25 October 2019
25 October 2019,

So, you’ve got to remove some metal. You need a highly polished finish and you don’t have a lot of time. Whatcha gonna do? Will you go the fly cutter route or modify the handy face mill?

Modifying the Face Mill

Okay, the knee jerk reaction is to modify the face mill. Take all the cutters off that bad boy and just reinstall the one cutter you want to use. Now, you’re probably going to have to make multiple passes with that face mill. Just make sure that they are seamless. Because for every pass you make you are going to degrade the quality of the finish.

Oh wait what did you say? You’re going to need to make many passes because your cutter is small?

Well, what you could do is install a second cutter on the face mill. But here is the trick. You’re going to need to make sure it is absolutely 100% completely level with the first cutter. Sorry, no deviation allowed. There’s no degree of tolerance here. Get it just the slightest bit off level and you’ve ruined the finish.

fly cutter made by Sierra American

Using the Fly Cutter

The other approach is to use the tool that’s made for the job. When you need to insert a screw do you use a saw blade?  How about if you need to install a nail? Is that when you run and grab your collet wrench?

Of course not! You use the right tool for the job to get the job done right. It’s just common sense. (Which incidentally isn’t so common these days if you haven’t noticed.)

Fly cutters use a single blade so you get the best finish possible. The more area you need to finish, the larger the fly cutter you use. You can even grind your own bits if you’re into that sort of thing.

Fly cutters are meant to be used as a finishing tool. Just as a hammer was meant to drive a nail. So why modify the face mill when a fly cutter will do? For maximum versatility, get a set of multiple sizes. That way, not matter what size bit you grind, you’ll have the right cutter for the job.

cnc fly cutter

Fly Cutter Set

Sierra American – Home of the American Fly Cutter

If you’re going to use a fly cutter, you might as well use the best one you can buy. That’s the ones from Sierra American Multi-Systems.

They make fly cutters in the USA. American tools for American machinists. So, use a fly cutter for the best finish. And for the best fly cutter, buy Sierra American wherever you buy tools.



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