CNCCookbook 2018 End Mill Survey Winners
Thanks to everyone who participated in our 2018 End Mill Survey (almost 400 votes cast for 115 brands), we’re ready to present the results.
To make it easier to see trends, I’m using the same format I did for the 2017 End Mill Survey. that means I am dividing the results into 3 Tiers:
- Tier 1: The most popular brands. These brands account for 70% of the votes.
- Tier 2: Adds another 25%. Taken together Tier 1 and Tier 2 account for 95% of votes.
- Tier 3: Less well-known brands that make up the remaining 5% of votes. I’m not going to talk about these brands as there are too few votes to draw any conclusions other than they’re not popular with the CNCCookbook audience.
Let’s see what we’ve got!
First Tier End Mill Brands
Collectively, this tier garnered 70% of the votes, so they have most of the market share for this audience.
Here is how you voted for these end mills:
The top 3 brands were Harvey Tools, Accupro, and OSG. Compared to last year, OSG moved up to replace Niagara. It had been #4 in 2017 while Niagara was #3.
Accupro is MSC’s house brand in case you didn’t know.
Other movements from 2017 – 2018:
- Garr edged out YG-1 for 5th place while Kennametal is right where they were in 2017.
- Iscar, Guhring, and Helical Solutions moved up, perhaps at the expense of Onsrud, Lakeshore, and SGS.
A lot of this is normal market fluctuation, but clearly some brands are moving far enough to indicate they’ve made progress in 2018.
Second Tier End Mill Brands
Collectively, the second tier garnered another 25% of the votes, which brings the total market share of First and Second Tier to 95%.
Here is how you voted for these end mills:
There are a lot of great brands in the second tier.
The remaining 5%, representing the Third Tier, had 62 brands, most of which garnered just 1 vote. That’s too little participation to give us any statistically significant trends.
Why are You Buying?
Obviously just straight up brand popularity doesn’t tell the whole story on which end mills might be worth looking into. We also asked the survey respondents why they were buying with 3 choices:
- Maximize production performance
- Best balance of value + performance
Here’s the result:
The most popular category by far was choosing end mills with the best value combination of performance vs cost. That was followed by a smaller audience seeking maximum production performance.
Performance End Mills
Which end mills are the high performance crowd selecting?
The most popular brands for all-out performance were Harvey Tools, OSG, and Garr. These were followed by Kennametal, Helical Solutions, and MA Ford.
Best Combination of Performance and Price
For our most popular category, folks are trying to balance performance versus price. They want the best end mill value for their money, in other words. Here are the results:
The best end mill values were from Harvey Tools, Accupro (MSC’s house brand) and Niagara.
Hey, what if you just want the cheapest possible end mills, even when it may mean compromising performance or quality?
Listen, sometimes it makes sense. Here’s the brands you choose for this category:
It’s fascinating to see some of the same end mill brands doing well here as did well on Value or Performance. Does that make sense?
It all depends on how you define “Cheap”. If it’s literally the unit cost of an endmill being lowest, then it makes no sense. But, if it is the cheapest cost to remove say a cubic inch of material, then it makes perfect sense to see some end mills from the higher performance categories showing up. I have heard informally, for example, that YG-1 end mills do a great job at their price point.
And of course, it makes sense that the Generic end mills from China win the category by a wide margin.
The last question we asked on our survey was which tool coatings you prefer to purchase. Coatings can increase the performance of end mills considerably in terms of Tool Life and Material Removal Rates, so it’s no surprise that coatings are very popular. Here are your choices:
Only 2.7% of responses prefer no coatings. The most popular coatings are TiAlN, TiN, and TiCN.
Now you’ve got a lot more information about the which End Mill brands are the most popular based on which type of buyer you are (performance, value, or super cost-conscious). But, in the true spirit of the old Got Milk ad campaigns, I have to ask you in all sincerity:
“Do you have a good Feeds and Speeds Calculator?”
I mean that very seriously, because End Mills live or die based on whether you use them with the best Feeds and Speeds. End Mills can be very costly, and feeds and speeds calculators can make a huge difference to both Tool Life and Material Removal Rates (for faster cycle times).
Here are the improvements users of our G-Wizard Calculator software told us they got versus whatever method they used before:
Considering the G-Wizard Feeds and Speeds Calculator can be had for as little as $79, those are some pretty amazing results that you can start experiencing in just minutes after installing a free 30-day trial. In fact, most good quality end mills cost all most as much as G-Wizard, so it pays for itself in a hurry. Give it a try.
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Bob is responsible for the development and implementation of the popular G-Wizard CNC Software. Bob is also the founder of CNCCookbook, the largest CNC-related blog on the Internet.