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How to cut 1/2" thick Naval brass

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  • How to cut 1/2" thick Naval brass

    I have had this 4'X8' sheet of what is apparently salt water corrosion resistant Naval brass(or bronze) for years. This could be aluminum bronze. I am sure it is salt water corrosion resistant stuff. Came out of a Navy yard auction years ago. The guy who bid on it thought he was buying a pile of sheet metal,and this 1/2" sheet was inside the pile.

    It has a beautiful golden color to it,and it is tough to cut.

    I made a cannon out of a 5" bar of the same gold colored brass(or bronze).

    Do I have to invest over $300.00 in a Milwaukee metal cutting circular saw and blade to cut it,or would a cheaper saw of similar amperage and RPM be suitable? After I get the brass sawn up,I'd have no further use for it,so I hate to spend a lot on it.

    I'd obviously have to put suitable guards over the open side of the blade.

    This sheet weighs about 800#. All I need to do is get it cut into more manageable size pieces so I can get it onto my Roll In bandsaw,where I have HSS tipped blades.

    Any suggestions? Years ago I bought a good saber saw to try to cut it,but after quite a while,I only made it about 9",and stopped,afraid I'd ruin the new saw.
    Last edited by gwilson; 08-06-2011, 07:56 PM.

  • #2
    A HF sawsall and a good quality metal cutting blade.

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    • #3
      Brass Plate

      Find someone with a plasma torch that is rated for 1/2 inch or more. A plasma torch will cut anything that conducts electricity. It is as easy to use as drawing with a magic marker. You can clamp a straightedge on the plate and make any size of squares or strips you want. It is a way better option than a circular saw.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Toolguy
        Find someone with a plasma torch that is rated for 1/2 inch or more. A plasma torch will cut anything that conducts electricity. It is as easy to use as drawing with a magic marker. You can clamp a straightedge on the plate and make any size of squares or strips you want. It is a way better option than a circular saw.
        Exactly what I'd recommend.

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        • #5
          Sell it and buy what you really need.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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          • #6
            Moving it to and from will be the killer. How about a water jet?
            Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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            • #7
              If I sold it,I'd only get scrap value,and pay full price for what I bought!!

              Normally,I just saw up what I need,but this plate is way too heavy to get up onto a saw,if I had one with a huge ball bearing table.

              Probably,I'll get a Milwaukee metal saw and saw it into manageable pieces using a clamped on fence to stay in the same kerf if multiple passes are needed.

              There is an Arcet store not too far away. I might ask what they'd charge to plasma cut it. I think there will be some damage to the material near the cut,though,and probably fumes to stay away from,too. The brass is out of doors.

              I just hate to buy an expensive saw that I'll only use once.

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              • #8
                Zero rake on the blade. 800 pounds is worth probably over 2 grand as scrap. Red brass spot prices are up around $3/pound. Unless you can actually use most of it, sell or trade and get what you can use.

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                • #9
                  There will likely be a BIG difference in cutting aluminum bonze and naval brass. Aluminum bronze is designed to resist wear in bearing applications. Naval brass is more to resist corrosion. Aluminum bronze is a very light gold color, Naval bronze is darker gold color.

                  I've cut 1/4 " engravers brass with a hand held skill saw and a wood cutting carbide blade. Worked nice, and it threw chips every where. If it is aluminum bronze you probably won't want to make much out of it anyway. Me, ifI neededto cut I would just use a skill saw and full protection. Most it would cost you is a blade. A lot of the secondary scrap resellers I;ve dealt with in the past use a skill say for the same thing. Proceed with caution.Cut 1/2 way through and flip if your nervous about it.

                  FYI, scrap value may suprise you. I have not checked in a while but was about $1.70 lb about 6 months ago. For 1200-1500 bucks you probably could get what you want.

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                  • #10
                    I have the metal cutting saw from Northern Tool and for $130.00 I'm really impressed, when I bought it I also got a spare blade which I still haven't used. The only thing you have to watch for is the random escaping chip they are really hot, the saw has a chip catcher built in but some escape. They say that it has a capacity of 1/4" but I've cut 3/4" steel just don't push to hard.

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                    • #11
                      I am pretty sure that it is Manganese bronze by now. It is a darker gold color.

                      The junk dealers have been after me to sell it,but,of course,at scrap value as the metal has no certification to prove exactly what it is.

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                      • #12
                        I brought some scrap to the yard yesterday and got $1.90 for yellow brass. I meant to ask for a price sheet but forgot. FWIW, my 25lbs of brass fetched 4x more money than my 120lbs of steel.
                        Stuart de Haro

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                        • #13
                          If I was to try to cut it with a saw. Would use a worm drive saw . We used to cut 2 inch thick aluminum all day long with a worm drive Skill saw. Never tried brass though.
                          Every Mans Work Is A Portrait of Him Self
                          http://sites.google.com/site/machinistsite/TWO-BUDDIES
                          http://s178.photobucket.com/user/lan...?sort=3&page=1

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                          • #14
                            This stuff looks like the same stuff I made a couple of cannons from. It was very tough,like turning stainless steel. Pretty sure by now it is manganese bronze.

                            I could just take my cheap orange B&D with a carbide blade and see if it will cut in a promising way before I buy something more expensive. With a fence clamped onto the plate,successive shallow cuts could be taken.

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                            • #15
                              Don't be too surprised if even carbide doesn't touch it. It depends on the hardness. If it was rolled to dimension and not annealed it could harder than the hobs of hell. I have a big chunk of bronze here two inches thick. I was trying to cut off a piece in my bandsaw using a good Lennox bimetal blade and the blade just skidded on it. It wouldn't cut at all. I finally succeeded in cutting it with my shaper and a cutoff style blade. Even then I managed to do a couple of soft crashes that broke the blade each time.

                              If you sell it you should get top dollar for scrap in that condition.
                              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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