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How should I cut this slab of aluminum?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    Just to help TMB, a jig saw on a cut this long and thick would be miserable, even with a really coarse blade. I'd rather use a sawzall over a jig saw
    Either one of those could be considered a form of torture.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Michael Edwards View Post

      Either one of those could be considered a form of torture.
      Exactly! As I said before, some of the replies here are from people who have never tackled a job like this.
      Those of us who have actually performed this kind of work know that a circular saw is the best way to do it...

      Keith
      __________________________
      Just one project too many--that's what finally got him...

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      • #48
        Originally posted by LKeithR View Post

        Exactly! As I said before, some of the replies here are from people who have never tackled a job like this.
        Those of us who have actually performed this kind of work know that a circular saw is the best way to do it...

        X2 on circular saw

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        • #49
          Have we had a vote for chainsaw yet? Just to keep this going a little longer... You'd want to run kerosene for bar oil though lol.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Dan Dubeau View Post
            ... You'd want to run kerosene for bar oil though lol.
            Good idea, then you will have the bar oil left over for your lathe... win-win


            Edit to add: now I can't quit thinking about a carbide tipped chainsaw going thru aluminum

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            • #51
              Never having done this myself....for those that are suggesting a circular saw, how would you set the blade relative to the workpiece? Maximum blade protrusion, or shallow protrusion (just breakting through) ? I'm assuming using a TCG (alloy utting grind) blade.

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              • #52
                Chainsaw? LOL!
                I didn't see where anyone mentioned tooth form. Most woodworking sawblades are ATB (alternate tooth bevel) with very sharp points. While this form will easily cut aluminum I have found that the triple chip form used in ripping cuts does a smoother quieter cut. Yes, metal cutting blades have less rake, but n this case of very thick material, a positive rake has the advantage of pulling the chip away from the deep cut instead of pushing it into the material. Positive rake on thin material can be problematic if not very firmly held and fed very slowly.

                Given the time this has been up, it's likely academic anyway. So how did you do it?

                DanK
                DanK

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by jcge View Post
                  Never having done this myself....for those that are suggesting a circular saw, how would you set the blade relative to the workpiece? Maximum blade protrusion, or shallow protrusion (just breakting through) ? I'm assuming using a TCG (alloy utting grind) blade.
                  Maximum blade depth is probably better because it slightly reduces the contact area of the blade. Matters
                  less as the material gets thinner. For example, If you're cutting 2" thick material with minimum blade
                  extension you'll have have a longer arc of the blade engaged in the cut.

                  If you're making lots of cuts it wouldn't hurt to use a dedicated metal cutting blade but I have cut tons of
                  parts using cheap 7-1/4" x 24 tooth wood blades. When the blade gets dull just toss it and use another...

                  Keith
                  __________________________
                  Just one project too many--that's what finally got him...

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by jcge View Post
                    Never having done this myself....for those that are suggesting a circular saw, how would you set the blade relative to the workpiece? Maximum blade protrusion, or shallow protrusion (just breakting through) ? I'm assuming using a TCG (alloy utting grind) blade.
                    For the times I’ve done it with both the circular saw and the wood chop saw I just used whatever carbide tipped wood blade that was in the saw.

                    I believe that a higher tooth count blade would work better though.

                    Times done with the circular saw was with material 1/4” and under. I can’t remember if I set blade depth to a minimum or not.

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                    • #55
                      If you do not use enough blade depth you will have too many teeth in the workpiece. I would set the depth to have three teeth in the material- one just leaving and one having just entered, with one in the middle. So it depends on the diameter of the blade, the number of teeth, and the thickness of the material.

                      Get a proper blade and be happy. This won't be the last time you will need to cut some aluminum plate.
                      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by The Metal Butcher View Post
                        Circ saw. WD40. Answer has already been said. But I predict this thread will continue on for 50 more posts.
                        Number 56 - would you care to revise your prediction?

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                        • #57
                          I think that prediction ("50 more") was made at #9. So we're not quite there yet! My question now is after this thread finally fades away, how many years will it take before it is resurrected again?
                          "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

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                          • #58
                            Thanks DanK, Keith, oxford and Darryl - appreciate your responses.
                            Regards John

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                            • #59
                              Good point. But can you mount a sawzall under a table? Mine would be a problem for that.



                              Originally posted by mattthemuppet View Post
                              Just to help TMB, a jig saw on a cut this long and thick would be miserable, even with a really coarse blade. I'd rather use a sawzall over a jig saw
                              Paul A.
                              SE Texas

                              And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                              You will find that it has discrete steps.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Dan_the_Chemist View Post
                                I have to cut a 14" wide (35 cm) by 3/4" thick (2 cm) slab of aluminum about 14" in from the end. This is too big for my Horrible Fright horizontal bandsaw. It's way too much for my hacksaw. I don't have a cold-cutting saw with carbide blade.

                                So far my only idea involves mounting the 70" long piece of aluminum on my Bridgeport with the long direction along the Y axis, and then slot-cutting it along the X axis while I hold the wobbly end. Or I could take it to a machine shop, but I'll bet they'll charge a pretty penny...

                                If I were "This Old Tony" I'd just mark it with Dykem (the blue is gone from my skin, now), scribing the line, and then allow video magic to do the cut. I am not that clever.
                                I break down aluminum everyday. My tool of choice of course is the horizontal bandsaw, but mine won't handle a piece quite that large either. I don't think my vertical would either. The throat is only 13-3/4. I bought a 9 inch (or close) metal cutting circular saw for this sort of thing. I've cut thin *stainless, mild steel, and aluminum upto 1 inch thick with it. It does a respectable job, but I do make sure the cut is lubricated to prevent chip welding. Before I got it I cut aluminum on my Rigid table saw, DeWalt miter saw and Skil worm drive saw.

                                ITS ALL DANGEROUS. Kick back can be a killer. I've got a scar on my gut from a piece of aluminum flying back that looks like a bullet wound. I'd probably clamp it up on my welding table and use the big metal cutting circular saw today if I had to do it. I'd start the cut, clamp a support behind the saw, and before finishing the cut clamp another support behind the saw near the end of the cut. My second choice would probably be the Skil worm drive. In any case on a cut that long I'd stop and remove the saw from the cut periodically to make sure the cut is lubricated, and to make sure tooth gullets are not chip welding full.

                                Those bigger pieces I try to order close to the size I need, but I do understand having to get the job done with what you have.

                                Good luck and BE CAREFUL.

                                * Stainless destroys those expensive blades, but if you have to get the job done then you have to get the job done.
                                *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

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