Aluminium

Hi
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 finish it?
Dave
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David Lang wrote:

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 the least.

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.
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I thought paraffin was the fluid for working aluminium?
Roger
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Roger R wrote:

I meant Brasso for polishing - it's a very good start. I'm sure there are other suitable polishes...
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Hi Chris

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.
Dave
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David Lang wrote:

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!
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On 10/06/2005 12:35 Chris Bacon gurgled:

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.
Parish
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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.
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Andy Dingley wrote: (about polishing aluminium)

Rubbish, total ablls, Brasso is a good polish for aluminium (also Perspex, etc). Google "brasso aluminium".

Well, duh.
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Chris Bacon wrote:

While it will work on aluminium (as long as you wash it afterwards to avoid discolouration), it is not in any way a good polish for perspex - it will leave a very cloudy surface. Try it.
--
Grunff

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Grunff wrote:

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".
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Eh? Have they changed the formulation? It certainly used to work ok.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

You mean on perspex? Dunno if they've changed the formulation, but I tried to polish out some scratches on a piece of clear perspex a few years ago and ended up with a very cloudy surface.
--
Grunff

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wrote:

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 of plastics.
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 machine.

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.
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It used to have some form of alcohol base? as I've seen 'unfortunates' drinking it. Although this was in Balham. They drink anything here.
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wrote:

Oh - is THAT what does it! I should have realised ... Brasso is certainly not effective in polishing Al but I don't know what is in a household/workshop situation.
Mary

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Probably a stitched polishing mop, available from professional polishing suppliers, but I doubt the ones I know would fit on an angle grinder.
Colin Bignell
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have. Clamp or screw the sandwich together. It will then cut fine for you
Paul Mc Cann
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On Thu, 09 Jun 2005 21:48:38 GMT, "David Lang"

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 perfectly rigid!
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.
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Easier to get an accurate cut with decent tinsnips? Or if well supported a jigsaw with suitable blade?
I'd be very worried about a table saw 'grabbing' and throwing things every which way.

Most polishers run at a low speed to avoid burning the polisher and paste.
I'd try a random orbit sander with a lambs wool bonnet.
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