# Ball Nose Milling Strategy Guide

## Ball Nose Milling Without a Tilt Angle

Ball nose end mills are ideal for machining 3-dimensional contour shapes typically found in the mold and die industry, the manufacturing of turbine blades, and fulfilling general part radius requirements. To properly employ a ball nose end mill (with no tilt angle) and gain the optimal tool life and part finish, follow the 2-step process below (see Figure 1).

### Step One: Calculate Your Effective Cutting Diameter

A ball nose end mill’s Effective Cutting Diameter (Deff) differs from its actual cutting diameter when utilizing an Axial Depth of Cut (ADOC) that is less than the full radius of the ball. Calculating the effective cutting diameter can be done using the chart below that represents some common tool diameters and ADOC combinations or by using the traditional calculation (see Figure 2).

### Step Two: Calculate Your Compensated Speed

Given the new effective cutting diameter a “Compensated Speed” will need to be calculated. If you are using less than the cutter diameter, then its likely your RPM’s will need to be adjusted upward (see Figure 3).

KEY
ADOC = Axial Depth of Cut
D = Cutting Diameter
Deff = Effective Cutting Diameter
R = Tool Radius (Dia./2)
RDOC = Radial Depth of Cut
SFM = Surface Feet per Minute
Sc = Compensated Speed

## Ball Nose Milling With a Tilt Angle

If possible, it is highly recommended to use ball nose end mills on an incline (ß) to avoid a “0” SFM condition at the center of the tool, thus increasing tool life and part finish (Figure 4). For ball nose optimization (and in addition to tilting the tool), it is highly recommended to feed the tool in the direction of the incline and utilize a climb milling technique.

To properly employ a ball nose end mill with a tool angle and gain the most optimal tool life and part finish, follow the 2-step process below.

### Step One: Calculate Your Effective Cutting Diameter

The chart below that represents some common effective cutting diameters and ADOCs at a 15º tilt angle. Otherwise, the traditional calculation below may be used (see Figure 5).

### Step Two: Calculate Your Compensated Speed

Given the new effective cutting diameter a compensated speed will need to be calculated. If you are using less than the cutter diameter, then its likely your RPM’s will need to be adjusted upward (see Figure 6).

KEY
Deff = Effective Cutting Diameter
SFM = Mfg Recommended Surface Feet per Minute
Sc = Compensated Speed

5 replies
1. Zidane Shepard says:

Thank you for this milling strategy guide. I especially appreciate your insight on milling with a tilt angle. I was unaware that this could extend the life of the bit. I will keep this in mind while milling in the future.

2. jhcstools says:

Thank you for sharing this method which I haven’t learned before. It’s helpful for me to learn a lot.

3. Jordan says:

Faced with the choice of climb milling or moving in the direction of the incline, which is preferable for surface finish?

• Guy Petrillo says:

Great question Jordan! When your main concern is surface finish we recommend using the climb milling strategy