Advice needed for cutting aluminum

I want to start making some custom pieces out of aluminum stock that will require accurate, clean cutting and don't like the results obtained by
using my chop saw.
What's the best route? Metal cutting bandsaw? If so, can I get by with a low end unit like the one offered by Harbor Freight for $170? Will it also be useful for future projects using say 16 ga. mild steel, etc?
Any input is appreciated!
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

If you are talking about accuracy, sawing is usually considered to be a stock preparation step rather than the additional finishing step. A cold saw *might* get you acceptable accuracy and finish, but since you didn't specify it, we don't know what it its.
It's unlikely the $170 bandsaw will get you what you want.
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I assume you are using an abrasive chop saw. Have you tried using a mitre saw(wood type). I find it gives excellent results and a clean accurate cut. They give a better cut than a band saw but will not be usable on the steel stuff. The work should be clamped and let the saw stop at the bottom of the cut before letting it up again, small cutoffs can get launched by the blade as you come out of the cut. With accurately scribed lines I have found I can keep a .010 tolerance on the cut. I had several hundred pieces of 1"x.065" rd tube to cut. I picked up a cheap delta mitre saw and a nonferous blade(which cost more than the saw :-) but for occasional usage the blade that comes with it is fine. A little bit of wax type lube on the blade prevents chips welding back on the cut.
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That depends. If you are using an abrasive chop saw, these suck on aluminum. For big stock I use the Chinese bandsaw, but accuracy requires a lot of tweaking. For smaller stock and extrusions, I use a wood cutting chop type miter saw with a carbide tipped blade for nonferrous metals. I cuts neatly and cleanly.
However, it usually requires clamping the work piece (particularly rounds) and you need to tape some sort of filter material over the motor vents to keep it from sucking in chips.
Wear safety glasses and watch out for short pieces of fall off, they come off with a lot of speed.
Paul K. Dickman
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" snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com" <pjsmacks> wrote in
Thanks for the replies!! Will look into a non-ferrous blade for the miter saw - never guessed that it would work for this purpose, but makes sense to me!
Thanks for all responses!!

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I have a similar one. When I cut off bar/round stock pieces for lathe/mill work, I only have to face off about 20 thou to get a good finish.
Ted
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    What diameter stock? That could have some bearing on the 0.020" facing to clean up. I would be a *lot* more impressed with doing that with 6" diameter stock than with 1/2" diameter stock. (Then again, I would be quite impressed at getting a clean cut-off on 6" diameters stock with one of those bandsaws anyway. :-) So let's make it 4" diameter, which is within the capability of the saw.
    Yes -- you *can* cut larger diameters if the length of the remaining stock is short enough so it doesn't hit the casting where the blade returns on the backside. :-)
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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DoN. Nichols writes:

I've cut monstrous 4" thick solid slabs of 6061 aluminum on nothing more than a 12" radial arm saw with a conventional carbide-tooth blade. Must clamp it well, and prepare for a blizzard of chips (button your collar!). I do this by wheeling out onto the driveway. Not exactly mirror-finish cuts, but straight and square, which is more important.
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DoN. Nichols wrote:

Indeed it could and I forgot to mention that little detail. :-) Most recent was about 20 thou off to clean up a 2" diameter piece. Most extreme case was the large pully for my neighbours speed reducer. See <http://www.metalworking.com/DropBox/Prop_speed_reducer.pdf Cutting the 8" diameter blank required cutting as deep as the saw could then rotating and cutting more using part of the kerf to guide the blade. Had to face of 50 or 60 thou on that one.

See above.
Ted
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I've had luck using a table saw with a carbide blade. My exact setup is a 10 inch table saw by Northern Tool with a 10 inch carbide tipped blade by Amana Tool. The blade has 80 teeth with a 5 degree rake or angle. Makes clean cuts but be prepared to be showered in metal flakes! Have cut 2 and 3 inch square and round bar of 6061. The blade would cut more but the motor on the saw lacks the "umph" to cut larger diamater.
On Mon, 30 Aug 2004 14:52:40 GMT, " snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com" <pjsmacks> wrote:

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