Finally decided to buy some aallluuminium locally instead of paying $20 for it to arrive 3 days later. Problem is, all their barstock is 6’ or 12’ and my mpcnc’s workspace is not even close to that.
Anyone have any experience in cutting aluminum such as angle w/ power tools? If I had the proper tools this would be easy, but I have a CORDLESS Ryobi 5 1/2" SAW, which is apparently the worst saw up to the task. It lacks power being cordless and small, not to mention there are no good saw blades that are 5 1/2 inches made for non ferrous metals.
I was thinking I could ghetto solution this by cutting it with the mpcnc? Clamp it, turn on the dw660, and set my travel to 10mm/s and slowly let the endmill slice it in half .5mm at a time. This WOULD work but it would take forever I would imagine, makes no sense considering a bandsaw can slice it in seconds w/ such little waste material.
I thought of that, but my work area platform is surfaced so there is like a frame on the perimeter that’s around 1mm higher than the true work area. I don’t think that matters much, but I have my stuff so tuned that I don’t want to mess even 1 thing up. I will try it for the first bar, picking it up tomorrow.
Well with the new air compressor and my soon to be used rusty drill press with a ton of spindle slop, the funds are looking a little short for that miter saw. Ah screw it, get ready to see pictures of a 6 foot aluminum bar sagging across the table.
Do not use an angle grinder unless the blade says it’s for aluminum. Unless you like the emergency room. Regular wood saw blades cut aluminum just fine, just go slow. The more teeth the better, “finish” plywood blades are what I used on my table saw. Make sure it has carbide teeth, the cheapo high speed steel blades will work for about 30 seconds.
For aluminum I’d skip the sag and just hacksaw it to size. I tend to use the chopsaw for speed, but it’s not like you’re cutting stainless… And a hacksaw should be within reach when a chopsaw might not.
I’d be surprised if the supplier (I guess depending on who they are) didn’t have a chopsaw they could use to cut to to size for you. I’m in a similar situation, buying flat bar off Amazon lol. I could just chopsaw a bigger piece while I’m at work but eh, I’m lazy.
I should be ok for at least a few days though, just got some flat bar today and don’t know what to cut out of it. Just want to try out different cutting methods but I’d like it to at least be something cool or functional lol.
I have a mini hacksaw, god that would be painful. I have nightmares about cutting the emt with it, then again that is steel. I just went to my local supplier today, pretty neat place. Lots of huuuge bars and sheets as big as the entire lowrider + some. Got me a 1/4" 6" wide, 6 foot long plate. They would cut it probably, but not for free. The 6 foot long piece was already cut from my guess, a 12’ length.
If you are gonna buy anything more than a few square ft of bar, highly consider a local shop. Shipping long flat bar is so damn expensive, and if it’s free shipping you can bet that they added that to the price.
Calculated it, I paid: 8.5" squared of 1/4" per dollar. Not bad, but I can do better.
I can see that sorta working for the 1/4" plate, but the 3/8" 5 inch wide plate would really be challenging. I will just slide it over. My gcode is eventually going to be 4 of the same cut in a square, so I should only have to move it like 3 times.
Most good wood blades will cut aluminium fine. A negative tooth rake is preferable, especially on a circular saw (skil saw for the 'mericans), but if you are careful it’s safe enough. Drop saw is better. Band saw is super nice, but keep the guide low. Have used an electric plane to adjust aluminium joinery. If using an angle grinder, use a grinding wheel for stone. You won’t get a real clean cut, but you won’t wind up with bits of ally and cut off wheel embedded in you, either.
Source- 15 years a carpenter, and did a few years in an aluminium foundry. Bandsaw and 9" grinder with stone disks for cutting off methods. YMMV. You are solely responsible for your own death/injury/promotion.
That explains the cut-off wheel exploding that one time… I somehow managed to make 6 cuts before parts went flying. I wear full face mask and welding gloves when cutting metal, so no damage to me, but my neighbors probably were wondering why I was dancing in the driveway.
I’ve typically used a jigsaw with metal cutting blades or my saws-all to do most aluminum cutting. I had just finished cutting down some bolts the previous day so the angle-grinder with the cut-off wheel was still sitting there handy.
I picked one of these up a few months back and every time I use it I wonder where it had been all my life! For rough cutoff you can go up to 10" by coming in on both sides. I also picked up some better blades at Lowe’s. This thing goes through just about anything like butter, I’ve used it on steel I-beam, c-channel, stainless pipe, the list goes on.