Best way to cut plate straight

Was is the best and cheapest tool to have at home to cut small 1/8 to 3/16 inch diamond plate into 3.5 inch squares? (I am no good with a
torch).
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Is it aluminum or steel diamond plate?
If it's aluminum, you can use a jigsaw really easily. Just get a good quality bi-metal blade, with a relatively low TPI (teeth per inch). The high TPI blades work better in steel, the low ones work best in aluminum.
If the diamond plate is steel you can still probably use a jigsaw, but it'll be somewhat time consuming and you'll need an extra hand to keep the blade lubricated with a decent quality cutting oil.
All of this stuff should be available at your local mega home store.
Thanks, -James http://www.jigsawcustoms.com

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Three important questions: what material, how many pieces will you have to cut, and how precise must the cuts be (in terms of final dimensions, straightness & squareness, and rough/smooth edge finish)?
If you have to cut a lot of pieces, I'd see if you can find a local machine shop or metal supply warehouse that can shear them for you. The machine shop will likely be more expensive, but will likely make the cuts more accurately.
As for doing it yourself, there are several options. But we need you to answer the above questions first.
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It is steel. Does not have to be perfect but needs to look nice.
About 30 pieces.
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Since you have 30 pieces to cut, and you want the cuts to look nice, then having a shop shear them for you is definitely the way to go.
And to answer your other question about buying a shear for the home, even a small/lightweight metal shear is fairly expensive. For example, a $1000 foot shear from Harbor Freight can only handle 20 gauge mild steel (a little over 1/32").
To shear 1/8" to 3/16" steel plate, you'd be talking about something way too costly and way too massive for the typical home shop.
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If I did not need too many, I would use a hacksaw. I assume it is steel as you mentioned a torch.
Dan
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I would take it to a shop with a power shear. They can do it quickly, and better than you can. When you compare the cost versus the quality of the finished items, there IS no comparison. Shop around, and maybe you can get it done pretty inexpensively.
Nothing like doing it right.
Steve
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Just curious, how much would a shear like that cost for the home. SOmehting small.
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A small shear is one of the operations on an iron worker. It also bends with a die and punches holes. With a bit of tooling I'd guess 2K for a used one. Of course, somebody here will say they got a 60 ton one for a $100.
Karl
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You have to balance any tool with the return it will bring. You might be able to find something like an IronWorker or Pirahna cheap at a auction, or bankruptcy sale, etc. Then, a $500 shear in your garage would be a plausible alternative. Such is the way of getting good tools without being made of money.
You can't buy doodly for $500 in the market today in machinery to do what you want to do. It is much cheaper, and you get a better finished product to farm it out.
Watch for deals on machinery and tools. Sometimes you can get some good stuff for cheap that will make you money.
Steve
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Another possibility would be a small horizontal mill. You could probably get one in the $500 range.
Dan
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

For similar jobs, I use my plasma cutter. I clamp a piece of Al angle to the work as a guide and use the "castle" fitting for vertical spacing. Crank up to full power and move the torch rather quickly. Takes a little cleanup of the cut edges but a *lot* less than an o/a torch. Works equally well on steel and aluminum.
Ted
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Although I haven't used one, these look intriguing and might be the ticket. The videos are convincing and the price is right.
http://www.metaldevil.com /
Peter

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Which is it: best or cheap? You can't have both. The very best is the most expensive (plasma or shear). The cheapest is the worst: hacksaw. A very good middle ground is a C6 blade in a circular saw. A Mitshushita (sp?) is about $35 at Medford Tool.
I just cut some 1/4 steel plate with mine. I made 4 28" cuts no sweat. With a guide they were very straight and they were clean.
Bob
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Bob Engelhardt wrote:

Oh, I forgot to add it only took maybe 2 minutes per cut!
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Just a 2c Q; are yoou using a straight edge to run the torch along? It is the only way I can get anything like a straight line.
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A jigsaw or bandsaw will work well. 2-3 teeth for material thickness and fast FPM. You must use a cutting fluid or the teeth will clog and weld-up. Tap Magic tapping oil works well for me. JR Dweller in the cellar
wellUse snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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wrote something ......and in reply I say!:

Can you expand on that? All I have learned, unless you are doing friction cutting (5000-15000 FPM), and use the smooth _back_ of the blade as easily as the front, is that you need a _slow_ FPM. ****************************************************************************************** Whenever you have to prove to yourself that you are not something, you probably are.
Nick White --- HEAD:Hertz Music
remove ns from my header address to reply via email
!! <") _/ ) ( ) _//- \__/
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AL cuts so easily on a bandsaw that slow FPM can cause hogging and grabbing. Fast FPM and slow feed allows the teeth to cut small chips making a cleaner, smoother cut with less heat and less vibration with thin material. JR Dweller in the cellar
Old Nick wrote:

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wrote something ......and in reply I say!:

OK. I would use wood speeds for Al and have done so. But 3/16th steel, with diamonds? ****************************************************************************************** Whenever you have to prove to yourself that you are not something, you probably are.
Nick White --- HEAD:Hertz Music
remove ns from my header address to reply via email
!! <") _/ ) ( ) _//- \__/
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