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Drill America end mills

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chucketn

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While searching for a source for a 7/16" or 12 mm end mill, I found that Home Depot advertises the brand Drill America for online order and home or store delivery.
Anyone have experience with these? Opinions? Immediate need is for use on mild steel bar from Tractor Supply...
I'm making a carbide insert wood lathe tool, and need to mill a round recess to support the insert.
 

ACHiPo

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I buy a lot of stuff from DrillsandCutters—drills, taps, reamers. Only one end mill though. Free 2-day shipping with $100 order.


The sell Drill America among other brands. I assume the Drill America at HD would be the same. I’ve been very happy with the quality. Most if not all is Chinese, but good quality at decent prices.
 

almega

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I have used Drill America product purchased on Amazon and have had good success with the end mills so far. I mostly only use them on mild steel and aluminum. Reasonable pricing and quality for the work I do.
 

Chiptosser

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I would check out MSC they have quality tools. Large online catalog. You'll find more than you ever knew was availible.
I buy mostly colbalt in the unplated drills. You can't complain buying a quality tool, but you will always complain when using a low quality tool. I have found Hole Hogs are very brittle, break easily, not happy with them at all. I found them at a yard sale, new set unused. I'll stick with precision brand, and other known quality brands. I have never heard of Drill America Brand.
 

stanstocker

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Hi Folks,

I'd suggest having a look at Lake Shore Carbide. Very good cutters, a quick look shows they are a little less expensive for standard 2 flute end mills in most diameters. For those who consider it important their products are made in the US rather than PRC.
 

Henry K

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I worked as the Manufacturing (plus other Engineering titles) for 50 years. I would never buy cutting tools from Home Depot. If your paycheck depends on your tools, you do not want to risk losing it because you saved a small amount on a bargain tool that failed. Now, for home use it may work on aluminum and plastic.
MSC is good but in my opinion McMaster has an even better selection. If you go to McMaster (they are on line), also take a look at their 12L14 and 1215 and other "Easy to Machine Carbon Steel". You will never go back to any other steel unless it is needed for your application. Shipping is usually amazing. In NJ I can place an order at 3 or 4 PM and get it the next day on their standard shipping rates. MSC's steel and aluminum selection is much more limited.
 

packrat

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Yes McMaster-Carr is good they will not send you any junk tools or tooling, I would order almost every day from work and have order the next day,
of course the company was paying for shipping {that was when I did HVAC-R work}.
 

Wizard69

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Never heard of Drill America until now so can't comment on them. However there are so many options for drill bits and other tools that I don't see a need to focus on a hardware store chain.

For End Mills try some of these:
  1. MSC
  2. Travers
  3. McMaster-Carr
  4. DXPE (maybe a little too business to business)
  5. Grainger
  6. Penn Tool
  7. KBC Tools & Machinery
  8. Fastenal
For more general tools, especially as supplied to local professionals; such as drill bits consider:
  1. Welding supply houses. The local welder supplier has a line up of Silver and Deeming drills on constant display for example.
  2. Suppliers to electrical contractors. Electricians drill into just about anything and require suitable drill bits.
  3. Your local Runnings.
  4. Electronics supply houses like Digikey, Mouser and Newark have very small drill bits and end mills and can be an alternative to machining distributors. Obviously small electronics oriented stuff.

These are actually very small lists. If you live near a city or town with manufacturing there is often independent suppliers you can call on. Drilling for example is common to many industries. Even my list of suppliers of End Mills is likely short. I don't want to dismiss the local big box hardware store either and the local Lowes had some quality drill bits on display the other day that didn't come from China. However big box stores will not have end mills and often just have junk on display.
 

ignator

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I can tell you what brand to stay away from. SWT from China. They are soft. I purchased them twice, first time because they were cheapest on eBay, and labeled HSS. I tested them on my Rockwell hardness tester, and found they were in the low 40s down to 5. The second time I tried real hard to not purchase this brand, but the seller showed a different brand, but sent the SWT.
20210124_122618.jpg



The second photo, you can see the divot left by the test point in the place I tested, as well the poor quality of sharpening grind. This one tested out at Rc=42.5, which might do brass or aluminum for a short time, maybe some wood in a CNC router. The third photo I did a retest in the Rockwell hardness tester.
I still have not found a set of metric endmills. I did get some from Enco when they were around, but they had 3/8" shanks, and I wanted pure metric, as I got a set of R8 collets in metric.
 

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tornitore45

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The general rule gained from experience: Stay away from any cutting tool from China. the odds are that 3 out 4 are soft. Carbide is a joke, unless you are machining Styrofoam.
 

ignator

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Ignator
What mm sizes are you looking to purchase and is that 2 or 4 flute ?
The set I got, as shown in the photo, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12mm, and 4 flute (but not center cutting).
The few from Enco were all made in China, and hard enough, but I wanted them to be metric, and Imperial shanks with reduced size metric cutting edges.
 
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ignator

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The general rule gained from experience: Stay away from any cutting tool from China. the odds are that 3 out 4 are soft. Carbide is a joke, unless you are machining Styrofoam.
It depends, China can make ANY quality you're willing to pay for. They have sucked in all the intellectual property from anywhere in the world, and are capable of producing any item, better then made here or any other first rate high technology country.
I watched as the company I'm retired from, gave away 85 years of intellectual property of avionics. But that takes CEO's that are non engineering, and don't have a clue how long it took to figure out safety and failure resistant methodologies.
I've had good luck so far with inexpensive ceramic insert tooling. And so far cheap HSS with or without cobalt has been a bust. But my China made Rockwell hardness tester is spot on, and when I test the articles, from eBay purchases, I get my money back, the only down side is scrap metal and time. Last month I purchase spotting drills, a set with 90 degree cutting cone tips. 3 of the 6 were too soft, and I did have to return them to the seller, but they paid return cost as not as described was the reason for return, so I got my money back. Again the hardness tester proved evidence of a quality issue. From a different seller I ended up with HSS spotting drills that pass the hardness test typically around Rc>65, these were made in South Korea, and the set cost 30% more.
 

cheepo45

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I have used HSS and Carbide end mills from CME Tools in our School shop, and they have held up well. They are Chinese - we don't buy expensive cutting tools because they get broken by students before they get dull!
 

ShopShoe

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My input to this discussion is that if you are getting the "bargain" products you might get something that seems to work well for you, but if you try to order more of the "same," it will be different: There seems to be a great deal of inconsistency in manufacturing or packaging those items, no matter what they are.

I have learned to avoid the hardware stores and home centers for the most part for tooling, unless I need it NOW and they have what I need.

I generally use the major industrial suppliers, some of which are listed above. A couple of them have gone out of their way to contact me and have been responsive to my needs, even though I am up front with the truth that "I am only a hobby user."

BTW: Sometimes your local auto parts store can get something for you, or someone behind the counter there will know someone.......

I have not bought much directly from overseas.

--ShopShoe
 

Madsciguy

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Before I retired from a large automation company, we did performance tests on a number of major suppliers of end mills. At the time, the product that led the pack in terms of process time and cost/performance was Hanita solid carbide. I still use their speed/feed guide book as my main reference.
 

Rickus

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Over the past two or three years I have used my milling machine rather infrequently. But when I use it, it seems I am going to town for a month or so like crazy. I've noticed the new end mills have been lacking in performance and just figured it was me. Not staying current with my techniques and such seemed plausible. Never once did I think the end mills could be the issue. NEW means they should they are good. Right? Thanks for the slap up the side of my head to make me start looking at better manufacturers. Pricier, yes. But getting tooling that will perform as expected is cheaper in the long run..
 

Chiptosser

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Mauro,
Can you elaborate on your commet about carbide tooling?

People here may get the wrong idea, if they have never used it.

I use solid carbid 96% of the time. The other 4% is when I grind special shapes for the lathe or use tapered endmills or two fluted endmills for special lenghts and depths.
Yes, carbide is more expensive than hss, stay away from HSS, unless it has Cobalt!
You get what you pay for-- as we all know. There is lots of quality carbide tooling on -bay.
People you need to take the time to reaserch quality brands and don't settle for just what you get out of somebodys tool box, because they where a machinist or such.

That is just like taps, hardware store taps will get you in trouble. There are many different grades of taps.
Look on line for major suppliers and look at the tooling available and compare. Tooling has changed significantly in the last 10 years. Don't get me wrong, basics are still basics. Don't buy the cheap C-- tooling.
 

Henry K

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I have used HSS tool bits for over 60 years. Please remember, you get what you pay for. I just looked at eBay. One seller was selling "5 3/8" HSS tool bits" for $12. Another was selling the same size bits, Specified as M42, for $11 EACH. I love HSS. They take only a few seconds to resharpen when it is needed. If you are lucky, you get what you pay for - read between the lines.
Plus I have a tangential tool holder on my lathes and nobody makes carbide insert tooling for tangential tool holders.
Also keep in mind "CROBALT" tooling. Grinds almost like HSS and last a long time even on tough materials. Curiously, it is a cast alloy that grinds fairly easily with normal grinding wheels.
Very strangely, you cannot dip it in water to cool it off when it gets hot while grinding it, you have to let it air cool.
Keep in mind that Industrial Machine shop suppliers only sell the expensive and good stuff and it is worth it.
Good carbide cutters are excellent for lots of tough jobs, for aluminum and plastic, in my opinion, probably not needed. In fact, I have a friend with several Hass lathes and other similar machines - he makes prototype medical implants like human bone joints. He told me that one cut on aluminum in his $100,000 plus CNC machines ruins the carbide inserts for the exotic materials he machines.
 

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