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Cutting 1” Aluminum Rod

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  • Cutting 1” Aluminum Rod

    I cut a lot of aluminum flatbars / plates with my miter saw (chopsaw?) but I never cut an aluminum rod. Now I need to cut 1/4" thick slices from a 1” diameter aluminum bar.

    I’m looking for suggestions how to hold down the bar but most important I worry that the cut off piece may fly away past the fence of my miter saw.

    The fence has a gap of 1.5” and I’m sure the cut-off piece will fly away as it happened to me before when I was cutting a flatbar and the cut-off flew away but luckily not in my face

  • #2
    Make a v- block out of wood big enough that you can hold in your hand. Put the v over the piece that you are cutting off.


    • #3
      On my Dewalt compound miter saw, anytime I do something thin or want a really clean cut I clamp or use double sided tape to mount a piece of 1x2 or whatever size stock to the back guide. Then takea cut through it. you now have a zero clearance back guide and small cutoffs won't go flying and in wood it prevents chip out on the back side


      • #4
        You can also use double sided tape to fasten a piece of scrap to the cutoff. If you don't have double sided tape, then put a piece of regular masking tape on the cutoff and one on the scrap and use CA glue between them. Hot melt glue would work as well and would be faster if you're doing lots of them at a time.


        • #5
          What about making up a zero clearance back fence? At worst the cut off piece would then "ping" off a tooth and skitter to the side a bit. Hang a tarp or old bed sheet to catch and stop them and they'll fall to the floor at worst. Plywood would be fine. It'll need to be an "L" shape and you'll need to limit the depth of cut with the adjuster to keep from cutting through the 7/8" wide lower piece which will hold the outboard portion of your zero clearance fence. Or depending on how far past the back fence you might be OK with a piece of 2 or 3 inch angle where the angle extends up the fence and back away from you so the horizontal portion isn't fully cut through. Or you could make up and install a piece of angle iron to the offcut side of the base that lines up with the existing fence and sits very close to the blade to act as the zero clearance extension for at least the cutoff piece and keep it from being pitched back into next Tuesday.

          Other than this I'd have to see what you have. but either way the zero clearance idea should do a lot to avoid what you fear for the small pieces being cut off the stock.

          Don't forget about the lower slot too. A lot of chop saws I've seen, mine included would happily wedge a 1/4 slice of anything between the blade and the slot. You will want to zero clearance the base plate as well with some sort of suitable insert that is attached on both sides of the cut. And if you can't make it a true zero clearance below and to the rear where the saw is pushing the part then make it so the 1/4" slabs are not bound at all and can fall away freely by using a riser or some other such trick.

          And just exactly what sort of saw is it? one intended originally for wood or one intended for metal? Here again this makes a big difference to the nature of the lower slot in my experience.
          Chilliwack BC, Canada


          • #6
            You could make a backing plate with one of these that the rod would sit securely in, just tape it to the miter saw with some two sided tape and make a cut through it to creat a zero clearance insert.


            Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


            • #7
              Originally posted by studentjim View Post
              Make a v- block out of wood big enough that you can hold in your hand. Put the v over the piece that you are cutting off.
              +1 Do whatever you have to, to keep the piece from rotating during the cut. Stu


              • #8
                Clamp it in a vise. Do NOT rely on sticky tape or your hand to hold it in place.

                Appearance is Everything...


                • #9
                  Excellent ideas here folks and now I have no problem to do my cutting. Thanks to all

                  BTW my chop saw is a 10” Craftsman and the lower slot is just big enough for the blade


                  • #10
                    Seems like the wrong tool for the job. A horizontal bandsaw, with the depth stop set, would be easiest. It would also have a smaller kerf.

                    If you are set on using a mitersaw, I suggest making some kind of jig (edit: technically, a fixture). Something that holds the rod while limiting the depth of the cut so the jig stays in one piece. Then, I'd make the jig have a top to hold stuff in the right place, including all the metal chips.

                    Something like 2 Vs, top and bottom, hinged with a handle on the top one to provide clamping pressure (the top will have to be big enough to not be cut through during use). Also, some kind of removable stop (pin or slot). Some kind of clamp somewhere to limit the saw travel or just make the jig bigger than the saw will cut...

                    Slide the rod up against the stop, push down on the clamp handle, and make the cut. Pull out the stop, slide the rod through far enough to eject the off-cut and clear any swarf, pull the rod back, put the stop back in, slide the rod up to the stop, and repeat.

                    A couple old bookshelfs (wide enough boards to not be cut through by the saw) with some wood strips screwed down at the appropriate points, hinges at the back. Some C-clamps to hold it in place on the saw... not that hard to make.

                    Of course, if you only need 4, it's probably not worth the effort.

                    Last edited by fixerdave; 11-08-2016, 10:50 PM.


                    • #11
                      I think you should be fine.

                      Timing for this question is pretty good. Today I needed to cut some .5 inch alum bar length
                      wise. I would normally vice it up in the mill and run a 2 flute down the center. But today ..
                      just for the heck of it ... I put an old 100 tooth blade in the table saw and tried it.

                      It worked like a champ. Cut it like a piece of plywood. Low noise ... low mess, I honestly
                      think I could have done a whole inch.

                      Seriously .. I have heard guys mention it on here before .. but .. never new it worked this good.
                      John Titor, when are you.


                      • #12
                        I agree David the bandsaw would have been the ideal tool but my homeshop is not big enough to have everything I need.

                        Yes a double V’s like you describe seems a good way to go

                        Thanks for your time


                        • #13
                          You can also use a piece of angle iron to lay the rod in before cutting. The first cut will also cut into one edge of the angle as it's laying in the saw, but you don't need to cut through the other side. After parting off 4 or more discs from the rod, the angle will become marked up but not severed. It will support a cutoff as thin as 1/16 inch. All you really need to do is make sure the angle stays in place as you repeatedly clamp and unclamp the rod.

                          The angle also gives you a place to mount a swinging depth stop. You don't want the cutoff piece to become jammed between the blade and the stop, so you'd lower the stop, run the rod up to it, clamp, then raise the stop before making the cut.
                          I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-