This is a common
customer reaction when dealing with Inconel. It is a difficult material, but
should it make shops run for the hills? Absolutely not! Common in the aerospace
industry, Inconel is one of the toughest high temperature resistant materials.
However, with the correct tool, it too can be easier to machine.
One of my
customers working with Inconel was in need of a 5/8” end mill for a new project involving an aerospace engine part that they were quoting.
After examining the job, we realized that removing all the material would be
the biggest challenge.
For their slotting operation, I recommended OSG’s EXOCARB® Aero Rougher. Many people in the industry are familiar with older end mill designs such as the Corncob Rougher and Knuckle End Mill. Our Aero Rougher, however, is not just a typical Corncob Rougher. It is specially designed for maximum metal removal in exotic high temperature materials. The uniquely configured serrations on the cutting edge reduce friction, thereby generating less heat and requiring less horsepower than standard or variable helix carbide end mills. In addition, the combination of the shallow profile serration and the 45° helix provides a much smoother surface finish.
With it being a new project, my customer needed to make profit but also keep costs down in order to win the bid. To determine if the Aero Rougher was their best choice, we tested it against two other competitors that had a variable design.
To begin the test, we used the OSG recommended speeds and feeds for the application, 520 RPM at 2.7 IPM. With the majority of the cuts being a slot, we recommended 0.156” on the depth of cut (DOC). In the end, the operator was delightfully surprised when he saw the results of the OSG tool performance. After several trials, the customer was able to push the Aero Rougher to 0.200” DOC. OSG scored lower in cost and provided the customer a completed part. The competitors, on the other hand, were not even able to finish the job.
In today’s competitive market, OSG’s EXOCARB® Aero Rougher is able to provide users the ability to run tools with higher feed rates and deeper depths of cuts for reduced cutting time. It not only handles the tough and the nasty, but it helps eliminate stress when working with Inconel.