Makita router any suggestions would only be a starting point but any guidance would be appreciated. Using Estlcam 10 as the CAM generator and controlling from an SD card.



1mm depth of cut 15mm/s x/y 10% trochoidal length 50%width .05mm oscillation. That’s my starting point, then I adjust from there. You might be able to do full depth of cut. Also, you have to have some way to get the chips out of the cut, vacuum, or air blast.


Since the plate is so thin, I would actually advise not to use trochoidal. Trochoidal only makes sense when you want to cut out a block of material, or at least thicker than the diameter of the tool. It helps with chip evacuation in deep slots and wears your tool more evenly. With something so thin though the advantages of that strategy become more of a setback. (longer time, bigger file, more conduit wear) If you have all the patience in the world ignore what I just said.

I cut out like 70 individual small 1.5mm thick plates, and the way to go here is to just slot normally. I used .5mm DOC, 10mm/s, single flute at 30krpm. Those are kind of aggressive since remember, it is a full width cut. I would start off with a really shallow doc. Either way, try both and see what works for you.

Most important, don’t go too slow at first! You need to keep the cutter engaged in material fast enough or it will just rub and it will get ugly quick.

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HI all,

I have just started some cutting/milling of aluminum.

1.) I tried single flute, 3mm diameter with 2mm/s XY feedrate and 0,1 mm/s for Z, 1mm doc . Broke after 2 seconds, unbeliavable, lost 30USD. Cutting in depth was ok but as soon as the spindle started moving it broke in 2 pieces and one remained in the material.

2.) Tried double flute 3mm dia, same settings and luckily used emergency stop after 10 seconds and saved the bit.

3.) Used trochoidal milling with double flute 3mm with settings : 10mm FR, 4mm Plunge, 1,5 mm doc , 90% stepover, 2,5% Troc.step length , 50% and 0.05 oscillation. It went ok, nice and good only setback is the time. Small heart 30mm took 30 minutes.


Are the settings in ESTL for feed rate anyhow connected with stepper rates? If stepper rates are 6400 is it affecting the feerate compared to stepper rates of 3200?

I ask this becouse I see a lot of different settings for aluminum cutting over internet and in forum.

I lost already 2 bits each 30USD. They stop cutting, spindle continues and bits get dragged, bend and break. Any advise would be appreciated.



A video might help a lot here. If you aren’t sure if your machine is moving at the right speed you should probably switch back to marlin so we know it is right and/or put up a video so we can;t tell you if it looks like the speed you set.

Have you done any wood or plastic milling yet?



Are u sure ur feed is correct? It is hard to break a bit in 2 seconds when you’re running that slow. Too slow is more of a cutter overall life reduction, not instant failure. A video would be awesome


Few more questions:

1.) Is it better to use 4mm bit or 3mm ?

Hi Ryan and Kevin,

Unfortunatelly I dont have a video when the bit broke. I am using Marlin, didnt yet switched to ESTL controller albeith it is in my plans.

Yes, I worked on HD foam, some plastics and wood but mostly engraving and using laser.

I made a video of trochoidal milling if it helps. The settings were 10mm/s FR, 1.5mm doc, 4mm/s Z Plunge , 2.5%Tr.step , 50% and 0.05osc. However the step over was set to 90% as I don`t know yet how last parameter affects cutting.

I need to learn how to post the video though as it has 70Mb.

Could I measure if set feed rate is correct by raising the bit above material and measure the length of movement against time?

I was also surprised, like the bit stoppped cutting or the spindle was to fast. On one previous attempts I noticed aluminum got stuck to the bit, melted and reduced cutting force. I cleaned the bit afterwards and was better.

So, I need first to determine if the feed rate is correct and mean time will try to see how to post video…

Thanks for prompt answers btw.

Barry has some good settings above in this thread.

I think you should try them, in wood or plastic. Test cuts are a way of life. Make sure your file works in something softer first and then move up to metal. Save a ton of bits that way, might also be best to start with some cheaper ones. The expensive ones usually have very specific purposes and at $30 you might have the wrong ones. Some require coolant some will not work with coolant, etc.

You are talking about speed settings in estlcam control, are you positive you didn’t upload them the the board? How do you actually run your files?

You can watch some videos from the video page and do some visual comparisons to see if your speed is at least close.

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Here the video of trochoidal milling aluminum settings 10mm/s XY, 4mm/s Z , 2.5%TS, 50%, 0.05osc 1.5mm doc

Hi Ryan,

I use ESTL CAM and generate gcode, after I upload it with Repetier. I ment the settings for feed rates in ESTLCAM when generating gcode. Currently with 3mm and 4mm double flute bits and using trochoidal is going ok. Since I want to cut a frame of aluminum 6mm thich, frame dimension is 450mm x 450 mm with trochoidal it could take 8 hours…

Yes, I watched many videos and thought I am ready :slight_smile:

I just calculated the table speed (feed rate) from maker. For aluminum and 24K RPM is 24 mm/s till 72 mm/s .

I guess I was milling just tooo slow , perhaps the material fused to bit.

So you broke a bit while slotting at 1mm doc, 2mm/s, after 2 seconds? Something doesn’t add up. If a tool breaks within a few seconds chances are your feed and depth were way too high to the point where it bites off more than it can chew. Start with something softer like wood or plastic, and Ryan is right. Those expensive end mills are no place for our machines. The are tailored torwards specific needs and because of it, have a high price tag and are not as forgiving. Using a cheaper and more general use end mill will save you the headache of watching 20 dollars break in half.


As a general rule when slotting, do a shallow DOC with a fast feedrate. This way your chips will be the right width and you will have minimum cutting force due to such a low depth.

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Thanks Kevin,

sadly I can find locally only bits around 25€ which is roughly 30USD. Will try to find cheaper bits for sure. This bits are for steels, hardened and alloyed steels, titan, brass, bonze and aluminum.

You are write, also above you mentioned shallow cut - doc. I was actually slotting with 3mm dia single flute 1.5 mm(actually 2mm) deep with 2mm/s feed rate. Anyway the bit broke a bit too fast and I will revert back to maker.

Performed again test with double flute with above settings and it flexed but didn`t break and still ok.

As per maker the doc must be within 0.3 and 0.75mm with feed rate higher than 24 mm/s and RPM higher than 22K rpm. I only found the settings from the maker few hours ago.

With trochoidal step of 0.3mm I could go 3 mm doc.

Monday will measure if feed rate corresponds to the set up and test again with higher feed rate and shallow doc 0.3mm and hope for good results.

I am not sure if I can use same bits on wood or plastics? Do you use same bits or specific for wood?


You can use them on wood.

I’m not sure what you are looking for the video was fine. You can probably mill all the way through and save some time.

You keep switching your bit size in the posts, are you also switching them in your CAM, you have to update it to your exact bit each time or you will break things.

HI Ryan,

Thanks. Trochoidal milling was ok, only concern was it takes a lot of time and thus I wanted to mill straight trough to buy time.

For 2 frames using troch mill and same settings I had would take more than 18 hours and this is long. I will try settings as you suggested and test again on wood first.

I’m just imaging what it would be like tunning a dw660 for 18 hours. Aaaah I would go nuts.


With trochoidal, go heavy on the depth. You would be surprised how much depth it can handle. If you’re cutting 1.3mm sheet then I would say no to trochoidal, it makes no sense here. You should be able to do a shallow slot like that no problem. Thinner material is way more forgiving in my experience. Something tells me your CAM settings are really whacko. Maybe you’re moving way faster than the software value



Thanks Kevin,

Yes, will have to measure if speed - feed rates correspond to actuall settings. And 18 hours is really long to stand, vacuum and watch :).

I have 6400 steps on ramps with drv8825 for all axis.

I thought would be as with 3d printing, let it do its job and come back when finished :slight_smile: .

How do you adjust the z hight prior starting the job? I manually move the spindle until it touches the material, disconnect and connect back repetier host to zero the position and than start. In some occasions the bit first lowers down 0.5 mm, raise and moves to position.

I am travelling now and eager to test new settings on monday. Will revert back. After when all set , need to remove the dispaly from ramps and set up estl controller with probe and xbox controller to make it easier.