OT: Cutting Aluminum Stock

Page 1 of 3  

On occasion, I need to cut aluminum stock, both 1.5" x 1.5" x 1/8" angle stock and 1" x 1/4" flat stock.
I have always used one of those metal-cutting wheels in my 10" Delta Miter Saw, similar to this:
http://www.westerntool.com/10-inch-cut-off-wheel-metal.html
The other day, I was watching "How It's Made" and they showed the process used to make Carbide Tips saw blades. They started with the raw steel and followed the process through to the final product.
At the end of the segment, they showed a carbide-tipped blade in a miter saw cutting through a steel rod with the voice over saying something like:
"And when they're finished, they're strong enough to cut through the steel that they are made from."
Somehow, I'm reluctant to start using my carbide tipped blades to cut my aluminum stock. The thought of the teeth grabbing the angle iron just scares the bejesus out of me. But if they can be used to cut steel, aluminum should be a breeze.
Am I right to be afraid, be very afraid?
Are the cutoff wheels, even with the melting and subsequent filing/ grinding that I have to put up with, still the best option?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I've been using a 10" 40 tooth carbide saw in my old radial arm saw to cut aluminum stock with no problems, I have cut stock up to one quarter inch thick with no problem. Never get to use anything heavier. It does make a lot of noise.
Charlie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have used radial arm saws - with the cut-off wheels - to cut steel plate, but I've done it by dragging the blade over the material at ever-increasing depths.
I don't have a radial arm saw in my shop so the miter saw is my tool of choice.
I'm just curious as to whether I'd get a smoother cut with a carbide tipped blade and if it would be safe to use on angle iron, especially as to how the spinning teeth would first make conact with the upright portion of the angle iron.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In

Rotate the angle iron so the angle portion is up-most and both edges are down, against the table. /\ / \ like that, only obviously the angle shows incorrectly in text. Then the blade never has an uncut edge to hook into, plus the end of the cut is done near the table. Feed slowly and consider ear protectors if you have to do more than a minute's work with it.
Ferrous materials (iron, NOT steel!) can be cut with carbides, but not hardened steel and other types; they should have made that abundantly clear as it would be possible to end up with a lot of tiny pieces of carbide (teeth) being flung all over your shop. I'd avoid anything except thin sheet steel on a carbide blade. And put it between two pieces of wood unless you want a really messy cut. They have the power of a .22 shell when the blade is at speed. And if you're not careful it can create enough heat to permanently warp the blade too, especially the cheap one with stress still in them; heat will release that stress by bending the blade.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Twayne wrote:

The "dry cut" saws (~$500) that use a carbide toothed blade to cut metals including steel run at a much lower RPM than a standard table saw or RAS. The true "cold" saws ($1,500+) that cut steel with a carbide toothed blade run are really low RPM and use coolant. You can get away with the regular saw for aluminum since the higher blade speed is ok there.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 15 Apr 2010 09:04:16 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

than that used for wood/aluminum. My regular carbide blade DID make short work of the mechanism of my old WorkMate when I lost track of where the blade was going, but anything heavier would likelyu have damaged the blade.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

*NO* 7 1/2 or 10" blade is good for steel, at 3600 rpm -- the sfpm are just too high.
You can mebbe get away with thin steel or sheet metal, but then you are likely not really cutting but simply tearing the metal.
--
EA



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message

http://www.mkmorse.com/products/index.aspx?productu
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message

(Cross-posted to rcm for other opinions)
Yeah, Morse is (or was) the real deal, but they do emphasize "thin" metals, + rebar. Their short video only shows versabar being cut. The also have the line, "blades reach full potential when used on special meal cutting circular saws". Hmmmm.... I loved "full potential"!!! That *must* mean reduced rpm, no? "cold" circular saws??
I suspect this is an expensive way to cut steel. In their box How Fast?, they give some examples, for example, at 12" cut in 1/4" steel in under 12 sec, and some other stuff, incl blade life wrt material.
The numbers (and their units) seemed sort of OK, but also sort of cooked, consistency-wise, and of course not clear under what conditions. Funny they omitted blade life with aluminum! Gave numbers for 3/8" SS: 12" cut in 51.2 seconds. Not bad, but right away, ahm wunnerin about dat .2 seconds..... please....
In SS, they claimed a blade life of 13 cuts. If they used their 7" csm748ssc blade at about $85 (incl shipping), yer talkin $6+ per cut. And THAT was proly in their "metal cutting circular saw", not yer Skilsaw at home.
I just did a bunch of 8" cuts in 1/4 alum on a 10" RAS, and they certainly took longer than 12 secs -- mebbe 15 secs, so either that Morse blade is a real asskicker, or their numbers are, well, very optimistic.
I don't doubt these blades are legit, but I think they are legit at a very high cost per cut, and proly not practical for you'n'me. I suspect these blades are for persnickety field applications, where plate footings etc. have to be just right, and oxyacetylene would be too crude (couln't use O/A on SS, either), and no band saw was available.
Overall, very inneresting.
--
EA


>



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Existential Angst wrote:

The saws I have seen for use with the metal cutting blades were notable for the complete shroud that surrounded the blade, this kept the chips from flying everywhere. I never looked at the RPM rating on it, should be able to find it online. Cutting the stainless would be a real trick, too slow, it will harden, too fast, you jam up the teeth.
Cutting Aluminum on the RAS, or power miter box is made a lot easier if you have a non-ferrous metals blade on the saw, and lube it up with teflon spray lube. If you take gentle cuts and don't clog the blade, they last a very long time. We will make thousands of cuts in 1"x1"x1/8" wall Aluminum box tube with the same blade.
The fun one is cutting 1/4" Al plate into neat curvy shapes. Make a 3/4" plywood or particle board template, mark the plate, then using lots of cutting fluid, saw just outside the lines with a sabre saw. place the plate cut out back on the template, and secure it, then carefully rout the edge to the template with a piloted, spiral flute router bit designed for aluminum, again using lots of cutting fluid.
In this case we used water soluble oil, the same as our drill press and cold saw run.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

re: "then carefully rout the edge to the template with a piloted, spiral flute router bit...again using lots of cutting fluid "
I'm assuming you are using something other than a router table, correct?
Otherwise, how do you keep the lube out of the device?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
DerbyDad03 wrote:

Correct, using a big variable speed router not mounted on a table. With the router above the work, it actually stays pretty dry. The guy doing the work will want either long sleeves or a welding coat. Face shield is a good idea too.
This particular project was sets of 8 and 4 identical shapes cut from 1/4" aluminum plate. The plates were 4x10 and it took almost 4 sheets to get all the parts. Given the size and relative floppiness (they were curvy, long and thin) keeping the work on saw horses and moving the router over them was the best way.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 16 Apr 2010 20:05:43 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

Ain't it funny that the only thing you can't cut with a "circular" saw, is circles!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
me wrote:

Actually, you can. Just requires the right blade.
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Wrong, you certainly can cut circles with a circular saw. When you cut circles with a circular saw you get semicircles.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 18 Apr 2010 15:52:30 -0500, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

Took a moment to follow that... but you get credit for being much funnier in the end than me.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well, you could if your circular saw was mounted upside down to act like a table saw.
I've used the following method to cut circles on my table saw many times...
http://www.graspr.com/videos/Cut-a-Circle-on-a-Table-Saw
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
DerbyDad03 wrote:

Iron or aluminum? AL, NP. __________

Worst that can happen is that the aluminum will bend but to avoid that possibillity either...
1. Lay the angle down so you start cutting where the angles join.
2. Stick a piece of wood in the angle.
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

buy an inexpensive contractor carbide blade and try that on your al. stock. Home Depot has them.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Exactly! You don't want to be using your $100 cabinet blade. I keep a cheap Ace Hardware blade around for cutting this kind of stuff.
BTW were some PPE, a face shield and a long sleeve shirt at a minimum. This will generate lots of flying chips of metal.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.