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Cutting Aluminum Columns

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  • Dunc
    replied
    Got the job done. Used a 7-1/4 inch 40-tooth blade with my portable circular saw (usually a 10 inch blade but did not have a high tooth count blade for it). Set up a ball-bearing outfeed table to add support. Worked great!

    Thanks for all the ideas & support.

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  • DATo
    replied
    I replaced three front stoop posts with exactly the same aluminum posts as you described (U shaped, snap-together) a couple of years ago. They were not that expensive and very easy to assemble and install. I can't see how you could come out ahead in time and material expense by making them yourself. Also, I think it would be hard to get as durable a paint job as that which comes with the purchased ones. If you are doing it for the fun of it then more power to ya but I took the wimp path and just bought em.

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  • ezduzit
    replied
    The demonstration video shows horrendous chipping on the underside of wood. This alone makes me extremely doubtful of its usefulness.

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  • Peter S
    replied
    Just out of interest....has anyone tried a Dual Saw? (Contra-rotating blades).

    I am guessing their TV advertising has saturated other parts of the world too.....

    I have no desire (or need) to get one, but the "no kick-back" does seem like a good safety idea.

    http://www.dualsaw.co.nz/

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  • mike4
    replied
    +1 on the wax lube
    Michael

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  • Evan
    replied
    You can cut it with any wood cutting tool. What ever will work best for a piece of high density wood will work on the aluminum. Lubricate the aluminum with wax along the cut line and follow all the other safety instructions.

    I should point out that also includes a router with a guide.
    Last edited by Evan; 06-28-2013, 09:45 PM.

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  • fjk
    replied
    Originally posted by lbhsbz View Post
    He forgot to convert inches to feet on the thickness.
    Yup

    Sorry about that
    :-(

    Frank

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  • CCWKen
    replied
    I would just grind it off. Too much setup and hassle to make a fixture to feed it to a table saw, skill saw, etc. And at nine feet long, you'll need something. Use a body grinder/polisher with a 30 or 60 grit sanding disk. It'll be gone in no time. (Wear appropriate safety gear.)

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  • darryl
    replied
    You can put together a simple plywood jig to guide a skil type saw. Just three sides, basically a saddle that will fit over the columns. You would first use it to put guide marks on opposite sides of the column, then turn the column 1/4 turn and align the jig with one of the marks, cut one side, roll it 1/4 turn, cut the next side. Then reposition the jig with the opposite mark, then make another two cuts. That will give you about the closest thing to a square end that you can get using a portable saw. The worst case scenario is if the saw you're using has too much slop in the arbor bearings- if you can't make a straight cut in plywood using the base of the saw against a guide, then don't even bother trying it in aluminum. Other than that, use a carbide blade with lots of teeth. It will be loud, there will be lots of hot and sharp chips. In spite of this, just use a slow, smooth push and the cut will end up nice.

    Whatever thickness material you use to make the guide jig, cut some extra pieces that can be used to support the column on both sides of the jig, and lay the column across those (on a flat floor) to prevent jamming.

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  • lbhsbz
    replied
    He forgot to convert inches to feet on the thickness.

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  • lbhsbz
    replied
    Originally posted by fjk View Post
    If each piece is made from 1/8" AL, and is half of a 6"sq column, you've basically got a 9' x1' x1/8" sheet of aluminum, or 1.125 cubic feet of al --- at 178#/cu ft, that's about 200# of aluminum per column.

    Instead of wrestling 200lb of aluminum on the table saw, why not clamp a guide to the column and use your hand-held jig saw? (some come with adjustable/attachable fences too)

    frank
    Check your math.. 1/8" = .0104'

    The volume is closer to .09 cubic feet, so 16lbs.

    Table saw will work the best. I'd use whatever blade is in it already...carbide tip seem to work good. Just give the cut line a shot of WD40 before you get started. I generally wear my welding gloves and a faceshield. It's loud but cuts better than wood.

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  • SteveF
    replied
    Originally posted by fjk View Post
    If each piece is made from 1/8" AL, and is half of a 6"sq column, you've basically got a 9' x1' x1/8" sheet of aluminum, or 1.125 cubic feet of al --- at 178#/cu ft, that's about 200# of aluminum per column.

    ....................
    Not quite.

    9' x 1' x (.125/12) is .09375 cu ft. Times 178 #/cu ft is 16.7 lbs.

    I put in two columns like this last year and was trying to figure out where you got 200 lbs.

    ----------------

    I cut my round columns (3 sections) by making a pencil line all the way around and cutting them on my metal bandsaw.

    Steve
    Last edited by SteveF; 06-28-2013, 02:40 PM.

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  • ezduzit
    replied
    I use a Skilsaw with carbide blade on long stuff like that, cutting through one wall thickness at a time .

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  • fjk
    replied
    If each piece is made from 1/8" AL, and is half of a 6"sq column, you've basically got a 9' x1' x1/8" sheet of aluminum, or 1.125 cubic feet of al --- at 178#/cu ft, that's about 200# of aluminum per column.

    Instead of wrestling 200lb of aluminum on the table saw, why not clamp a guide to the column and use your hand-held jig saw? (some come with adjustable/attachable fences too)

    frank

    Leave a comment:


  • sansbury
    replied
    +1 on the table saw with a fine-tooth carbide blade. I've put 1/4" plate through with very little fuss. A face shield and safety glasses are highly recommended as the chips fly everywhere but other than the noise it's easy going. Aluminum is a much more homogeneous material than wood so as long as you don't try to feed it too hard it won't surprise you.

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