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Aluminum extrusion

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:21 pm
by Robert Williams
MISUMI will cut to size but only in mm... are you ordering long pieces and cutting to suite (inch)?

Re: Aluminum extrusion

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:46 pm
by bdring
Just convert to mm. That will get you close enough. Many of my dimensions are in even mm anyway.

Misumi does a good job of cutting. I would go with them where you can. I also ordered some long pieces and cut them on the cold saw at work. A cold saw is like a chop saw on steroids. I runs slowly and pumps cutting fluid onto the part.

Order your own from Grizzly for about $1,000

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Re: Aluminum extrusion

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:03 pm
by lasersafe1
DON'T pay attention to anything written below! Never do what I'm about to say.

You can cut aluminum plate or aluminum extrusions with a simple skill saw, table saw, or radial arm saw. It will cut as easily as lumber. Actually much easier than many hardwoods. The first time I saw it I was blown away. I always thought one would use some type of metal grinding blade, but it is actually a carbide tipped cutter. A grinder would heat up too much and embed molten aluminum in the cutter. This is why they say never grind aluminum. The metal will cool in the stone and then the next time you grind it can heat up and fracture the stone causing the grinding wheel to explode.

There are a couple of safety tips to keep in mind when cutting.

1. A sharp, fine tooth carbide tipped blade is needed so it doesn't catch the piece. It can cut aluminum all day long without dulling as long as you are going slow and lubricating the blade as needed.
2. Always cut SLOWLY toward material. Never backward because the blade would tend to ride up.
3. A bar of soap works well to lubricate the blade.
4. They make special aluminum cutting blades for table and radial saws, but I haven't had any problems with a carbide tipped veneer blade.
5. If you can clamp your workpiece down, do it.
6. Always test out your cutting ability with very shallow cuts. I have cut 40" long 1/2" thick aluminum plate on my radial arm saw in the rip configuration. It took about 4 passes while lowering the blade between each pass.
7. Never try to cut a small piece unless the piece can be firmly clamped.

One simple error and you will have flying metal and also flying carbide teeth that have detached from the blade.

THIS IS DANGEROUS, as is any machining work. If you aren't extremely familiar with your equipment you can really hurt yourself.

It isn't INSANE. If you go to Harbor Freight tools you will actually find a hand held circular saw with a blade marketed for cutting aluminum. I can't seem to find it online, but it is in the store.

Re: Aluminum extrusion

PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:28 pm
by bdring
Yes, I was just bragging about cold saw we have. I only spins at about 30 RPM and has a water based flood cooling system. It is not a carbide blade. It is high speed steel and cost about $100.

We regularly cut 1/4" 6061-T6 sheets on a standard 10" table saw with a carbide tipped blade. You can get an equivalent blade at the Home Depot for less than $20.

I also have a 14" abrasive cutoff saw that I got from Lowes for $25 (beat up missing parts). I does a good job cutting steel square tube and rebar, but I would not cut aluminum on it. It would make a horrible cut. A friend tried an abrasive blade on his chop saw with steel. The sparks and heat started to melt the plastic insert and almost started a fire in his dust bag.

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Re: Aluminum extrusion

PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:21 pm
by Robert Williams
I just tried one cut with an OSHLUN 10 inch 100 teeth saw blade in my miter saw... cut looks good enough for me.