If you have a shop (or a customer) that machines aluminum and aluminum alloys as its go-to substrate, why are you selling/buying general purpose tools?

You are working with the most popular-to-machine material. How does your company stand out from your competitors who machine aluminum? Isn’t the advantage of aluminum that it is already free-machining and more desirable to work with in the first place? Isn’t it likely your competitors have reached the same conclusion? If you are using general purpose tools, you are likely getting similar results to your competition. Here’s a suggestion on how to make a competitive advantage.

Application specific tools like the TMAL series from North American Tool allow you to optimize the tool you use for the aluminum you machine. Take advantage of a more aggressive geometry, a micro-grain carbide substrate and the ZrN coating to give you a performance advantage over general purpose tools.

What makes these tools application specific and how are they different?

  •  Geometry

Higher helix for this application specific tool improves chip evacuation and takes advantage of the properties inherent in aluminum: malleability and elasticity. This permits higher feed rates and lower horsepower usage from your machine. In turn, the limited amount of deflection that takes place “in the cut” is transferred vertically and reduces overall vibration. The tools also feature an axial coolant hole to deliver the coolant “closer to the action” and add lubricity while extending tool life.

  • Coating

The ZrN coating applied 1 to 4 microns thick reduces build up on the cutting edge, resists abrasive wear, improves lubricity, reduces overall friction and extends the life of the tool. This coating is used in many medical applications because it is a bio-compatible hard ceramic coating that has a cosmetically appealing light gold appearance.

Thread Mill Brochure

Check out this link to our Thread Mill Brochure and find the tool that was created for your job. The TMAL tools are featured on pages 13 – 14. Page 13 features fractional sizes from #10 up to ¾” with pitches from 10 to 32, while page 14 has metric sizes from M5 to M16. Additional sizes are available upon request. Our research indicates the smaller the tool, the more that needs to be analyzed when creating the geometry so that failure is NOT an option.

Also, if you have jobs that require NPT or NPTF threads, page 10 features our TMAL series for pipe threads. Sizes are available off the shelf from 1/16 up to 2 ½” and standard pipe thread pitches from 8 up through 27.

Keep in mind all diameters specified are just the shank the pitches are ground on. Your hole size should be large enough to allow for the circular interpolation to take place on your CNC equipment. It is generally recommended (call it a guideline, not a rule) that the tool diameter should not exceed 80% of the hole size for which it is used. We offer programming information on page 16 and troubleshooting info on page 17 for your convenience.