Decorative groove

How would you go about cutting a decorative groove in a piece of aluminum?

I'm talking about a groove that is around .125" wide or so and just deep enough so that it will be a nice visible indentation, without filling up with paint,,,,so probably .100" to .125" deep.

I may end up with a 6063 aluminum bar I want to do this with but also wondering for something like this, what type aluminum would suffice -- or be best?

5052, 3003 common type would be nice....and my 6063 perhaps.

I really want this to look good as a route in wood, with clean crisp edges.

Problem is, a CNC doesn't really do something like this, so I may have to do it myself.

The grooves won't be long....2 of them per piece about 3" long each.

Appreciate any help. (not speculation, but thoughts from folks that have actually done it).


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1/8" square or ball stub end mill, 2 passes.

Unless you're planning to paint it with a hose, I wouldn't go deeper than 1/16" (unless you're doing art deco).

What would suit your application best?

Eh? Why not?

A Roadrunner posting host doesn't provide much clue as to your location, but you're invited to stop in and we can do the job on my CNC router. E-mail ahead and bring your aluminum stock. Even with coffee and BS, it shouldn't take longer than 15 minutes. :-)

Don't make a hard problem out of an easy one. ;-)

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Morris Dovey

If it is a contour shape use a 3/32 or 1/8" dia. endmill in a wood router and run it along a template. A semicircular shaped groove also looks nice and you can achieve this with a 3/16" or 1/4" diameter ballnose endmill at appropriate depth.


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You know, I'm sitting here stupified that I didn't follow through with my metal fab guy because he told me they couldn't do it on the CNC.

I think it's because he wants to do the entire part with a laser and doing the groove would be a seperate maching operation.

I need to start over and have the part quoted as a CNC route only maybe.

The part has (4) rounded corners so maybe thats the problem -- they like cutting that with a laser?

I'll figure it out -- certainly some shop can do it.

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I'm thinking of buying a new woodworking router today for my Sears router table.

Any suggestions? Especially considering occasional projects like this?....routing aluminum.

Are they making any variable speed routers?........maybe something like that would come in handy for metal?

Just use a carbide tip bit, right? Maybe a bit of lubrication?

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If the router has a universal motor you can slow it down with a dimmer, or a Variac like I do, if you have one. A universal motor is listed for 120VAC or DC. Don't do it to an AC-only motor. I routed an awkward job last week with a light-weight laminate trimmer running on


Milling a shallow groove around a corner isn't easy. I asked the CNC programmer what his Hurco mill could do easily and -then- designed the grooves, which in that case ran straight off the curved edges of the panel.

Reply to
Jim Wilkins

porter cable if costs are important.

pc makes variable speed routers.

yes. yes, although getting lubrication to stay on a bit going 20k rpm may be challenging.

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