How to Cut Aluminum on a CNC Router

cnc router

7 Tips for Cutting Aluminum on a CNC Router.

Aluminum is one of the most used materials, and you require a metal CNC machine or tool for cutting aluminum. Cutting down aluminum with a router machine is termed CNC aluminum cutting. The CNC routers or CNC mills are considered the best cutting tool for cutting aluminum. However, router is most popular to cut wood and plastic. It can cut aluminum according to information provided by CNC software.  A router may prove effective for your business, but you need to remember the difference between aluminum and other metals.

A good CNC router proves better than a CNC mill as it decreases the overall material removal rates compared to a CNC mill. The quality of products and cutting parameters can depend on various factors and tools you use for the CNC aluminum cutting process. The router machine is also as rigid as a CNC mill; therefore, you can not make a big difference between both machines.

For some aluminum projects, you can choose a router to cut aluminum; no doubt routers are used to cut wood and plastics. CNC router machine has a large frame constructed laser and cuts wood rather than cutting metals. It can also cut wood, metal foam, acrylic, plastics and fibers.

What is CNC Aluminum Cutting?

Aluminum is one of the most used metals in the CNC world, and industries worldwide use it in aluminum projects. Aluminum is widely used in several mechanical processes, including machining, extruding, rolling, drawing, etc. The reason is that it can easily be deformed without any damage to the metal.

When used in industries, aluminum is cut down with a specific machine to manufacture the desired product. The appropriate metal CNC mill and machine for cutting wax, steel, acrylic, stainless steel and wood should choose wisely. It is just a matter of comparison to your feeds and speeds requirements and your machine's capabilities.

Look carefully about what is suitable to your machine and feeds and speeds and how cutter diameter can affect RPM. Calculation of feed and speed rates is essentially considered for successful business to cut aluminum with your CNC router. A large router is built professionally for aerospace composites and used in an industrial setting.

Tips for cutting aluminum on CNC Router

Cutting aluminum with CNC router machine is not as simple. Aluminum is a sticky metal and has small sweet spot for optimal speed and feed, and the cutting process of aluminum has its challenges and intricacies than other materials. It requires some tips to be followed for its proper cutting.

CNC routers are commonly used to cut plastics, metal, acrylic and wood, and HSS cutters are not suggested for cutting aluminum. But, you can also use CNC routers to cut the aluminum. You cannot accurately cut aluminum with your CNC router machine if you don't use CNC routers properly. So, it is necessary to learn how to use CNC routers to cut aluminum. Here are the easy tips to help you properly cut the aluminum metal to prevent any damage in your business.

Take it Easy

The first step while cutting aluminum with your CNC router or tool is that you must take it easy to use CNC routers. CNC routers are smart choices for aluminum machining. If you feel worried about using CNC routers, you may not cut aluminum accurately with any tool, and thus, you may not get the desired product. So, it would help if you were not afraid to cut aluminum on a CNC router. 

Always feel easy while cutting aluminum on a CNC router or tool without fear of any damage, and you will get your desired aluminum shape and size.  You can utilize a wide range of acrylic, plastic, and metal materials in your business. The best metal CNC mills and machines use materials such as titanium, steel and stainless steel.

Use a Feed Rate Calculator

The cutting aluminum is not similar to the cutting wood. Cutting the aluminum with CNC routers may take longer than cutting wood with CNC routers. You must use a definite feed and speeds rates of your CNC routers to cut different aluminum parts of high quality. Cutting different parts of aluminum requires different feeds and speeds rates.

You can use an online feed rates calculator to check feed and speed rates. Thus, if you don't use the CNC router's exact feed and speed rates, you cannot properly cut aluminum. So, to use feed and speed rate, you must use a feed and speed calculator. So feed and speed rates are necessary factors to consider for cutting aluminum.

Obsess About Clearing Chips

To prevent your CNC router and machining process from being damaged, you must clear the chips. It may cause scratches to your CNC router or completely damage it, thus affecting its functioning. Great chip clearance may also increase the processing time or cause a  poor surface finish of the aluminum.

Thus it makes sense to avoid all these damages and problems. You must clear chunks from your material. Due to the gummy stuff of aluminum, the fragments may plug up with a CNC  router. So, it may become difficult to remove the fragments from the material. Many shallow passes provide you with better access to reach your desired depth. Thus, these shallow passes and tips would help handle the CNC router to clear the scraps properly.

Bits with Fewer the Flutes Make More Sense

The choice of a flute is necessary to cut aluminum on a CNC router. It means fewer flutes are better for your project. Normally a four flute cutter is used for woodwork, but it can not prevent overly large chips, and chips jam your flute.

It may cause bit breakage, so a four flute cutter is not appropriate for cutting aluminum with your CNC machine and your bit breaks. You can use a three-flute cutter to prevent overly large chips. Fewer flutes can allow more space between cutting edges and more room for the big chips to blow away.

Overly large chips can be a reason to jam your router. A high quantity of large chips is produced during the cutting of aluminum. A tool with a smooth surface finish and chip clearance would prove helpful to make your job easy.

So, a three-flute cutter is used to cut aluminum, which means fewer flutes are better. If more flutes are used, then most of the chips cannot escape from the flutes resulting in jamming the flute and can become a reason for bit breaks. If the flute jam, your cutter may break down. Few flutes can prevent chips jam.

It requires a slower feed rate that can increase the functionality of routers. Thus the fewer flutes provide extra space for the chips to escape preventing the flute from jamming. Cutting down on more passes is good to get the required depth. It automatically prevents your cutter from breaking down. 

A CNC aluminum router can be a good choice for cutting aluminum as routers make cutting aluminum an easy process. By following these tips, you can get a single flute upcut and high-quality solid carbide for milling aluminum composite panels.

Lubricate with Mist

Lubrication is one of the most prominent tips you must follow while using a CNC router to cut aluminum. Lubricate with mist as aluminum likes to stick to cutting edges and can reduce the effect by applying lubricating mist. The formation of chips is the major problem you may face while cutting with a CNC router.

The sticking of these chips with your material can ‌destroy your CNC router. You can use mist coolant spray with oil work and compressed air to make it smooth and lubricated. It is better to use carbide end mills (2 flutes or 3 flutes) to provide a suitable CNC router machine and job.

So, precautions must take to prevent this problem. To avoid this problem, you must use a lubricant such as mist. A mister can provide coolant mist and air blast. It will prevent chips from sticking with cutting edges and promote successful machinery operation.

Use the proper router bit

The CNC router uses a large variety of cutters for cutting various materials. Some of these types of cutters may not be suitable for cutting aluminum. So, it is compulsory to use a proper router bid. Carbide-coated cutters can handle high RPMs, which is necessary for routing aluminum.

Commonly carbide-coated cutters are used for the cutting of aluminum. The routing aluminum requires high RPMs, which the carbide-coated cutters can efficiently control. If you are using a carbide-coated cutter, you must mention it to your feed and speed calculator to get more RPMs.  Cobalt and high-speed steel cannot do this job, so tell feed and speed calculator if you want to get more RPMs.

Use smaller diameter cutters

Choosing a CNC router with an accurate diameter proves helpful in ‌cutting aluminum. Like other parameters, the diameter of the cutter is essential for a good machinery process. Like the carbide-coated cutter, the cutter with a smaller diameter efficiently increases the RPMs resulting in safe and easy cutting of aluminum. If you choose a cutter with a larger diameter, you may not cut the aluminum properly, and the workpiece may go wasted. So, to cut aluminum with a CNC router, you must select and use a cutter with a smaller diameter.


Aluminum, as we know, is the most prominent metal used in industries because of its durability and versatility. It is used in various machining processes to manufacture various useful products in industries.Commonly, the CNC routers have suitable cutters to cut aluminum.

These are some important tips that one must keep in mind for the exact cutting of aluminum with a CNC router. Those who neglect these tips will only face damage to the cutters and material.


Worthy Hardware is a CNC manufacturing and sheet metal fabrication company,including CNC machining services,CNC milling services, CNC turning services, laser cutting services and stamping services.Call us +86-76989919645 or email us [email protected] for more discounts for your projects.