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Suggest a facemill for Brother Speedio (BBT30)

hi-fly-cnc

Plastic
Joined
Jun 13, 2022
Hi, looking to add a facemill to my tool library, but to be fair, I don't yet have (many) specific jobs to drive this purchase, mostly my needs are:

- Best finish quality vs price (meaning not looking to spend into that long tail for tiny gains)
- BBT30 dual contact spindle, 16K (ie std torque). CTS available
- Thinking around 2.5" / 63mm will suit most of my work
- Exclusively for facemill finishing work, ie don't need a shoulder mill. Light finish passes only
- At the moment will only be used in aluminium.
- However, there may be some stainless in my future, would be "desirable" if inserts could be changed to something suitable for this
- Mostly parts held in a vice, but may be some flat work on fixture plate, or possibly on a vacuum table
- Thinking of a 45 degree, but not really sure
- UK based, so many US options aren't easy to get hold of

Main goal is absolute finish quality. Minimise tool marks, etc. I desire a mirror finish, however, I'm not looking to buy into exotic inserts (or bodies), so I don't think it will be possible to get more than a decently shiny finish?

I'm not a terribly experienced machinist, experiences so far are finishing with YG-1 16mm, and most recently I purchased a 16mm Big Kaiser FCR (only 2 inserts on the little guy). The FCR is actually for a specific aluminium job, which needs a 16mm tool, and surface quality is the best of anything I own so far.

My tooling supplier also delivered a Widia 63MM VSM11 shoulder mill at the same time. This is a 90 degree insert. Using a small step over of around 0.05/tooth I get an "ok" finish on a lump of 6082 alu, however, it's not what I would call a mirror finish by any means. More of a shiny brushed alu effect. We played around a bit with speeds, CTS was on for all tests, but broadly it was a bit disappointing.

Quotes for the Big Kaiser Speed Finisher seem to put it into the "exotics", looking at a couple £000s, including inserts.

I see there is an FCM 50mm available (5 inserts). This is a bit smaller than I was thinking of, but it seems quite affordable in comparison. No height adjustable inserts (nor wiper insert) though. Anyone got any opinions on this? The integrated BBT30 holder seems attractive from a rigidity point of view, but no idea what this does for finish quality on a facemill? (The main things I need to surface today are various 32mm and 100mm wide, so 50mm diameter "works", but 50+mm would be slightly better)

I see people with Brother machine recommend the Mitsubishi ASX445. This is a non thru coolant design, my tool supplier calls it "old skool"... Why would this be working well for some people vs some fancy pants new tools? Does anyone have a video of what they can produce on their Brother using this on Alu? I wonder if photos I see on instagram kind of show these looking better than if I were offering a critical eye straight off the machine? Is lack of through coolant on this design a practical negative for finishing passes?

I'm keen to receive more ideas? Assume that I have no way to assess theoretical features of a possible tool, so ideally please spell out the consequences of stuff as though you are talking to a rank amateur... Hey we all have to start somewhere, better to acknowledge lack of skill right?
 

Orange Vise

Titanium
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Location
California
I see people with Brother machine recommend the Mitsubishi ASX445. This is a non thru coolant design, my tool supplier calls it "old skool"... Why would this be working well for some people vs some fancy pants new tools?
It's old school only because it's been around a long time. Nothing more.

Single sided, high positive ground inserts + carbide shims is a winning formula. You will never get through that first box of inserts anyway, so you have many advantages and no real disadvantanges over double sided inserts.

Thru coolant isn't really needed here. All it's going to do is keep your mist collector busy.
 
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Mtndew

Diamond
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Location
Michigan
I use a Sandvik RA590-063R19S-11M with PCD inserts. Adjustable inserts are nice to dial in the finish.
Those Century face mills are awesome, we have a 4" version that we use in Alum and get repeatable 4Ra finishes.
But they aren't cheap.

OP you can also look into the Sandvik R245 line of face mills if money is an issue.
If you do decide on a shoulder mill, then the Sandvik R390 is one of the best out there.
 

gkoenig

Titanium
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Location
Portland, OR
Go with Bug’s ideal recommendation.

Alternative would be the OSG Disk Cutter or Big Dishowa’s Speed Finisher. These are all height adjustable insert face mills and I believe they all have wiper inserts available (you set the wiper a couple of microns below the cut inserts).
 

crossthread82

Cast Iron
Joined
Apr 1, 2022
Location
Maryland
Adjustable insert pocket bodies from sandvik with pcd inserts are not in the OP's budget if he's looking for value.

The ASX445 with a 2" diameter and 5 inserts w/ a single wiper insert in one of the pockets will leave mirrors in alu. Just set gauge length off the wiper insert. As Orange said in alu. you wont wear out a single box of inserts ever and they sell aluminum specific wipers, as well as steel/stainless grades with their own specific wipers.
 

gkoenig

Titanium
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Location
Portland, OR
Adjustable insert pocket bodies from sandvik with pcd inserts are not in the OP's budget if he's looking for value.

He's got a Speedio. You don't buy a Porsche then cheap out on the tires and expect anything but heartache. If you tell me you are looking for bourgeoisie surface finishes on aluminum, height-adjustable inserts and PCD are the only sane answer; everything else is a comprimise.

Have I ever paid Sandy prices for them? F-no! Centuries are all over eBay for 1/4th the original price.
 

crossthread82

Cast Iron
Joined
Apr 1, 2022
Location
Maryland
He's got a Speedio. You don't buy a Porsche then cheap out on the tires and expect anything but heartache. If you tell me you are looking for bourgeoisie surface finishes on aluminum, height-adjustable inserts and PCD are the only sane answer; everything else is a comprimise.

Have I ever paid Sandy prices for them? F-no! Centuries are all over eBay for 1/4th the original price.
That's what I'm saying. He said he was balling on a budget here... PCD is the sh!t for aluminum but it costs a pretty penny too. I have both the asx445 and a pcd inserted sandvik and honestly the mitsubishi does plenty good enough for what it costs. I routinely get sub 6ra with the asx445 vs sub 3-4ra with the PCD. If that last couple percent is worth double the price to the OP then by all means go for it, I certainly did. But for most people good enough is all they need.

If were really looking for mirrors here the monoblock diamond facemill from datron is where its at.

https://www.datron.com/shop-cnc-tools/product/mcd-monocrystalline-diamond-tool/
 

DavidScott

Titanium
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Location
Washington
I have the same needs as the OP including the same spindle, but I do mostly production. I have a 2-1/2" ASX445 with 5 inserts and doubt there is anything better, for MY needs. It cuts great, leaves a very good surface considering the inserts are not adjustable so they do vary up to .0004" or so in height, can hog when I need to, generally won't throw a part out of the fixture if I fuck up and don't tighten the clamps, and if I do hit a clamp I am maybe out $15 worth of insert edges. I would like a face mill with adjustable pockets and diamond inserts, but it just isn't worth the $$$$ risk if something goes south.

As far as wearing out the cutting edges in aluminum, well yes they do wear out after a long, long time. I find that the coolant has a lot to do with how long they last.
 

BugRobotics

Stainless
Joined
Jun 22, 2015
Location
Denver, CO
I hear you on the budget. It's always different for everyone so I just posted what works great for me. eBay has some great prices on both the cutter bodies and PCD inserts
 

JasHarvey

Plastic
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
For aluminum a rigid single flute fly cutter should work well. Use a HSS or cobalt cutter with a relatively large end radius (.03 - .05) and a relatively large relief angle. Hone the edge with a fine diamond pad and you should be good to go. Won't last for steel though. I don't particularly like the shallow tool angle of a standard off the shelf fly cutter. I prefer the tool to be held at about a 45 degree angle for added rigidity. You may have to make one.
 

hi-fly-cnc

Plastic
Joined
Jun 13, 2022
That's what I'm saying. He said he was balling on a budget here... PCD is the sh!t for aluminum but it costs a pretty penny too. I have both the asx445 and a pcd inserted sandvik and honestly the mitsubishi does plenty good enough for what it costs. I routinely get sub 6ra with the asx445 vs sub 3-4ra with the PCD. If that last couple percent is worth double the price to the OP then by all means go for it, I certainly did. But for most people good enough is all they need.

If were really looking for mirrors here the monoblock diamond facemill from datron is where its at.

https://www.datron.com/shop-cnc-tools/product/mcd-monocrystalline-diamond-tool/

Thanks for all the replies. It seems like 2 names keep coming up here, the Sandvik RA590 and the Mitsubishi ASX445? Also ran seems to be the Big Kaiser Speedfinisher?

My challenge is that I'm mostly making parts for my own use and don't have a commercial requirement driving a specific purchase (yet). However, equally I prefer to buy the right tool at the start, rather than buying twice... I just don't have enough experience to even know what to expect from the two options above, to know whether the price difference is worth the cost

Would anyone (@crossthread82 or @DavidScott ) be prepared to post some photos/videos to illustrate what you can do with both/either?

For reference, attached is a photo of what I can achieve with the tool I just bought... Again, no idea is this is good or not, but I was hoping for better... 😞

Re second hand tools. Stretching your analogy, if I bought a porsche, should I be fitting second hand tyres? What are the risks with pre-owned face mills? Dings causing out of balance? How to survey something before buying? Any tips on buying this kind of thing from ebay?

Remember also that I'm based in the UK. I looked on ebay and there is one Sandvik RA590 up there right now, price seems ok. However, many sellers won't ship internationally and nearly everything up for sale is in the USA. This is definitely less straight forward for me than for some of you guys...

I think my options might boil down to (most to least expensive):

- Brand new Big K Speedfinisher seems easy to get, but I think costs are about £1,000 for the body, another £1,000+ for inserts and unknown for the insert adjusting fixture (presumably $lots). I get a feeling this is going to be like £3-5k all in?
- Brand new Sandvik RA590, price is unknown, but guessing around £1,000 here for the body (I can see $ prices through Misumi USA, but they don't sell it via the UK site). Unknown on insert prices?
- Brand new Mitsubishi, much lower price, but will I just be putting off getting one of the above?
- Second hand Sandvik, figure out importing it and unknown condition of item?
- Second hand Mitsubishi ASX445, seem to be some of those up right now, however, similar prices to the Sandvik though?

I know everyone wants to tell the new guy to just get the best, however, we all have limited budgets, whatever I spend on this isn't getting spent on some other nice toy... Over the next few months I will mostly be making some decorative items for my own use, better finish will make me happy. However, over the next 2 years, I will mostly be making production parts for my business (where finish quality is less important).

Any thoughts on how to tie break this? Also, any other options to short list? Seeing some comparative results would definitely be helpful...🤞
 

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DavidScott

Titanium
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Location
Washington
The ASX445 is a damn fine all around facemill that will give you nice surfaces at production rates, think bang for buck. I have a few parts I am making now that I can take a photo of. That is 6061, .005"-.01" cut at 5000rpm and 173 ipm.

ASX445.jpg
 
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crossthread82

Cast Iron
Joined
Apr 1, 2022
Location
Maryland
Thanks for all the replies. It seems like 2 names keep coming up here, the Sandvik RA590 and the Mitsubishi ASX445? Also ran seems to be the Big Kaiser Speedfinisher?

My challenge is that I'm mostly making parts for my own use and don't have a commercial requirement driving a specific purchase (yet). However, equally I prefer to buy the right tool at the start, rather than buying twice... I just don't have enough experience to even know what to expect from the two options above, to know whether the price difference is worth the cost

Would anyone (@crossthread82 or @DavidScott ) be prepared to post some photos/videos to illustrate what you can do with both/either?

For reference, attached is a photo of what I can achieve with the tool I just bought... Again, no idea is this is good or not, but I was hoping for better... 😞

Re second hand tools. Stretching your analogy, if I bought a porsche, should I be fitting second hand tyres? What are the risks with pre-owned face mills? Dings causing out of balance? How to survey something before buying? Any tips on buying this kind of thing from ebay?

Remember also that I'm based in the UK. I looked on ebay and there is one Sandvik RA590 up there right now, price seems ok. However, many sellers won't ship internationally and nearly everything up for sale is in the USA. This is definitely less straight forward for me than for some of you guys...

I think my options might boil down to (most to least expensive):

- Brand new Big K Speedfinisher seems easy to get, but I think costs are about £1,000 for the body, another £1,000+ for inserts and unknown for the insert adjusting fixture (presumably $lots). I get a feeling this is going to be like £3-5k all in?
- Brand new Sandvik RA590, price is unknown, but guessing around £1,000 here for the body (I can see $ prices through Misumi USA, but they don't sell it via the UK site). Unknown on insert prices?
- Brand new Mitsubishi, much lower price, but will I just be putting off getting one of the above?
- Second hand Sandvik, figure out importing it and unknown condition of item?
- Second hand Mitsubishi ASX445, seem to be some of those up right now, however, similar prices to the Sandvik though?

I know everyone wants to tell the new guy to just get the best, however, we all have limited budgets, whatever I spend on this isn't getting spent on some other nice toy... Over the next few months I will mostly be making some decorative items for my own use, better finish will make me happy. However, over the next 2 years, I will mostly be making production parts for my business (where finish quality is less important).

Any thoughts on how to tie break this? Also, any other options to short list? Seeing some comparative results would definitely be helpful...🤞
Can't post pics, gov shop so everything is hush hush... I can attest though that you'll likely be happy with either. I'm sure @DavidScott can provide an example though.
 

BT Fabrication

Stainless
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Location
Ontario Canada
ive used the sandvik r590 in a 0.75" and 1.5" face mill. holder was about $500 and inserts were $20 each.
I have "sowa" tooling here in canada, the 2" face mill 5 inserts was about $300 and inserts at $16-22 each. 2 cutting edges per insert and 90 degree inserts.
 

hi-fly-cnc

Plastic
Joined
Jun 13, 2022
What makes a facemill such as the Mitsubishi perform better than other alternatives?("Better" meaning can achieve a higher mirrored surface) I mean there are a lot of big names out there who make well regarded inserts, did everyone else just forget how to make a good facemill?

Or is the point that facemilling to get a high mirror finish, is NOT actually the main purpose for most facemills? (Perhaps they are more commonly used for material removal or prep work, etc?)

What are the factors that make a tool give aluminium a more "mirrored" finish? I guess high surface speed, sharp cutters, and a smooth final surface are part of that. Someone mentioned coolant, yet Orange Vise pointed out that CTS wasn't that valuable?
 

Pete Deal

Stainless
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Morgantown, WV
I have two of these and like them fine. I use his inserts too. One of them lives with inserts for steel and one lives with inserts for aluminum.

But, I don't use face mills much in my machines. Only when parts are what I consider beyond rock solid in the vise or however they're held. For most of my production work I much prefer cutters that if something goes wrong, like a part coming loose, It won't ruin the spindle. I use talon grips a lot and they've been great but I don't face mill anything in them.
 

Philabuster

Diamond
Joined
Jul 12, 2006
Location
Tempe, AZ
For aluminum a rigid single flute fly cutter should work well. Use a HSS or cobalt cutter with a relatively large end radius (.03 - .05) and a relatively large relief angle. Hone the edge with a fine diamond pad and you should be good to go. Won't last for steel though. I don't particularly like the shallow tool angle of a standard off the shelf fly cutter. I prefer the tool to be held at about a 45 degree angle for added rigidity. You may have to make one.
A fly cutter in a VMC? Is this a joke?
 








 
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