MANUAL MACHINES > Milling Machines, vertical & horizontal

Milling copper

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Any suggestions on milling copper?

I'm making copper soft jaws for my bench vise. The only copper I could afford at the supplier was a 5x16x1/4 tin plated drop. I'll slice some strips from that to build up to at least 3/4". I'll braze them together. But they'll have to be milled clean. I have yet to work with copper. I know it's gummy and work hardens. I can figure out the speeds and feeds I'm sure, but anything to be cautious of or things to keep in mind or tricks?

grab a cup of coffee and read though this...

or use similar setting for 40xx aluminum. I have had good results machining copper this way.

you could also silver or regular solider the layers together, then mill it.   And I would think it would be just as gummy as bad AL if not worse.   I have not tried any copper as of yet.

Ken in SA

I forgot to mention, I use compressor oil or any non detergent oil for lubrication. Some oils containing suffer can stain the copper...ask me how I know  :-\ 

Watched my brother set up a machining center several years ago that was machining copper buss bars components.  Don't recall the material grade, as Paco said, basically the same tooling as used for machining aluminum. The only thing you had to different was in drilling and tapping holes.  Tapping was done with form taps, not cutting taps. Don't remember the coolant being used, I don't believe it was oil based in this application.  Don't see any issues using oils for coolant.  As Paco said, stay away from sulfurized and maybe chlorinated oils, if staining of the work piece is an issue.  Most of us would cut copper dry as that would be my choice.  Use something like Tap Magic for drilling/tapping holes.  Turning tools, try to stay with positive rake tooling, carbide or tool steel, what ever your preference is. Too fast SFM may/will surface harden the material, slower would be better.  Feed as heavy as you can. Use a larger nose radius with heavy feed for finishing. Fine feeding for finishing will probably work harden and show galling of the surface.  A file might be your best friend finishing the surface removing galling marks and getting a smooth finish.  Just have to experiment to get the ideal surface finish.



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