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General End Mill Discussion


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I want to purchase some end mills.  I am overwhelmed by all of the options.


Do I need 2 flutes or 4 flutes?

There are multiple brands, like hertel, interstate, osg, kyocero 

Carbide, HSS, Cobalt




and the confusion here continues.


Elga & Niels mentioned the small mills break easily -  just looking at them, and Niels I don't think CNC milling is in my near future, as I am assuming that a programmer doesn't come with the machine.  Call me when I can talk to the computer and the computer creates the program based upon my verbal request.


The goal is to have some stuff on hand for future use, so that when I am in the "zone" generally in the evenings or weekends, that I don't have to stop to go get an order from my local Grainger or MSC store.


I would want to use for woodworking and perhaps metal working.

Currently, I have a taig lathe and Unimat DB200 that I can use as a lathe or mill.


Your recommendations and comments are appreciated. 


Thanks, Tamra

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For about 98% of the stuff a typical miniaturist does all the fancy features about end mills don't matter. Here is what is important, shank size? Will it fit in your machine, for example a Cameron Drill press takes 1/8", 3/16" won't fit. As for sizes, 1/32", 1/16" , 3/32" and 1/8" are the most common used. I do some times use .020" and .040" too. 2 flute or 4, think of it this way, a 4 flute will cut twice as fast as a 2 flute at the same speed... So how fast do you need. If your machine has a slower spindle use a 4 flute... Also the 3 flute are really nice in wood. And if using a 4 flute make sure it is center cutting, this means it will cutting going straight down like a drill bit. Coatings, nice but don't matter for our work, same with brand name, all of the above are good. For the material, most these days are carbide.

Here is what I do, look to see what is on sale and buy those.... I like MSC, Enco, Beaver Drill (my local store),etc.... Can't stand Grainger

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Bill, Thanks for the quick response...this brings some clarity to the situation.  So good for us to have access to your experience!


Of course both machines speeds can be slowed by moving the belt to a different configuration. Since I have a Jacobs chuck with the uni I'm sure it will hold a 1/8" shank, but not sure about 1/16" - will cross reference the sale catalog and see how small of a shank I can hold in the chuck.  It is such small print, I'm not even sure that they had 1/16" shanks. 

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I am a big fan of McMaster-Carr as a supplier.  They are comprehensive and you can usually find a number of useful things to put in an order.  Your order usually arrives either the next day or two at the most.  Only once ave I had a problem and I got immediate customer service which replaced my order at no cost also in a single day.

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