Cutting aluminum Injection molds on the Avid Pro4848

I go over the pros and cons of cutting aluminum injection molds on the Avid…

Hey Bill! I just saw this video in my feed and I was actually going to get in touch with you… so perfect that you posted here!

On my previous machine, I had this probe: and I absolutely loved it. I also had the same spindle that you have. I actually had this probe as one of my tools so I could automatically go pick up the probe and probe out parts for flip ops. I had my tool change macro set so that it would pick up the probe and then wait for the operator to connect the cable.

I was able to get this setup in my control easily. (I had a Centroid control). I have seen folks use probes like this in Mach 4, but I have never set one up myself. I bet @subnoize has set one up though.

For the misting, I know @jjneeb runs an IPA mister. I’ve been meaning to ask him what kind of alcohol he runs, and if or how he’s venting it. I’m about to set one up myself and I was wondering about the venting of alcohol.

Yup, probes are your bestest buddy in the whole world :wink:

I use a Fog Buster AND a Vortex Cooler. Fog Buster is lubrication and the vortex cooler is for cooling and clearing chips.

You cannot cool enough with a mist. Misting is tool lubrication.

To cool, especially aluminum you need something that can carry away the heat rapidly. That is why the vortex coolers are so nice for gantry style machines. It will cool 70 degrees lower than ambient and it is infinite (if you have a compressor that can handle the load).

The added benefit is the chip clearing.

What (if any) are you running on your machine?

That’s interesting… I wonder how that thing works… is it like blowing on your hot soup over and over again? :slight_smile:

Not to hijack my own thread, but I was thinking about getting me one of these:

I guess I need to get a vortex cooler too!

The Drewtronics like you are.

Oh! This is straight up “troll logic” for real. This is bouncing shockwaves around inside of vortex generators and one side super heated air is exhausted and the other side super cooled air.

This better explains it;

Funny they named it “LUBE-CUBE” but in the next words call it a “coolant mister system.” PICK ONE! It isn’t both. I guess the air blowing from the mist might cool but not at any meaningful way.

The trick is the lube goes on the tool and the cold air goes on the part. The heat is mostly in the chips if your speeds and feeds are correct. The little bit of heat going into the tool is actually good. ZRN coatings do better when warm.

The part you are milling though, very bad if it gets warm. It will change shape on you and cause all sorts of problems. Thus for our machines the mist is lube and thus very, very tiny drops. The cold air from the vortex cooler is directed about 1 inch below the end mill.

I also put dwells in the code before I get into the stock. Give it as much as 10 seconds to cool the stock before diving in.

I liked the Fogbuster that Robert Cowan reviewed in a video, but I don’t cut metal enough to warrant spending that much. So I made mine from parts on Amazon for <$50. Low cost IPA mist cooling/lubrication system for cutting metals on my AVID CNC router - YouTube . I think its basically the stuff that is in the

The thing I liked most was he was using IPA, which evaporates so it doesn’t make a gooey mess out of a woodcutting machine. Normal cutting fluids were a no go for me due to the mess.

I just use the cheapest bottle of IPA I can find on Amazon, and it goes a long way because you really just want it to spit a little.

IPA also has the advantage of evaporating quickly, so it cools very well due to the latent heat of vaporization. The Cool Tools look like they would work well, and I’m sure they cool better than room temp cutting oils, but I would be surprised if they cool better than IPA evaporating off the surface of the metal and cutting tool (the thermal conductivity of air sucks). They might improve things when combined (somebody with an IR camera should do some testing :-)), or it might make the surrounding air cool enough to slow the evaporation, hard to say without testing.

With IPA you have to have good fume extraction though. As mentioned its irriating, and it also flammable. You have to get it out of the room and dilute it enough to keep it from being a fire risk. Since I already cut wood on mine, i have a large dust collector and it exhausts to the outside air so that works great (except when I want to run my air conditioner in the garage :-)).

I haven’t cut much aluminum, but it made a night and day difference cutting brass.

Here’s a couple articles on the lubrication qualities of different liquids:

alcohols in group II—isopropyl alcohol (IPA), butyl alcohol, and ethanol—show the largest force reductions (nearly 80%) with aluminum, yet had no effect with Copper.

Which everyone’s favorite coolant for Aluminum is in fact IPA.

1 Like

Thanks for the reply!

I have that probe and tried to get it working for a couple of weeks before giving up. I could get it kinda sorta working, then it would randomly crash into the workpiece. After contacting Avid they said “We don’t support that” so I put it to the side for now. I have heard from others that the random probe crashing might be related to using WiFi on my controller, which would be a bit odd, but I have heard that from multiple people at this point. I decided I wanted to get started on my molds and put it to the side for now. So far it has not been a show stopper.

I think I might need to buckle down and build an enclosure then I can vent the alcohol out of the enclosure. Yet another project after I get through this run of molds…

That would be the hard coded G43 H1 we have all talked about. You cannot use the AvidCNC touch off with it. The Drewtronics probe is also NC as we have discussed before.

This is a known issue. Has zero to do with any wifi. I can replicate this at will so I have a pretty darn solid understanding of the issue.

Remember to use nitrogen for your pressurizing gas or you will blow yourself into next week! :scream:

You can use a high speed electric pump with a brushless motor as well… nitrogen isn’t the only means, just the easiest.

1 Like