I have some holes ranging from 1/8" to 33/64" to be drilled in aluminum
sheets. The thickness of the aluminum is from 0.090" up to 0.200".
Question: What is a good cutting fluid to help things along? Someone
suggested kerosene......... any opinions on this?
I use kerosene too. It works great for me. Here's what Ernie once wrote, however:
"I have been saying this for several years now, and will continue
until the entire world sees the light of day. The best cutting fluid
for aluminum, bar none, is industrial strength Citrus based solvent.
I don't care what brand. The one I use is made by ZEP, and is called
Big orange. The active ingredient is D-Limonene, and is extracted
from orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit skins. It is the same stuff
in Fast orange hand cleaner , and all the citrus based cleaners. The
greater the percentage of active ingredient, the better. Big orange
is 98% D-Limonene. Take Off ( a floor cleaning solvent) is 45%, and
is available from Asplund Cleaning Supply. Big Orange works better
than any industrial aluminum cutting fluid I have ever used, and
smells great. It is also extremely safe, biodegradeable, and water
soluble. The shit just works great. Try it , and you will not go
"I use it for tapping, cutting, drilling, sawing, milling, and
turning. Just keep some in a small pump spray bottle. Squirt a
little on the cutting edge as you cut." - Ernie Leimkuhler
When I use a jigsaw on aluminum I spray WD-40 on the blade and it
prevents the teeth from getting gumed up with aluminum. I was 'told' that
good old fashioned water is a good lubricant for cutting aluminum... Hope
that was of some help
The big problem with machining aluminium is that the metal swarf effectively
welds itself on the cutting tool. Ally is soft and the temptation to use
high cutting speeds is very persuasive, but if you want to cut dry, keep the
speed down. I've had drills break in aluminium, but it works fine if the
speed is kept down. For high speeds you must use a lubricant - paraffin is
It depends on the alloy and temper of the material. If you are working
on 7075-T76 which is hard, it might only need a light flood of Kool-Mist
77. If you are cutting on 3003-0 it might need something with a thicker
base, like a heavier oil, so that the chips don't stick to the cutter.
It might also depend on how you are drilling, in a drill press or by
hand, what position, etc.
I've been using the Kool-mist as my general purpose lube, and have been
fairly happy with it. It's cheap, doesn't smell, stain, or smoke, and
the water evaporates so clean up is greatly reduced. But, I do revert
back to oils when I want maximum lubrication effect, such as threading