Cutting aluminum plate

we just acquired a PILE of 1" to 3" aluminum plate drops from a local
manufacturer. What we really need is a selection of project pieces in
the 1"x 1" to 3" x 3" range. No particular sizes, just stuff than can
stay on the shelf, get cut to length and tossed in the mill as required.
Thought was to rip them using a Skill 77 worm drive. Anyone got some
recommendations for the perfect blade or other thoughts on how to get
them cut down?
OTOH: my local aluminum supplier has this nice 12"x10 FOOT cutoff saw
but I doubt they would be interested in running it on our stuff. Oh well
Reply to
RoyJ
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I have a Freud non-ferrous blade for my table saw that works well and gives a nice finish if you apply a bit of stick wax between cuts. There's a Freud 7-1/4" non-ferrous blade with a diamond arbor for your worm drive at the top of this page.
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The downside to the triple-chip grind, which all the non-ferrous blades seem to use, is that they seem to push the work around more than other grinds, which I think might make it difficult to steer a skil saw. When running the non-ferrous blade I use a sliding board on my table saw, or clamp the work securely in a chop saw, if I'm concerned at all about accuracy.
Reply to
Ned Simmons
I'd use a saw guide clamped to the plate. What kind of stick wax?
Ned Simm> >
Reply to
RoyJ
I made a short video of cutting AL with a skill saw.
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Errol Groff
Reply to
Errol Groff
Like McMaster p/n 1311K1 or 1379K63. I have a bar made by (I think) LPS, another sold by DoAll. They both work.
Reply to
Ned Simmons
One word: RadialArmSaw.
Critical: PUSH INTO the work, don't pull into the work. A good idea for wood, as well!
Alum bar cuts like hard wood, with any carbide blade I've tried. No wax, no coolant, nada.
My buddy cuts *tons* of alum with a chop saw, carbide blade, and does use a bar wax (not sure what it is, but I think he gets it from Traverse Tools in Queens, NY), but I have not had the need. It might be that wax gives a mirror cut, while I get alternately shiny and fuzzy ends, but always smooth, accurate.
H says he will get "weldments" between teeth without the wax, but I have never had this problem. Proly a coarser blade would help this problem, as well. These weldments usually pop right off, sometimes are a little stubborn.
I've used 12" fine tooth blades, 10" medium, all work well.
I don't know about others, but I get a tremendous *kick* out of cutting aluminum as if it were wood! Who'da thunk?
Reply to
Proctologically Violated©®
D**M! Glad I have student workers.
Errol Groff wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
Goodgawd, that video made my teeth hurt! Must be a well-endowed school, to get a plate of 7075 like DAT!
I woulda dispensed with the WD40, and just used a fine continuous stream of water, if I was going to use anything.
Sheeit, DeWalt oughtta use some of that footage in a marketing campaign, eh?
Reply to
Proctologically Violated©®
Good shot Errol - reminds me of my Electronics Shop years ago - when building a dozen projects and having dozens of questions.
Martin
Errol Groff wrote:
Reply to
Martin H. Eastburn
I noticed you wisely unplugged the saw before tightening the blade so as to save your digits, yet at about 9:30 in your video, you insert a finger in the blade housing to unclog the chips. Wasn't that a poor move?
Reply to
Charlie Rowe
I'm buying Formax F-90 locally for $3.95 a stick. Seems to last a little longer than DoAll and another I have tried.
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Reply to
Tim
Update: I dug out the Skill 77, figured I should take a look at the oil before abusing it on long cuts. Yep, it needed an oil change, turned around for the oil, it did a 1-1/2 gainer off the bench onto the floor. Landed on the blade guard, snapped it off nicely. 2 weeks for parts. Sheesh!!!
RoyJ wrote: > we just acquired a PILE of 1" to 3" aluminum plate drops from a local > manufacturer. What we really need is a selection of project pieces in > the 1"x 1" to 3" x 3" range. No particular sizes, just stuff than can > stay on the shelf, get cut to length and tossed in the mill as required. > > Thought was to rip them using a Skill 77 worm drive. Anyone got some > recommendations for the perfect blade or other thoughts on how to get > them cut down? > > OTOH: my local aluminum supplier has this nice 12"x10 FOOT cutoff saw > but I doubt they would be interested in running it on our stuff. Oh well
Reply to
RoyJ
Update II: Found a local supplier for the blade guard, installed same, tried it out on some 1" plate using a 24 tooth thin kerf blade. Saw just breezed through the plate at about 16" per minute. Worked fine for the first minute until all the teeth on the saw blade came off. Freud non ferrous blade is on order.
RoyJ wrote: > Update: I dug out the Skill 77, figured I should take a look at the oil > before abusing it on long cuts. Yep, it needed an oil change, turned > around for the oil, it did a 1-1/2 gainer off the bench onto the floor. > Landed on the blade guard, snapped it off nicely. 2 weeks for parts. > Sheesh!!! > > RoyJ wrote: >> we just acquired a PILE of 1" to 3" aluminum plate drops from a local >> manufacturer. What we really need is a selection of project pieces in >> the 1"x 1" to 3" x 3" range. No particular sizes, just stuff than can >> stay on the shelf, get cut to length and tossed in the mill as required. >> >> Thought was to rip them using a Skill 77 worm drive. Anyone got some >> recommendations for the perfect blade or other thoughts on how to get >> them cut down? >> >> OTOH: my local aluminum supplier has this nice 12"x10 FOOT cutoff saw >> but I doubt they would be interested in running it on our stuff. Oh well
Reply to
RoyJ
No carbide? I've found even cheapie carbide blades work well.
Thinking about the lube problem:
If the plate were shimmed about 1" off the table, and oiled along the cut on the *bottom* of the plate, so that the blade will drag the oil upwards, into the cut. This way, you don't have to keep spraying or waxing the blade.
My buddy says very little lube is needed.
Reply to
Proctologically Violated©®
Did the teeth break, or did the brazing melt? Wax sticks don't provide much cooling.
Joe Gwinn
Reply to
Joseph Gwinn
I've not ever experienced loss of any teeth. Are you sure they are not just galled with a blob of aluminum? I'm sure there is a much more technical term for this phenomenon. The wax stick helps to prevent the aluminum from sticking to the teeth. Regular carbide blades ( the fewer teeth the better in my experience) on chop or table saw work very well. The cuts are prone to burr and "saw tracks" and will require some clean up.
A Morse, Tenryu, or DML type blade will let you cut steel, aluminum, wood. Wood is probably the hardest on them. They work much better than the non ferrous blades in my experience. A regular wood cutting ATB carbide works better than the non ferrous that I bought.
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this with an Evolution saw if you are planning on a lot of this.
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Reply to
DanG
Thin kerf, 24 tooth carbide import quality blade. Some carbide teeth are gone, some are completely battered back (~30 negative rake), some ok. Completely trashed blade.
The only reason I could see to buy an Evolution saw is to get the 9" blade version. The worm drive Skill I'm using is a heavier duty than the smaller Evolution saw plus an extra 3/8" cutting depth.
DanG wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
How hot did the teeth get? The biggest cut I've made on aluminum was cutting some 2" rounds and I gave the blade cooling time between rounds.
Wes
Reply to
Wes
I have the blade sitting here for inspection. I doubt that heat had anything to do with it. Looks more like the impact of starting the cut started fracturing the carbide.
I have some closeups if someone wants to inspect.
Wes wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
Did you really "sneak up on the blade" slow and easy with the AL plate to start the cut?
That's when the shock loads will be worst, and once a few teeth get broken off the rest get killed in sequence.
I've trimmed a lot of Aluminum extrusions with a woodworking carbide blade, but you have to be very gentle with it. Or that happens.
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Reply to
Bruce L. Bergman

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