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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Atl, Ga

    Default Any tips for cutting Aluminum with a circular saw?

    I have about 20' worth of 2x4x3/16"? aluminum tube that was picked (with permission) from a scrap dumpster and I'd like to make a few ""practice projects" from it. Guy that worked for the company said it was 6061.

    It welds great, but I need to come up with a better system for cutting. I also need to make some rip cuts and my horizontal bandsaw won't do for that. I know you can use a regular circular saw to cut it, but I'm not sure what the preferred setup is.

    -Is a slow speed (worm drive Skil) saw better or will a regular 'ol circular saw do?
    -What's a good blade choice for someone on a pretty tight budget?
    -Does wax lube make much difference or should I just cut it dry?
    -Are there special abrasive wheels that I can use in my angle grinder or chopsaw that won't load up?

    I don't have much experience making dimensional Al cuts, so any tips are apppreciated.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    Nothing special, any wood working set up will do it as long as youre using a good carbide tip blade. Works on table and chop saws. Never used an abrasive blade but I think it would give an inferior cut vs carbide blade.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007


    You can get away with a wood cutting blade and use a wax stick for lube. But you'll have to clean off the wax. A better way is to use a blade designed for cutting aluminum, such as this tenryu blade:


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Colorado Springs


    I use a $4 blade from Lows. Carbide tiped 7-1/4" in a worm drive and have cut 2" plate 48 inchs wide. I cut half way from one side then flip it and cut through.
    Thin stuff you just cut like wood.
    I use 30 weight oil thined with WD-40 just to keep the aluminum from sticking to the blade.

    I also use my table saw, works great.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Los Angeles


    Any woodworking blade will do it. A miter saw would be the easiest, if you've got one. But here's the thing: woodworking tools don't have the same ability to clamp stock down as stuff made for metal. So be very careful about the blade grabbing the stuff -- you can lose a finger in a heartbeat. Also wear a face shield (if you've got one) and good eye protection underneath that. If you lose a carbide tip, things can get ugly.

    I use my welding gloves when I'm cutting aluminum and clamp the stuff down with a C-clamp.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009


    I've used a jig saw in the past. With bi-metal blades you have to watch for build-up though. Pull the saw out and you see the teeth buried/covered in aluminum. Blade speed seems to make a difference.

    A good jigsaw (my favorite is the Milwaukee with a nice speed control) and you can follow any line, even a straight rip cut. The higher end jig saws have very low vibrations and tend to make very controlable cuts. A straight rip through a 2x4 is very doable. One issue, the more expensive jig saws tend to have 1.25" stroke, so you either cut both sides at once (and jig saws are bad at this because blades flex) or you get a very short blade (or cut down one you have).
    Bottom line, it might not be ideal for rip cutting a 2x4.

    Milwaukee and Dewault both make portable band saws. If you could modify one to change the angle of the guides you could rip cut if you had one of these...

    BTW, Aluminum is typically also available in U-channels (I have a pile of 1/8 thick stuff) so maybe you want to save that nice 2x4 for something else - its just that rectangular tubing is usually more expensive than channel.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Salem ,Ohio


    I just use my 7 1/4" Black and Decker saw with a carbide blade. I also use my 10" table saw and it can't tell the difference between wood and alum except the alum chips plug up my dust collector so i can't use it...Bob
    Bob Wright, Grandson of Tee Nee Boat Trailer Founder
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    i had to cut aluminum production style for interstate signways. we used worm drive saws with a non ferrous metal cutting blade. lube it with aluma-cut (the tap magic stuff for aluminum) or nozzle gel. you can also use a spiral down cut router bit in a router and achieve the same results. the woodworking blades try to remove TOO much material with each tooth passing through the work and heat up too much gumming the blade and also ruining the blade. the saw will also have a real bad habit of trying to kick out of the cut. the rake and chip set on the teeth is ALOT different than that of a wood cutting blade

    your LWS should carry non-ferrous blades for a worm drive.

    nothing fancy, just a few hot glue guns for metal

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Ottawa Canada

    Thumbs up To keep aluminium from sticking to your blades & drill bits...

    anytime i get to drill or cut aluminium and it wants to stisk...Varsol paint thinner seems to work wonders as a cutting lube.
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  10. #10


    my shop teach taught us this using a 50s sears and roebuck circular saw the wax as blade lubricant works the best
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