Mic-6 aluminum tooling plate is the best material for your build plate, period. It's extremely flat and
conducts heat really well. Also, it's pretty. Let's get into some crunch before you guys revoke my man
card for calling something pretty.
Each side is machined to a maximum 20 microinch or 0.50-micron smoothness. The tolerance for any
thickness is ±0.005” /±0.127mm. Maximum deviation from flat: Specified plate thickness maximum
variation: 3/4” and over: .005” / 19mm and over: .127mm 1/4” to 5/8”: .015” / 6mm and over: .381mm I
love me some crunchy data. You don't have to understand the data. Suffice it to say MIC-6 is very, very
flat. It doesn't get any better than this for a build plate on a 3d printer.
The best way I've found to cut aluminum tooling plate is with a tablesaw but I've also used a
jig/sabersaw. You can clamp a bar or straight-edge to it to make a fence to keep your cut straight. One
note: Don't lift the saw off your material until the blade stops or it will break your blade. Don't ask
me how I know that. I buy Bosch jigsaw and bandsaw blades.
If you need to mill your aluminum, use two-flute endmills. Aluminum is kind of “gummy” and tends to stick
to a four-flute end mill so you end up cutting through your chips. Two-flute end mills are much better
for chip clearance. For keeping your cutter cool, a lot of machinists use kerosene when cutting
aluminum. Mineral spirits works fairly well, in my experience but I'm no machinist so I'm sure someone
will come along and tell me how wrong I am. For endmills, Niagara Cutter makes some of the best cutting tools on the market.
Where to Buy
Hopefully, you didn't go and google where to buy MIC-6 before you finished this article. If you did that
you probably saw the high price tag and closed my website. We just need relatively small pieces of it
for our 3d printers. There's a lot of sellers on eBay selling remnants for ~$20 or so. I've bought
several pieces from eBay seller USA Metal Online. I highly recommend them. If you're like me, go ahead
and order two plates so you don't have to wait on a new to be delivered when you wreck the first one.
Also, I covered my MIC-6 plates with painter's tape to protect the surface while I was cutting them out.
Aluminium is soft so be careful with clamps.