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Dovetail cutter for aluminum (milling on the lathe...)

January Project of the Month [3]
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H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Jan 9, 2016
I picked up a milling attachment for my 7x10 HF lathe, and now I need to do something with it... My first project is going to be some light-duty 6061 aluminum tool holders for mounting indicators and whatnot.

So, now I need a dovetail cutter and some end mills.

Is there anything in particular I need to look for, or should I just pick up something in HSS and go for it? I've looked at a few and they vary between 6 and 12 teeth(?), HSS, Carbide, on and on. My best guess is HSS with a lower tooth count, but (once again) not knowing what I don't know, thought I should ask.


ETA: The rest of the operation
I plan on getting the blocks cut and then squared up on the lathe. I will remove the bulk of the material in the dovetail and tool holding slots either on my table saw or with a standard end mill. Once that's complete I'll take a final facing cut on the dovetail side with an end mill and then finish out the dovetail.
I have a 3MT ER 32 collet setup for holding the bits during milling operations.
Last edited:

Ulma Doctor

Infinitely Curious
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Feb 2, 2013
hss cutters will work fine in aluminum.
roughing tools generally will have lower tooth counts
for aluminum, you may consider using 2 flute endmills for ease of stock removal and then come back with the dovetail cutter to complete


Grumpy Old Man
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Jan 9, 2013

Any chance of seeing a photo of this attachment?
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