Question: How do I determine the best tool to use?
VoluMill will improve the performance of any cutting tool. But it really helps in yielding the maximum return on investment in higher-quality tools. Since VoluMill drives cutting tools as they were designed to be driven, the highest productivity increases can be achieved with better cutting tools. We and many of our customers have experienced excellent results with tools from a wide variety of manufacturers. As mentioned in the answer to the previous question, tools with more flutes tend to work better with VoluMill. Since the material removal rate is precisely controlled, chip clearance is not a problem, and the greater number of flutes results in a faster feedrate at the same feed-per-tooth value. In addition, the more flutes a tool has, the stronger its core is. We have found that 3-flutes are ideal for aluminum and softer materials, and 5-flutes have performed well in a wide range of harder materials.
Tool diameter is also something to consider. VoluMill toolpaths reach their highest actual feedrates when the tool has more room to “stretch its legs”. For example, many customers have realized their greatest cycle-time reductions by dropping down in size from 3/4-inch or 5/8-inch tools to 1/2-inch tools when converting from traditional toolpaths to VoluMill toolpaths. The added bonus there, of course, is the lower cost of the smaller tools.