Can a diamond blade cut aluminum stock?

I need to cut 1/16"-inch aluminum angle stock. And, to be clear up front, I'm a total newbie to metalworking (and not too experienced with
tools in general).
So, I bought a 6-inch cutoff saw from Harbor Freight with aluminum oxide grinding discs. Turns out that this is not safe to use with aluminum stock; the disc make shatter.
It's been suggested that I put a saw blade on the same machine (any 6-inch blade with a 5/8" or 7/8" arbor should fit). I found this one, a diamond segmented blade:
http://www.toolbarn.com/product/makita/A-94708/
But now I'm suspicious of making assumptions about what a given tool can cut. Would this be good for cutting aluminum? Or should I keep searching for a carbide blade?
If the answer is carbide, can anyone recommend a good source for these? I'd need one the right size, and (as I understand it) a large number of small teeth, since the stock I'm cutting is so thin.
Thanks, - Joe
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Welcome to our little group on the Internet.

Hope you did not learn it the hard way.

That is an interesting question. Diamond is used to machine aluminum in the manufacturing world but I am not sure how the blade you describe would work. I'd just buy a carbide blade since it works great. Go to Home Depot or the other home improvement stores and look for a carbide tipped blade for cordless circular saws. By the way how many rpm does this saw turn?

As long as you are careful feeding the saw blade into the cut, a coarse blade will be fine in this application.

Wes
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Wes wrote:

Freud makes carbide-tipped circular saw blades especially designed for cutting aluminum. Spray the blace first with WD-40 for a lubricant and works like a charm. Only drawback is little chips spray all over the place. Goggles are mandatory.
I use a 10" blade in the B&D mitre-box saw I use for woodworking. Don't know how small Freud makes these blades, though.
Tove
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wrote:

I haven't been able to find a 6" carbide blade with a 5/8" or 7/8" arbor. I'm still looking, though. (The saw turns at 9000 RPM.)

Good to know, thanks.
Best, - Joe
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    That is done with PCD (Poly Crystaline Diamond) formed tools, not a bunch of diamond chips embedded in the sides of a blade (as in the one indicated). I would expect it to gum up rather badly with the typical Aluminum alloy from hardware stores and the saw blade indicated.

    While we're about it -- orient the aluminum angle like this:
    /\ / \
when cutting it. The angled sides make them appear slightly thicker to the teeth. If you set it up like this instead:
    | |___
the upright section would be vibrating like mad.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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Respect the RPM limit of anything you find.
Wes
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That diamond wheel is for masonry, not metal. If you use it on AL it will gum up the blade.
Why not use a bandsaw, the 4x6 model from Harbor Freight is a bargain, and designed to cut metal.
Tony

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wrote:

Thank you.

You mean this one? <http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?ItemnumberG840>
That does look reasonable. But it's $100; my cut-off saw was $18 (on sale). I'm still trying to determine if I can make that work, or if I need to return it and invest in something else.
I'm not familiar with band saws; would you recommend it over a miter saw, like this one?
<http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber995>
This is a little cheaper ($80), and of course can cut miters; it's not clear to me whether a band saw does that. And from what I've been told, a carbide blade (perhaps with a little lubricant) should work fine on aluminum.
Thanks, - Joe
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Joe Strout wrote:

The problem with small bandsaws is you can't cut sizable sections out of large sheet, for instance. I run into that problem a lot with my 4x6" horiz-vert bandsaw. If all you will be cutting is small angle and tubing, the bandsaw will work great, though.
Jon
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Joe, As someone who cuts large amounts of aluminum extrusions, angles, rounds, etc, on a mostly daily basis, I strongly suggest you invest in a miter saw, and a *nonferrous metal* carbide tipped blade. There _is_ a difference between a carbide blade for wood, and a nonferrous metal blade. The grade of carbide, for one, and the amount of support for the tooth for a second. The miter saw will most likely come with a carbide blade for wood, which you can use for wood working projects. Buy a quality nonferrous metal blade for aluminum.
A carbide tooth flying off the blade at speed is not something you want to be in the immediate area of, especially dead in line with the blade.
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    [ ... ]

    Hmm ... not that one. That is hand held. You want one with a stand which can be left working on its own. This one:
<http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber762>
That is similar to mine (which came from MSC some years ago). The prices (and the colors) vary from time to time. When I got mine, it was a "$200.00 bandsaw", and it is back up to there now.
    Looking at MSC, their prices are way up, but this one is pretty much what I got:
<http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKAP5-6841&PMPXNO(98793&PARTPG=INLMK3>
and that one *does* still list the automatic cut-off.

    It has the advantage that you can load it with a stack of aluminum "V"s (like this) in the vise:
/\ //\\ ///\\\ ////\\\\ /////\\\\\
then start up the saw, and walk away leaving it cutting while you do something else. The saw shuts off automatically when it completes the cut. (Probably spritz the blade with kerosene or WD-40 to keep the teeth from gumming up). You can get blades with teeth fine enough to handle the thin aluminum with no problems.

    The miter saw would be much noisier.
    It would spit chips like mad, so you absolutely need eye protection.
    You would need to be directly at the machine operating it full time. No way to leave it cutting while you do something else (unlike the bandsaw).
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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As Don said, the bandsaw on the stand,
<http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber762>
assuming you anticipate a lot of cutoff work. If you only have a few pieces, then try a hacksaw and a 16 tooth blade..
Miter saws are for carpenters. :^)
Tony
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How about a jigsaw? They are available for about 25-30 bucks, and metal cutting (hacksaw) blades are readily available. These should work fine for 1/16 inch aluminum (get a fine tooth-- high tooth per inch- blade).
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Keep an eye on this. It goes on sale, and if you combine with with a 15% coupon, it helps. I think I got mine for $65 a couple of years ago. Very handy!
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go back to harbor freight - they have a metal cutting saw that was recently on sale for just over $50 - looks like a circular saw - works great on aluminum and on steel up to 1/2 inch thick (maybe thicker, 1/2 was what I was cutting) - it has a slower speed carbide blade

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An Exacto razor saw and miter box from a hobby store will cut a few pieces of 1/16" aluminum angle with less fuss than the power tools mentioned. You may have to file the ends square but that is a good skill to learn anyway.
jw
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wrote:

23 years ago, when we moved into this house, I needed many angle clips to attach shelving to the wall studs in my basement shop. I had several feet of 1" angle which had been bent from ~1/16" flat steel stock. (OK, I just did a quick check - 0.07") So I put a jewelers blade in my over arm jig saw and cut lengths as required, probably 50 or 60 pieces. Mind you, I didn't push too hard, but I was surprised at how few blades I broke. I did all the cutting with the open angle facing down to the table. Gerry :-)} London, Canada
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Hey Joe! Good to see you on here! These guys can supercharge your metalworking education. Congrats - Pogo (JCD)
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Cutting aluminum is like cutting rubber or even butter. Really. It's soft and gummy compared to "hard" metals. It'll gum up the teeth of almost anything you mentioned already :-).

A large number of small teeth is good. Something that gets gummed up is not good. See e.g. McMaster-Carr page 2323 for nonferrous cutting blades.
For casual use, woodworking saw blades will do just fine on aluminum.
Tim.
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