OT: Cutting Aluminum Stock

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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Agree w/ him although you're not going to melt behind the blade in even 1/4" stock that's only 1" wide. You could get away w/ 80T and if the amount of angle vis a vis 1/4" stock is high I might even go that way but if there's any substantial amount of the thicker I'd go w/ fewer teeth. (Of course, me, I'd probably do both... :)
He's dead-on on the TCG teeth, btw...
Again, I recommend the selection engine at carbide.com even if you're intending to buy local--it's good for seeing what is out there for a given app from a wide range of manufacturers.
<http://www.carbide.com/catalog/CTSB_non-ferrous_options.cfm
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DDan-
I'm no expert on the exact TPI that would work best.
My experience in using carbide tipped "wood" cutting tools for aluminum began about 25 years ago when I hired a GM engineer about 10 years older than me.
He taught (& showed me) that "anything you can do in wood can be done in aluminum with decent, sharp carbide tipped cutters". They did all sorts of quick & dirty prototyping in aluminum using wood working tools. I was skeptical but he showed me and we did lots of messing around.
Later I researched the "correct" types of cutter & saw tooth grinds, not that I ever sharpened a tool using this knowledge.
I've had best luck with triple chip grind, for long lasting dedicated blade for aluminum. But for a few cuts (like not production work) I have found that just about any sharp carbide tipped wood blade will cut aluminum.
Also.... it looks like I was a bit too quick with the copy & paste of the description of the 108T blade it's a 15" ! A 15" blade with 108T actually is a "coarser" blade than a 10" 80T.
I think for a 10"; 80 T would be fine as would 60T.
You just want to feed at a steady rate such that the blade cuts the aluminum but not such a slow rate the saw isn't really working; its a trade between cutting & just rubbing. Of course oyu don't want the jam the blade into the work but neither do oyu want the saw to be loafing.
As long as the blade is sharp and the feed / speed is ok, his "melt & re-weld comment" IMO is bologna.
Thinner material material needs smaller teeth. I wouldn't cut anything thinner than 1/16" on a chop saw unless I got tricky with the fixturing (wood sandwich)
I have sandwiched thinner material between to pieces of plywood to cut it on a chop saw or table saw.
cheers
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Realising question is about Aluminum. But recently cut off a quantity of 'steel' shelf brackets about one eighth inch thick, using a 5 inch metal cutting blade in my bench saw (it replaced the 10 inch blade so the tip speed would have been quite low). The blade was adjusted to be barely above the thickness of the work being cut. Fed slowly and used eye protection, most chips/sparks went downwards. Seemed like a good method. Very little wear of the cutting wheel. Could be used for Al.?
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Thanks!
All of that makes perfect sense.
It's a tradeoff between the "100%, A1, gnat's-butt, perfect blade for the job" and blades that will get the job done is an acceptable manner.
Based on how I've been cutting it in the past (w/ the fiber wheels) I'm sure that any improvement gained by using one of my wood cutting blades will be worth it.
Thanks again!
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

I just use my miterbox saw with the carbide blade on such aluminum things as you've mentioned. Just pull it through slowly for a nice clean cut.
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Well, if you jab the blade into the metal with all your strength, it may grab. You have the same problem with wood.
However, if you feed the blade into the material at the rate it is capable of cutting the material, it will not grab.
Modern "cold saws" use carbide tipped blades to cut all types of metal very cleanly with no heat buildup, burning or sparking.
I recently purchased a "Bullet Industries" carbide blade for my 14" chop saw, specifically for cutting aluminum. It works great. It goes through aluminum like a hot knife through butter. No melting. No sparks. No forcing the abrasive blade to cut something it wasn't designed to cut. Cuts straight and square.
It also made my metal cutting chop saw into a handy WOOD cutting chop saw. The blade will crosscut a 4x4 clean and square.
Bullet also makes blades for circular saws.
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