Reply by CaptainKlutz

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Posted on Carbide Round Over Bit to work Brass

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1636 posts in 1947 days

#1 posted 08-04-2018 10:35 AM

use a router on brass? Sure, why not?

Never done it, but have cut aluminum with router and brass on lathe/mill?
CNC folks brag all time about cutting non-ferrous metals with carbide router bits, and it cuts like butter?

Soft brass and aluminum chips tend to transfer material to cutting edge. Tool fouling can be reduced with different relief angle on the cutting tool. With standard router bits, you are at mercy of wood tool grind angle and will likely want to have spare(s) on hand if you need to machine a lot of material. Several of tooling companies (Amana, Osrud, etc) sell special non-ferrous router bits with optimized angles. Cleaning soft metal from steel/carbide takes special cleaning methods (ask google about cleaning lead/copper from gun barrel, wink).

Brass machining feed rates are about 60-80% of aluminum, which are compatible with lower speeds of most variable speed routers. (depending on diameter of cutter)

High conductivity for these metals makes dry machining a challenge. One trick is make sure chips are large enough for given feed rate, that they help remove heat, while not sacrificing surface quality.

Keep your cut depth small (compared to wood). Cutting depth of 0.030-0.040 inch are normal for brass on metal tools, but this same ~1/32 inch per pass is very small for router table, or manual routing an edge? If your brass is glued into wood, where you are machining a compound material that is mostly wood; then 1/16” deep passes might work.

Doing this by hand you will need some testing to find happy place between cut depth and feed speed. Suggest you want to practice on some extra stock. If your feed rate is too slow (or cut depth is too shallow), run risk of heating the brass and creating all kinds of issues? Go too fast (or cut too deep), and you probably see skip/chatter.

Be prepared for a giant mess! You must have good dust collection at router bit while machining metal. Most hand held routers are open and draw air through motor for cooling. Without good dust collection (motor up), or without fantastic dust collection on router table (motor down); you can get metal chips inside your router motor brushes, or brass dust adhering to the rotor and/or stator. DAMHIK

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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