need help cutting aluminum

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SJC
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Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:31 pm
Location: Friday Harbor, WA

need help cutting aluminum

Postby SJC » Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:08 pm

Ok, I am building a trailer for my Tunnel king. Material is american standard aluminum channel. I would like to notch the transverse frames to slip into the side channels for welding. Any tips on cutting (similar to coping) the proper shape on the male end?
Here a a few photos to help with visualizing the problem.
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North
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Location: Nova Scotia

Re: need help cutting aluminum

Postby North » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:46 am

In the last year or so, I have cut plenty of aluminum (for an amateur), and here's a few thoughts.

- for sheet, up to even 3/8" a worm drive skill saw works great, making sure to apply wax to the piece or saw (as it is stopping to spin) or spray wd 40 or other to keep blade cool every foot or so. But, a regular skill saw is not wrth trying - too fast and not enough torque as teh worm drive ones - I tried and it didn't go well.

- plasma cutter cuts like knife through butter, but not a nice edge- has to be finished

- jig saw works well with aluminum or wood blades, but make sure you spray wd40 pretty much the while time you are cutting - helps to have a 2nd person do this as you can keep both hands on the jigsaw and workpiece. That would be my choice for this task.

slug
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Re: need help cutting aluminum

Postby slug » Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:33 am

Might try the bandsaw...I have good luck with that.

Doug

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TNT76
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Re: need help cutting aluminum

Postby TNT76 » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:31 pm

I have also used 4"angle grinder with bees wax melted on the disc, bit messier though.

SJC
Posts: 113
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:31 pm
Location: Friday Harbor, WA

Re: need help cutting aluminum

Postby SJC » Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:25 pm

Thanks for those. I have not had any luck cutting thick aluminum with jig saw. The blades clog almost immediately with aluminum chunks. I will try adding lubricant.
I have made the straight cut offs with table saw or sliding miter saw with carbide blades, that was easy. I have also cut with router, but I am not seeing how this cut will work with router due to thickness.
I don't think band saw will work due to the length of the work-pieces...80".
I will try a flap wheel in the grinder and see how that goes, if that doesn't work I'll try the waxed cutoff wheel.

Thanks for the replies.

North
Posts: 269
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:29 pm
Location: Nova Scotia

Re: need help cutting aluminum

Postby North » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:47 am

the lube makes all the difference. it keeps the blade cool, and keeps the aluminum from sticking. On thin stuff, you may spray a shot of wd40 every few inches and that will be fine, but on thicker stuff, I woudl just keep the lube flowing at the blade pretty much the whole time you are cutting. You will hear the difference and feel the speed increase the second the lube hits the blade.

SJC
Posts: 113
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:31 pm
Location: Friday Harbor, WA

Re: need help cutting aluminum

Postby SJC » Sun Apr 26, 2015 6:44 pm

Well, North, you are the winner. wd40 and the jig saw worked just great.
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