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Cutting .080" sheet aluminum

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  • Cutting .080" sheet aluminum

    What's the best way to handle this for home applications? I have a pnuematic hand-held shear, but it can't hardly handle it. If a hand shear advertises to cut 16 guage steel, is that the max capacity in 5052 aluminum also? I'm looking for something that won't eat up too much space as I'm already maxed out in the 2 car garage.

    Thanks,

    JD

  • #2
    I use a circular saw

    I use a hand held circular saw to cut all of my aluminum. I make sure I have a good carbide tip blade and clamp a straight edge as a guide. I have in some cases on very thin stuff used a piece of wafer board as a sacrificial backing board. Just make sure you are covered up because the shavings are pretty warm and sharp.

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    • #3
      Cutting thin AL...

      Hey JD,
      The easiest method would to pick up a small bench-type band saw. I have a Delta Model BS100, 9" that I use to cut sheet AL to 3/8" thk. without any problems. Although the saw is for mainly 1/4" & 3/8" blades, I use a 1/2" .025 thk. 14tpi metal blades without any problems. The saw will handle them easily if you take care when cutting. I use WD-40 exclusively to spray on the piece to cut, as it keeps the soft AL from sticking to the teeth. It will cut quite easily and efficiently up thru .125, and will do thicker with slower feed. You can get the Delta at Lowes for less than $100 and would serve your purpose very nicely. Just a suggestion....Denny

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      • #4
        Get a Sears Craftsman 6-1/8" Twin Cutter, on sale now for $159.00 at www.sears.com. It is made to cut that stuff with no kickback at all. It will cut 1/4" aluminum no problem, and mild steel also. Plus it's no bigger than a 4-1/2" angle grinder so no storage problems.
        Last edited by envano; 08-21-2007, 02:10 PM.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the great tips guys. I have a 14" bandsaw, but it's not deep enough for the sizes I need to cut. I need to cut approx 18" x 18" panels.

          I'm going to try the straight edge and circular saw method and see how that works for me.

          I also saw a 12" bench mount shear online that I might be able to use to cut the sheet to final size (if I hit it from both sides) after rough cut it first with one of these other methods.

          What is the benefit of the sears twin cutter over a 4.5 inch grinder with a cutoff wheel?

          Thanks,

          JD

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          • #6
            circular saw, carbide blade with as many teeth as possible.

            go slow for a better edge.

            I'll usually put some duct tape down for the saw to run on. the chips will get between the base plate and AL sheet and grind and scratch without it.

            you can even cut arc's with it.

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            • #7
              Before you run the saw over it, get a product called Alumicut. It is a lubricant just for Aluminum and smear some on both sides of the piece to cut.

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              • #8
                Zero and Negative degree blades, 40 tooth and up, are designed for cutting metals using a circular saw. They produce the highest quallity cut without any furthure prep of the cut before welding.

                I use a 58 tooth blade, with 5 degree negative offset carbides, however a 40 tooth carbide blade for ripping plywood works as well, however it catches the material more often.
                Last edited by JonnyTIG; 04-19-2007, 08:06 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Loadsmasher View Post
                  <snip>What is the benefit of the sears twin cutter over a 4.5 inch grinder with a cutoff wheel?

                  Thanks,

                  JD
                  No kickback or pulling due to two counter rotating carbide blades, comes with the wax sticks to cut aluminum, no sparks just chips.

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                  • #10
                    cutting aluminum

                    I do the same as some of these guy's with a 40 tpi or higher circular saw blade. A friend of mine does aluminum hurricane shutters and he says they use a skill saw with the blade turning backwards to reduce the ripping and jagged edge on light gauge stuff like you are working with, never heard of this before so now I got to try it to see if he is pulling my leg. Dave

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dabar39 View Post
                      I do the same as some of these guy's with a 40 tpi or higher circular saw blade. A friend of mine does aluminum hurricane shutters and he says they use a skill saw with the blade turning backwards to reduce the ripping and jagged edge on light gauge stuff like you are working with, never heard of this before so now I got to try it to see if he is pulling my leg. Dave
                      Oh yeah Dave, it does work but is very noisy, we use that backwards method for cutting metal sheeting for a metal bldg. expansion on the place, using a used up carbide blade, however don't remember it being such a cute cut.
                      There are metal blades on the market for wood circle saws, I think MetalD*vil is one, might research on Weld Take board, seems like that was discussed sometime back.
                      If you have quiet a bit to cut might consider a true metal circle like the Evolution 230 Extreme as I have, tis a 9", but they are pricey.
                      Good Luck
                      L*S
                      Last edited by Leons2003; 04-20-2007, 08:34 AM. Reason: text

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                      • #12
                        Thanks to everyone for all of the great info!

                        JD

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