I don't cut a lot, but I've been cutting aluminum angle off and on for
a few years (after someone recommended it here), using a carbide
tipped wood cutting blade (40 tooth I think) in a Delta 10" miter. It
cuts so fast that heat is not a consideration, so a slow RPM is not
needed like with steel. I've never had a problem with it grabbing. Cut
corner-up as someone else suggested. I mostly cut aluminum angle to
make small L-brackets at a fraction of the price I can buy them for
(looking good is usually not important).
Machine shops cut aluminum with 10" carbide sawblades ALL the time! On my
RAS, I've cut 1.5" alum plate, with ease, stacks of 2x2x1/8 alum angle, 1/4
plate by the boatload, you name it..
They even show that shit POS Dual Saw (a hobbled circular saw), going
through 1/8" alum.
They make a BFD out of it, calling it "diamond plate", leading the
shop-unsavvy viewer to believe it's diamond hard, not realizing its fukn
6061 alum with a tread pattern. goodgawd.....
You don't know whatcher missing!!! Your miter saw/carbide blade is *tailor
made* for alum! Any tpi will do, just be more gentle if using a very course
blade. Fine blades will weld up a little more, but no biggie.
Some people like to use wax, as, depending depending, the alum *can* weld
between teeth, but it's easy to break out, and water is good too.
I usually don't use anything, just don't push as hard as if I had coolant.
Next, that abrasive wheel is undoubtedly for FERROUS metals. It must be a
BEAR to cut alum with that!!!
In fact, I've never heard of an abrasive wheel even made for non-ferrous,
as toothed blades are so efficient.
They DO make **grinding** wheels for non-ferrous, tho, which are very cool
to use. For angle grinders, poss. for bench grinders as well.
Just use good shop sense when cutting. If using an RAS, best to push the
blade IN (conventional cutting), must safer, no sudden grabbing.
In a miter saw, just have the material up against the stop, in a way that
minimizes the blades ability to "lift" the material.
There's a video somewhere of a shop teacher cutting like 4" alum plate with
a 7 1/4" circular saw!!! Holy shit.....
As far as using these blades for ferrous (even rebar), I wouldn't do it --
the sfpm is just not right for the material, you'll wind up chipping/dulling
the carbide. It CAN be done, just not with any economy of tooling.
fwiw, we had a hydraulic water-cooled machine, essentially a fancy chop
saw, for cutting alum bar.
Iirc, it went through 3" round bar in somewhere between 10 and 20 sec. Holy
In principle, our chop saws/RAS are/do the same thing, just slower.
Not a cold saw. We had one of those, two speed: slow and slower. Very
expensive blades, very accurate, centering vise, A Thomas, iirc. Repeat
cuts within .005.
This was a Kalamazoo, a real *screamer*, very high rpm, special vise that
held the drop side, so no material would fly off.
If the coolant wasn't aimed properly (fairly high pressure water), you would
get welding to the blade.
A cold saw could never get through 3" alum in 20 secs or less -- at least a
traditional cold saw..
This screaming Kalamazoo put the whole shop on edge.
I cut up to 1/4 inch aluminum often. Most of the time on a miter saw with a
60 or 80 tooth carbide blade. Angle stock no problem. CLAMPED DOWN TIGHT.
GO SLOW. Smooth cuts. Blade will dull in time. I use the cheap Harbor
Freight 10 inch blades for this. I even cut on regular band saw with wood
cutting blades the thinner stuff. Blade will dull in time. But it works for
Thanks for all the tips (and confidence) as far as using carbide
tipped blades. I'll try it this weekend.
re: "I even cut on regular band saw with wood cutting blades the
I often need to round off the ends of the 1" x 1/4" flat stock,
essentially turning 6" rectangles into 6" hockey rink shapes.
I usually nip off the corners on my band saw, then use my bench
grinder to rough out the rounding and finally clamp sets of 4 in a
bench vise and even them out with a hand file.
Is there a special type or grade of grinding wheel that would give me
the smoothest finish or any other suggestions to reduce the labor?
The key is to use the right blade for the purpose -- this includes
material, thickness, shape, and the tool in which it is being used.
To simply take any woodworking carbide-tipped blade and expect to use it
on any general metal (ferrous or non-) _IS_ reason to be very afraid.
OTOH, there are blades for virtually any application readily available;
you simply have to look for them (and, of course, know something about
what it is you intend to do with it).
The key thing for safety is that the grind and particularly the hook
angle be suitable for the material thickness and shape--generally that's
what gets you in trouble in using a woodworking blade for metal; they're
too aggressive on the hook angle and do grab or "get away" before you
can prevent it. That's what the abrasive wheel prevents as it doesn't
actually have teeth.
<www.carbide.com> has a nice selection menu system online for selection
of nonferrous blades; they don't (or at least didn't last time I looked)
have ferrous blades selection online.
Amana Tool and the other major manufacturers all have a lot of useful
information on blades for all purposes and what styles of tooth, etc.,
are good for what.
Not always if you'll look at what is available for your specific
needs--in fact, I'd venture probably "no" altho again it'll depend on
what you have to use one in as well as what you want to do mostly.
Thanks for that info.
There's a local "Saw and Knife" shop in my town that sells/sharpens/
services all kinds of cutting blades and machines.
Maybe I'll stop by there and see what they recommend. I wouldn't mind
a dedicated - and proper - blade for when I'm cutting aluminum.
On Thu, 15 Apr 2010 08:36:34 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03
a "cold saw" is vastly superior to an abrasive wheel for cutting
aluminum - and if you use a disk for aluminum, NEVER use it for steel-
and vise versa. It is not a LIKELY outcome, but the POSSIBILITY of a
Thermite explosion dictates that you keep the two separate.
A carbide blade cuts aluminum very effectively but be sure the chips
do not get into the cooling air of the saw motor - chips will short
the armature VERY easily - and permanently. I damaged my good Rockwell
saw doing that.
Aluminum can be cut just fine on a miter saw with the correct style
This a very good one meant for non-ferrous
Freud LU89M015 15 Inch x 108 Teeth Non Ferrous Blade
$125 new from 9 sellers
Freud LU89M015 15" 108-Tooth Industrial Nonferrous Metals Blade. This
heavy-duty non-ferrous metal cutting blade produces an excellent
finish. These blades have custom designed gullets to minimize chip
build-up and specially formulated carbide with a -7 deg hook angle and
a 13 deg Top Bevel Angle for long life.
or cheaper one
Freud D1080N 10" 80 Tooth TCG Non FERROUS/PLASTIC Saw Blade
$58 new, $56 used from 13 sellers
Nonferrous Metal Diablo Saw Blade Specifically designed for on the job
cutting of nonferrous metal such as copper pipe, aluminum extrusion,
brass plate, and even plastics. Laser cut stabilizer vents for reduced
vibration and precise cuts.
I even use just my regular carbide wood blades for the very occasional
aluminum cut when I'm too lazy to change out the blade.
Slow even rate feed.
Regarding the TPI's you suggested (80 & 108) I'd like to share what
the guy at the "Saw and Knife" store just told me and ask for your
For 1.5 " x 1.5" x 1/8" angle stock and 1" x 1/4" flat stock, he said:
Based on the thickness of the material, 60 TPI is probably the highest
you want to go. Above that you run the risk of melting the stock and
have it weld back together behind the cut. 80 TPI and above is for
very thin material.
Best tooth design is Negative Hook Angle, Triple Chip Grind. Alternate
Top Bevel, especially with a Positive hook will dull very very
Cut the Angle stock legs down (as suggested elsewhere in this thread)
Cut the 1" x 1/4" flat stock "standing up" - clamp it so the the 1"
surface is against the fence.
According to that info, the $59 Diablo non-ferrous 84 TPI blade that
HD carries doesn't sound like what I want to use. The Saw and Knife
place has a $79 blade in stock that fits the specs he laid out.
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