The fly cutter has a variety of uses. That’s why it has a place in most machinist’s shops. Whether you machine manually or are into CNC machining, fly cutters are your specialized cutting tool with many uses.

Use fly cutters for:

  • Shallow cuts
  • Broad cuts
  • Quickly removing small amounts of metal

Use your end mill to remove large areas and then grab that fly cutter for the smoothest finish. Fly cutters outperform a face mill every time. Make fewer passes and score a smoother finish.  Nothing beats fly cutters for fine finishing.

Look at these ways to use fly cutters.

Bed Leveling

CNC’ing requires a tabletop that is absolutely smooth and absolutely level.  Even when you level the legs, the bed or top of the table may still have dips and bumps that will ruin performance.  That means you must resurface the bed at least several times a year.  The best way to do this is with a fly cutter.

Since this is a large area, you want to use a large fly cutter.  The Sierra American FC-25 is a 2 ½” diameter fly cutter.  It will allow you to clear a large area smoothly and quickly.  When you setup, allow for a 40% overlap and just skim the surface to remove 1/16” at the first pass.  That’s probably all you need to get the smooth, level surface your machine demands.

use a fly cutter to machine a head

Mercedes head

The Fly Cutter in the Machine Shop

If a head gasket is blown or you must change the compression ratio, a fly cutter is your go-to tool.  That’s because it can completely resurface a head. That’s called “skimming” in an automotive machine shop.

Cylinder head skimming is a head saver and savior. As long as the head isn’t cracked and can hold pressure, refinish the face with a fly cutter by removing 0.0002” of the surface to return it to a smooth and flat state.  If you use a face mill, you may get crossover lines. While the lines will be almost impossible to see, they will surely affect performance.

Does an exhaust or intake manifold need cleaning up due to corrosion or erosion. Or, maybe the angle needs to be changed slightly to better align with an aftermarket intake manifold. The deck surface on the block may need to be resurfaced. When resurfacing these parts, you must do it quickly, efficiently and correctly.  Use a fly cutter and not a face mill.

fly cutter setThe Best Fly Cutters Give the Best Results

If you want the best results you need the best fly cutters. You need to use a fly cutter from The Tool Company. Every fly cutter, CNC tool tray, and saw arbor we sell is made right here in the USA.  Our fly cutters are:

  • Heat-treated
  • Balanced to run at high RPMs
  • Use large set screw for blade stability

You get a fly cutter and a  5 year warranty.  Why settle for inferior fly cutters and inferior results?  Order your fly cutter today.

You’ve got fly cutter questions. We’ve got answers. Talk about a match made in Heaven! People ask fly cutter questions a lot.  The questions we hear most often are below:

even dogs have questions about fly cutters

How do I get a better finish? Use a face mill or a fly cutter? 

Answering this question is easy. Go with a fly cutter every time.  Get a single cutting surface with a fly cutter.  Use a blade larger than the work area for a finishing cut with a single pass.  Every finishing pass you make decreases the finish quality. Remove all cutters from your face mill except one and convert your face mill to a fly cutter. Or, just start with the right tool in the first place.

Sierra American CNC fly cutters

small fly cutter

Can you fly cut aluminum?

Yes, but you must use the right cutting blade.  Remember, aluminum is soft.  Use a hard cutter for the best result.

How do you grind the bit?  Never forget the geometry of the cutter.  The end of the tool always does the cutting.  Grind the rake into the end of the tool.  It’s the bottom of the bit that determines the surface smoothness.

Are feeds and speeds different? Just use your standard shop software to calculate feeds and speeds.  Fly cutters usually run at lower RPMs. Only your software knows for sure. As with any other job, just  rely on your software for proper feeds and speeds. Software is very important.

Can you fly cut to quickly remove material?  Use your face mill first to remove material quickly.  It does this job better. You’ll get deeper cuts and faster chip removal. Once all material is removed, then make that final fly cutting finish.

Does tramming matter?  Just if you care about results.  This question usually comes from someone noticing a dip in the finish.  The tool isn’t the problem. The tool set-up is the problem.  Make sure everything is trammed and up to snuff before you make the first pass.

What makes a good fly cutter?

The real questions are who makes a good fly cutter, what makes it good,  and where can you get it.   The answers are as follows:

Big Diameter Fly Cutter is Best

Minimize the number of passes by maximizing the size of the tool. Bigger cutter equals fewer passes resulting in better finish. That’s the formula for a good fly cutter. The Tool Company carries large diameter sizes to handle large cutters.  Repeat after me the flycutting mantra “The larger the cutter, the fewer the passes.  The fewer the passes the finer the finish.”

Bigger is better in flycutting!

Stability and Balance

balance and stability

Just like the kids walking those train tracks, you need stability and balance to get where you are going.  Finishing cuts need maximum stability and balance.  You’ll get that with a Tool Company fly cutter. Their fly cutters have the larger 1/4-20 alloy set screws. So, you get better blade stability.  Because they are balanced, feel free to run at whatever RPMs you need to achieve your goal.

fly cutter set

A Large Fly Cutter Saves Time and Money

Use a larger cutter with 1/2” and 3/8” fly cutter bits to save. Because you make larger cuts, you work faster. On the job, saving time means saving money. Get productive with the right size fly cutter.

What’s Stopping You?

The final question we have is for you! What’s stopping you from buying a fly cutter from The Tool Company right now? They are made in the USA and backed by an unbeatable warranty.  Get quality and get your fly cutter today.

Ask any manual machinist about how to get a fine finish, and they will tell you you’ve got to use a fly cutter. CNC machinists generally rely on face mills, but the savviest CNC’ers know that you can’t beat fly cutters for the best finish possible.

fly cutters made in the USA

Face Mill versus Fly Cutter

The finest aluminum finish is made with a fly cutter using a diamond insert. That statement is true for manual machinists and it holds for CNC machinists too. Your face mill may run at higher RPMs, but you need a slow speed for a beautiful, brushed finish. The only way you can get that finish with a face mill is to remove all the cutters except one.  You must turn your CNC face mill into a CNC fly cutter. This kind of face mill set up won’t remove material well, but it will leave a nice surface finish.

A fly cutter can get into places a face mill can’t. Want to see a great example?   Check out this link to watch a fly cutter resurface the table of a table saw. A face mill couldn’t do this job.  But, a fly cutter gives the travel you need to do the job.

So, don’t use a face mill if a CNC fly cutter is the better tool for the job.

Tips for Using Fly Cutters

Follow these tips to handle even the toughest materials (think hard like titanium or stainless steel or soft like aluminum) and get a smooth, flawless finish.

Use the Right Feed and Speed – If you will just use the right combination of feed and speed  you can machine almost anything. What makes “difficult” materials difficult is the small range in which you can machine them. Use software that can account for all variables.

Coolant – Some materials machine better if you use coolant and some materials absolutely require you to use coolant. Always use coolant, even if it is just a mist.  With stainless, it will help reduce hardening, with aluminum it will prevent chips from welding to the cutter, and in titanium it will prevent heat build-up in.

Clear Chips – Keep chips clear. It doesn’t matter whether you use liquid coolant or air mist. Let’s say it again, keep chips clear. Recutting uncleared chips makes the tool work harder. So, clear chips as quickly as they are produced.

Use the Right Holder

No matter your machine or material, make sure you hold the cutter with the right tool. The Tool Company sells fly cutters in 1½”, 2”, and 2 ½” diameters.  They can hold large fly cutters to remove material with a minimum number of passes. The alloy screws to reduce chatter. If you are machining at higher RPMs, don’t worry. This fly cutter is balanced for higher RPMs.

cnc fly cutter setEvery fly cutter at The Tool Company was manufactured in the USA and has a 5 year warranty. You  deserve quality tools to produce quality work.  You deserve a fly cutter from The Tool Company.  Click to order your fly cutter today. Buy one or buy a set.

Manual machinists know for the finest finish, you’ve got to use a fly cutter. Many CNC machinists rely on face mills for finishing work but the savvy CNC’er knows that you just can’t beat the finish you get from a CNC fly cutter.

The CNC Face Mill versus CNC Fly Cutter Face Off

On one of their tool blog posts, a fly cutter manufacturer says “the finest aluminum fly cutters produce shiny finish to metalfinishing is a fly cutter with a diamond insert”. If it’s true for a manual machining, then it should be true for a CNC machining.   Sure face mills can run at a high speeds, but you need a much slower pace to achieve a brushed finish. To force a face mill into creating a fine and no run out you must remove all but one of the cutters. Wait! Doesn’t that mean you just converted your face mill into a CNC fly cutter?

A fly cutter can also go places your face mill can’t. If you need travel room, you need a fly cutter. Check this out. A CNC fly cutter was used to resurface a table for a table saw. A face mill would never have permitted the travel needed to get the job done.

Clearly it makes no sense to use a CNC face mill when a CNC fly cutter is the superior tool.

Machining with CNC Fly Cutters

Machining with your CNC fly cutter will be a breeze if you just keep a few things in mind. Using these tips will help you get a flawless finish on even stainless steel, titanium, or other tough to machine materials.

 

Coolant – Some materials just machine better with coolant and some material require coolant. You have to use coolant when fly cutting, even if it is an air/coolant mist. Coolant is necessary to prevent stainless from hardening. It is also critical to prevent the build-up of heat when working titanium. Coolant will also prevent aluminum chips from welding to the cutter. So many good reasons to use coolant.

Evacuate Chips – It doesn’t matter whether you are use liquid coolant or a mist, you must keep chips clear. Your fly cutter is doing double the work if it has to recut chips that aren’t cleared. Don’t make your fly cutter work hard – you work smart. Clear chips as fast as they are created.

Feeds and Speeds – This is basic to manual and CNC machine work. If you will just use the right feed and speed you can machine anything. The only thing that makes “difficult” materials difficult is the narrow range in which they can be worked. There is so much software available to use, just make sure you use something.

Use the Right Fly Cutter

No matter your machine or material, make sure you use the right cutter. The Tool Company has fly cutters in a variety of diameters.

Every fly cutter we sell has been manufactured with alloy screws to reduce chatter. They are also completely balanced for high RPM usage.

Every fly cutter sold by The Tool Company has been manufactured in the USA and includes a 5 year warranty. When you need the best finish, use the best fly cutter! Order today and get ready to get the best finish possible.

made-usa

 

 


plastic collet trays | cnc tool trays | cnc tool holders | fly cutters | collet wrenches | general purpose arbors | micro drill adapters | slitting saw arbors | slotting reach arbors