Latest Responses

By MetalShavings

June 8, 2016, 7:52 pm

Having Trouble Figuring It Out

I posted this same question over on the CNCzone forum but, haven't really gotten a clear answer. Respondents tend to throw in different variables to further complicate my initial questions. I am thankful for their replies but the actual answer still alludes me.

For the sake of simplicity I made up a machining scenario using a fictional tool and materials as an example. My question went something like this.

"Assuming that all of the pertinent data on tool parameters and materials have been entered correctly into the input fields of the HSMAdvisor software, do I then use the recipe that has been calculated by the software to machine an operation whose top face has different hight levels?"

For example: (this is just an example; these numbers are made up) The recipe calculated by HSMA included a default depth of cut of .430" and a WOC of .082". However, the deepest depth I'll be cutting to on this fictional part is only .220 inch with two other different levels on that same top surface. Those other two levels are .190" and .100". PIcture a stair set kind of profile.

Using the HSMA software, am I supposed to do this surface milling operation using the default recipe that included the .430" DOC and the .082" WOC, or do I have to turn this one surface milling operation into three surface milling operations by having the HSMA recalculate with each of the different DOC's/WOC's?

In a machining scenario like this, would it be more prudent or possible to manually set the DOC at .100" and then use the outputted recipe to machine that surface milling operation as a sort of HSM waterline operation?

I hope you'll pardon me if this is a stupid question but, I don't know the answer. I don't know if I'm over thinking it or if there's an easier way to go about determining which recipe to use. Is it the default recipe that HSMA churns out after you enter your initial parameters or is it the recipe we generate by manually inputting the differing DOC involved in this fictional milling operation?

Thanks in advance.


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Eldar Gerfanov

June 8, 2016, 9:18 pm


Thank you for contacting me for clarification.

Since the example you have provided is all "made up" i can not really give you an exact recipe.
The software gives you the results it considers "ideal" under the circumstances you have specified.

Do not get fixated on the default DOC / WOC values it suggests.

Very often your WOC is defined by your programming choices.

For example if you are slotting at WOC= 1x dia you have no other choice other than to set WOC to full slot on HSMAdvisor.

Here is a quick vid i made for you. Perhaps it will be helpful:



June 8, 2016, 10:34 pm

Thank you Eldar Gerfanov:

I watched the video and it was helpful. It was probably as close to getting a clear answer as I can hope to get.

In reference to the question I initially posted using my fictional machining scenario, the appropriate way to have undertaken it using HSMA would be to treat it as a "Waterline" milling operation. That is, set the DOC to a more shallow depth while still using the WOC that the software suggested as optimum; correct? And then with that more shallow DOC, making multiple HSM cutting passes until I reached the bottom of the deepest cut needed.

In the video, the tool paths displayed on your CAD drawing showed multiple passes at a more shallow DOC rather than plunging the full .5" before actually starting your pocketing/slotting operation. This leads me to believe that the initial DOC's and WOC's are basically just suggestions of what the software has calculated as "Optimum." (As you stated in the video)

Thanks again for your help. I guess there's really no way around this learning curve. I'm just going to have to break a few end mill before this trial version expires. If I can get it figured out before that time I'll be more inclined to buy the software outright.

Tim M.


Eldar Gerfanov

June 9, 2016, 12:21 am


You have to give HSMAdvisor gives cutting parameters according to the DOC/WOC specified.
Which means that If you are planning to use the regular pocket, you will have to use shallow depth of cut. There is just no way around it. And HSMAdvisor does let you know the ideal DOC.

If you CAM allows to run HSM toolapaths, then you can indeed helix-in to the 0.5" depth and machine all in one depth, but then your radial WOC will have to be closely controlled by CAM and it has to be low.

No. You do not have to break any endmills. Simple as that: calculate a straight test pass on a material of your choice and run with the exact suggested parameters. It will not let you break and endmill.

The only thing that may happen is, your spindle may stall and that in turn will break the cutter. But that is a matter of setting the proper available horsepower.



June 9, 2016, 7:04 pm

I must have some kind of dyslexia thing going on in my brain because alot of what you're saying makes sense to me but, the parts that don't make any sense to tend to override those parts of your explanation that [i]do[/i] make sense.

Would it be possible for me to upload a SolidWorks IGIS file, along with the exact tool-type specifications, the CNC mill I'll be using and the type of metal stock specifications that will be used so that you can use your expertise with the HSMA software to produce what YOU think is the optimum recipe for this example-project?

ON my end; I can enter this same pertinent data into my trial copy of HSMAdvisor to see what the differences are that I come up with as far as an optimum recipe. Only by visually comparing the differences with screen-shots of your HSMA calculator page with my Screen-Shot of my HSMA page will I be able to make sense of the numerical values we come up with.

If you are willing to do this, whatever file I upload will be just a random file that I make up. It will have no value as a mechanical part other than to figure out how you're going about entering the identical tool, milling machine and metal data I'm using.

I put forth the same request over on the CNCzone forum and got as many different outcomes as there were replies to my request. I was happy that those guys were willing to try to help but, because of the differences in the recipes we all ended up with I wasn't able to draw any conclusion as to where I went wrong when I input my data into the HSMA software. To confuse the issue even further, the replies I got included caveats like, "There is no specific answer," "Every operation is different," etc. I know this is true but, I wasn't asking for those exceptions or caveats. All I wanted were the recipes they came up with so I could compare them to the recipe I came up with. From that comparison I figured I could then ask the correct questions to arrive at the answers I was looking for. I know that the guys who were grateous enough to reply knew what they were talking about but, [i]I [/i]didn't know what they were talking about.

In the short video you made up I did get some good insight that I didn't have before. I've watched other HSM tutorial videos but, alot of the folks that make these videos assume that the people watching their videos already know all the nuances and the nomenclature of High Speed Machining. They'll skip many details and go right to the milling simulations or actual milling to show that what they were talking about was correct. I think it's just me but, I need more details than most of those other tutorial video makers provide.

I'm sure they now what they're talking about too but, when it comes to High Speed Machining, I don't know what they're talking about.


Eldar Gerfanov

June 9, 2016, 9:35 pm

Hi again,

Please click on the "contact" link on the top and send me the file.
I am going to make a long video this weekend showing how I would machine it.




June 10, 2016, 4:10 pm

Here is the IGIS file, the Screen-Shots of my HSMAdvisor showing the numbers that I entered in order to get the machining recipe that was generated.

I used two different size end mills. The smaller of the two would be used to mill the small slots on the top face of this fictitious part.

With the smaller of the two end mills, I originally got a default DOC that was nearly the length of the flutes. The WOC equaled the diameter of the end mill; which is what I expected. It was the default DOC that caused a panic in me. I changed the DOC to a more shallow depth of cut.

The depth of these small pockets are only about .100".

I would like to ask: If possible, in your video narrative, if you could not only show the information you are entering into the data fields but, also why you are entering the numbers you are entering. What is the logic behind the numbers you have entered; please.

Tim M.

IGIS file of fake part CAD Rendering of fake part top fakeparttop.JPG CAD Rendering of fake part bottom HSM.5screenshot.JPG 1/2" End Mill ScreenShot HSM.5screenshot.JPG 3/8" End Mill ScreenShot ScreenShot.1875endmill.JPG


June 10, 2016, 4:53 pm

I screwed up when I tried to upload my CAD renderings. I uploaded the wrong ones.

Also; I noticed that my screen shot of the 1/2" end mill's recipe was a recipe that used a 2 flute end mill. I had to go back and re-do it because I'll be using a 4 flute end mill.

Sorry about that. I uploaded the correct images, zip/IGIS file and Scree Shots over on the CNCzone forum for those guy to take a look at as well. They too were nice enough to try to help. I felt that I should at least keep them up to date on any progress I'm making in trying to figure out this HSMAdvisor software.

I would have edited my previous post but I could find no "Edit" button to do so. I'm sorry about the clutter this may cause.

Tim M.

fakeparttop.jpg fakeparttop.jpg fakepartbottom.jpg fakepartbottom.jpg

Eldar Gerfanov

June 10, 2016, 5:38 pm


I will look at it this weekend and make a video.



Eldar Gerfanov

June 12, 2016, 11:19 pm

Hi Tim,

Please check out this video:

It should give you a 100% idea whats going on :)



June 13, 2016, 2:18 pm

Hi Eldar Gerfanov:

I watched your new video and I learned a few more things that I didn't now before. When I entered my numbers into my trial copy of HSMA I got a similar set of default recipes. What I did not get was a warning telling me that I had exceeded the power limits of my machine. I think this is because I had moved the slider in the feeds and speeds adjustment box to .625 ahead of time.

I did get warnings stating that I had exceeded the feed rate for my machine but the was taken care of by using the sliders in the feeds and speeds adjustment box as well. At a feed rate of 110, I got a warning telling me I had exceeded my machine's capacity.

The Tormach 770 really is under powered for some metals and milling jobs. That's why I went with 303 stainless instead of 304 stainless steel. You mentioned that I may have had problems with my metal selection or something to that effect. I didn't know what you meant by that so it made things just a little confusing but overall, I now know a little bit more about using this software than I did before.

I was going to compare my feeds and speeds data with what yoiu came up with before you made this video but in the video you used different materials and different end mills so I wasn't able to do that.

I want to thank you again for your efforts in making this video and helping me figure out how to properly use your software. I appreciate it. I'm sure there are many others within the internet world that appreciate it too who you will most likely never hear from.

Thanks again.

Tim M.



June 23, 2016, 6:17 pm

In preparation for an upcoming project in 303 stainless, I've calculated and re-calculated the feeds and speeds using the same tools and metal stock data to see if I get the same or nearly the same output from my previous attempts.

For the most part, I'm getting roughly the same feeds and speeds being outputted nearly each time. I plan on using the HSMAdvisor's calculated speeds and feeds this weekend. Either it will work or it won't work. The only way to find out is to try it. If worst comes to worst I'll just have to lick my wounds, buy some new end mills and go back to conventional milling.

When I look at the recommended DOCs and WOCs everything inside of me screams, "THIS CAN'T BE RIGHT! It's to deep of a cut for these tiny little end mill."

This brings up a question about these recommended DOCs and WOCs. I'll state my question in the form of a machining scenario.

If HSMAdvisor recommends a depth of cut for a given end mill that is two or three times deeper than the intended cut that needs to be made, is it OK or advisable to use the recommended optimum feeds and speeds to make the needed cut even if it's shallower than the recommended DOC or WOC? I know that I if I aware of the DOC I'm needing to make to get the job done in one pass I can simply input that data into the DOC text field but, I don't want to go off on that tangent here. I'm just asking if it's OK to use the recommended feeds and speeds for a shallower cut or a different depth of cut, so long as it's not greater than the recommended optimum DOC that HSMAdvisor has calculated.

For example: Lets say that the recommended optimum DOC is .25" deep for a particular end mill and metal stock combination. The actual amount of materials we have to remove is .625" deep. That means that the first two passes or cuts can be made at the recommended feeds and speeds but the third or last pass will only be .125" deep. Will running the same feeds and speeds for the .125" DOC be OK even though it's 1/8" shallower than the recommended .25" DOCs?

To put it another way; if HSMAdvisor recommends that same .25" DOC for a given milling scenario and the amount of material needing removal is only .119", can I use the feeds and speeds that HSMAdvisor recommends for the .25" DOC without any detrimental effects the part being machined or my cutting tools?



Eldar Gerfanov

June 23, 2016, 10:29 pm

Tim, There is nothing wrong with going shallower than recommended.
If anything you will just reduce the load on your cutter and the mill.

Please get back at me with the results of your tests.




June 24, 2016, 10:27 am

Thanks for the quick reply Eldar:

I wondered about this after watching some of the online videos showing High Speed Machining of various metals. It's difficult to tell from just watching a video but, from what I gathered, it looked as though the videos were showing their setups making multiple passes to get to the desired level with the last cutting pass being much shallower than the previous cutting paths on the surfaces being milled. That last -shallower- cutting pass looked to be done at the same feeds and speeds as the deeper cut paths.

That's one of the things that was throwing me off about this software.

I'll let you know how it goes. Just in case it doesn't go well this time around, are we allowed to use foul language on this chat forum???

OK, I'm just messing with you. :biggrin:

Tim M.




June 24, 2016, 3:33 pm

I forgot to ask earlier; should such a milling job be done without coolant? I seem to remember hearing or reading somewhere that HSM is better done dry but, I don't know if this only applies to certain metal stock. I've also heard and read that stainless steel "Work-Hardens." So does that make this one of the metals that one should machine without coolant as well?



Eldar Gerfanov

June 24, 2016, 4:27 pm

In case of HSM Machinig toolpaths In 303 you can run it dry with airblast.

304, on the other hand is almost always with coolant.



June 27, 2016, 4:01 pm

I tried it with 303 stainless steel and ended up with a broken end mill. It's a shame because up until that end mill broke I was getting an awesome finish on my cuts. I don't think that the cause of the breakage was due to a bad feeds and speeds recipe. I'm pretty sure it was caused by the tool path itself.

The inside radial cuts laid out by my CAD software were to steep. There was no where for my end mill to escape to once it had cut to the deepest point in a given tool path.

To avoid breaking another end mill I decided to run this same part using some 1018 steel I had laying around. This time I increased the radius via the "Corner-Smoothing" feature of my SprutCam software and got all the way through both the top and bottom faces of my part. I used an old dull .5" end mill I had left over from some previous projects I'd done using conventional milling.

I do have to mention that with my Tormach 770 mill and the tool paths being calculated by my SprutCam software, there's no way that the "Optimum WOC's" being given by the HSMAdvisor software will work smoothly for me. I found that although I may be able to cut the full DOC's, I have to reduce the WOC's back at least two-thirds the recommended depth otherwise I start to bog down my machine or break an end mill. With the few test runs I've done, even the DOC's cut better when I cut back by at least half the amount recommended by HSMAdvisor.

When I was cutting the 303 stainless, just before my end mill snapped I noticed that the flutes of my end mill were acting like threads on a screw. At full recommended RPMs and with the WOC at only half of the recommended depth, as the end mill was cutting around a small rectangular island on the surface of my part, the flutes seemed to pull the end mill deeper down into the part causing it to bog to the point of breaking the end mill.

I should have heeded my own gut instinct. I had a feeling that in the case of the stainless steel, the DOC and the WOC recipe was to aggressive of a cut for my machine and end mill.

I guess this is that "Learning Curve" I alluded to in one of my posts. It looks like there's still lots to figure out with this HSMAdvisor software. It also looks like this free trial version will expire before it gets figured out. I'm going to have to buy another 1/2" end mill to be able to get this project milled a little quicker. Although the shallower WOCs and DOCs make for a better finished project, it also equates to an elapsed time not to much faster than conventional milling. On a positive note; I get to use the sides of my end mill which make them last a little longer.

I'll try to post some pictures of the project I've been working on so that all of my babbling makes a bit more sense. Once I get a fully completed part that I'm happy with in 1018 steel, I'll try cutting it in 303 stainless one more time. Maybe by then I will have learned just enough to keep from breaking any more end mills.

Tim M.


Eldar Gerfanov

June 27, 2016, 5:17 pm


Thank you for getting back to me with the feedback.

I believe that in addition to power problem you have tool clamping issue as well.
From what you describe it seems like the endmill is slipping in your collet.

If you are using a r8 collet it is not unusual to have such problem. With that out there all your efforts may prove fruitless.

SS takes a lot of torque to machine and I woulld suggest getting a sidelock holder.




June 27, 2016, 8:06 pm

The "Pucker-Factor" was certainly in play when I milled both the 303 stainless steel and the 1018 metal stock. So much so that I think there may very well have been a molecular bond that formed between the fibers of my fruit-of-the-looms and the skin cells of my anus. On the other hand, that bond could have just been cause when I capped my pants at the sound of that end mill breaking.

I'm using ER-16 collet holders for end mills a quarter inch or smaller and the side-lock holders for end mills 3/8" and 1/2". The end mill that broke was a 3/8" carbide held in one of the proprietary Tormach holders. There was no signs of slippage. In fact, it looked more like the end mill bogged down to a complete stop while the spindle continued turning. This caused the tip of my end mill about a quarter inch up from the tip to shear off. In essence, the end mill was bitting off more than it could chew. This was with a WOC of half of what HSMAdvisor gave me as "Optimum." I should have went a little more shallow than that still.

I can picture in my mind's eye what you are describing about the R8 collets but, that's not the way it happened. If I get some free time within the next few days I'll try to post some pics of the part in question, as well as the end mill and the holders.

Even though those first few passes on that stainless steel were looking really good, as soon as the tool path veered off of a straight line and came to any outside contours, that's when I started having problems. You'll see when I post those pics.

Tim M.


Eldar Gerfanov

June 27, 2016, 11:25 pm

Man, I understand your woes, but what you are describing should not happen at all.

I have made far more arrgessive cuts on SS and it was not even putting the cutter to the test.

Some weird stuff is going on. Perhaps your CAM toolapths are not controlling WOC very well or something else.

I had a guy (J Casswell btw.) successfuly tackle some really tough steel on his 1100.....

Idk I really want to help you though. To the point that I am willing to give you a free license, so you can give me more feedback later on.

Just for you to find the best parameters and then send the data back to me. Perhaps I am overestimating the 1hp your tormach 770 should have.

Any way shoot me an email with your first and last name and I will set you up.




June 28, 2016, 8:23 pm
Updated by: Eldar GerfanovJune 28, 2016, 9:16 pm

Wow Eldar:

That's a real generous offer. It's not something that a guy in my position would ever turn down. It sounds like perhaps there aren't alot of Tormach 770 mill owners who use your software. If there are they must have already figured it all out so you don't hear much form them. Either that or they went through the same frustrations I'm going through now and decided to stick with conventional milling.

I have to admit, I'm just a hobby-ist so my knowledge base isn't equal to that of a professional machinist. My own ignorance adds to the learning curve of using HSMAdvisor as well. If I were armed with the machining experience of a more seasoned machinist I may have figured this software out pretty quickly. Nearly everything I know about machining is more or less from a "Self-Taught" point of reference.

When you're "Self-Taught," you have a situation where the teacher is just as ignorant as the student. It makes for a slow learning process. I have a light day of work tomorrow. I may be able to post those pictures I mentioned earlier. I just have to edit them to make them as clear as I can.

Tim Montano



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