Two questions about aluminium sheet approx 1mm thick.
Can I cut it using my table saw with a TCT blade and/or will doing so blunt
the blade rapidly?
Can I get a polishing mop to fit a 115mm angle grinder, so I can mirror
No, it won't blunt the blade. You will have to be very careful of
feed rate and support, though, or you'll get wobbly edges, to say
I doubt that'll mirror finish it - maybe make lots of polishing
marks in it. Use flour grade wet'n dry (if need be) with plenty
of wayer with a drop of hairy lipsquid, then brasso on a clean
cotton cloth by hand.
Thanks - I'll watch those points - I have enough wobbly edges as it is!
I was trying to avoid the 'by hand' method. I saw on The Caravan Show the
other night someone mirror finishing aluminium with what looked like an
angle grinder, but the pad was at right angles, The pad appeared to be
discs of cloth stitched together.
That's a rag buffing wheel, I have no idea what it's mounted on - note
that your grangle winder whizzes around at at least 10,000 RPM, so it
will be a bit tasty on aluminium. What about a car polisher? You can
get a thing called a "Power Devil car polisher" if it's no good or
breaks, take it back!
Solvol Autosol is the stuff for polishing aluminium used with a 3" felt
wheel (Black and Decker make one) that fits your leccy drill using the
same arbour as a grinding wheel. You may need to finish with a bit of
Solvol Autosol on a cloth to remove any polishing marks but it is easy.
Used to get a chrome-like finish on engine castings when I was a biker.
Autosol is a chrome polish, so it's a very hard abrasive. It'll work on
aluminium, but it's a lot more effort than you need. Using a coarser and
softer polish will get you there much more quickly.
Don't use Brasso. Unless you clean it carefully afterwards, you can get
discolouring, because of the ammonia in it.
I have tried it, on 1/2" Perspex. It works well. A better result is had
using Perspex polish No. 2 afterward. Perspex polish No. 1 is very
gritty (some yrs ago, perhaps No. 1 & No. 2 are the wrong way around).
Perhaps you were thinking of something other than "Perspex"? Brasso is
also good on resin castings.
N.B. if you polish aluminium off properly, or even polish reasonably
frequently with Brasso there's no problem with "discolouration".
Brasso is a soft tripoli in a liquid medium. Tripoli is an appropriate
polishing medium for soft metals like aluminium and is pretty good for
some harder plastics too. It won't make a dent in chrome though, hence
the existence of Solvol Autosol. However the choice of liquid for Brasso
is chosen for cuprous metals, and it's not a good choice for aluminium
In particular, it's hard to polish plastics with a liquid medium and a
standard mop. You're much better off with a paste medium. A hard mop is
too likely to burn the surface on plastics, unless you arrange a lapping
As you know everything about everything, perhaps you'd like to explain
to us _why_ Brasso uses ammonia, and why this is an irrelevance (and
potentially a harmfully discolouring one) for aluminium.
I really wouldn't do this - there's a kickback risk. If you get the
right sort of sawblade (negative tooth rake) then it's easy and safe.
You won't "blunt the blade".
It will be incredibly noisy though, especially on a saw that's less than
You'll also want something like a Dreadnought file (a coarse-toothed
curved tooth rasp) for working the edges. Aluminium benefits from new,
sharp coarse files and rubbing the teeth with chalk before beginning.
The teeth tend to "pin up" with aluminium, so the rasp stays cleaner.
No, the angle grinder is much too fast.
There are useful nylon bristled abrasive-loaded rotary brushes you can
get to use in a hand drill. These are excellent for copper, but
aluminium is just a bit too soft - you can too easy put obvious swirl
marks in with them.
I suggest a range of hand Garryflex blocks instead (also made for
Roebuck), rubber blocks full of abrasive grit in a range of grades.
Aluminium is soft enough that doing it by hand doesn't take long, even
for large pieces. Make sure you use the coarsest first and don't go
finer until you've got the last of the scratches out. A mirror finish is
easy and only takes moments, a good unscratched mirror finish takes more
care and effort.
Either keep separate sets of blocks for ferrous and non-ferrous metals,
or rub then clean when swapping over - otherwise you get black smears.
Look after your aluminium when you're working on it (masking tape etc.
do avoid scratching where you're working). It's easier to not put big
scratches on than to take them off later. Emery or wire wool will shift
them, if you have to.
Cats have nine lives, which is why they rarely post to Usenet.
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