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 Post subject: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 7:32 am 
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My friend is telling me my woodcutting carbide blades will work fine for cutting rack panels and aluminum L stock.

Will they work, or I end up taking off my head a few seconds after ruining a sixty dollar blade? What is the best blade to use
to cut aluminum rack panels?

Pete

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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 8:26 am 
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What alloy?
6061 is appropriate for such things, and readily available.

I know nothing about woodworking tools.
I use a bandsaw with fine-pitch blades for such things.

On a bandsaw you want at least two teeth in the material at all times.
A thin piece like a 1/8" rack panel requires a 16-tooth or finer blade.

I expect you could use a much coarser blade on a table saw.
With the blade adjusted to protrude just above the work, the cut is much longer.

- Leigh

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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 8:43 am 
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Pete, I read for years about cutting aluminum on the table saw, and finally tried it when I had to cut a bunch of thin extrusions for a radiant heating installation I was doing. Initially I used the carbide tipped crosscut blade (probably 80 tooth, 10" dia) that was on the saw. I found that it worked amazingly well and left a nice, smooth cut edge. Shortly thereafter, I went and bought a proper carbide blade for non ferrous metal cutting, and it's nothing short of amazing in my opinion. It will make almost perfectly smooth cuts in quarter inch thick 6061-T6 plate like a hot knife through butter.

This is the extrusion, it is about 0.050" thick and the flat part is about 4" wide.
Image

If memory serves, the non ferrous blade I ultimately got was a Freud, but if you don't have a large amount of material to cut I'd think you could get by with a decent carbide crosscut blade.

Wear eye and ear protection, and feed the material slowly at first until you get a feel for how it cuts, but once you get the hang of it it can get through surprisingly fast - it certainly blows a band saw out of the water speed and quality of cut wise.

-Pat


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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 11:36 am 
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I agree with Pat's description. I use the table saw or miter saw quite often when making chassis' for projects. No safety Nazi here, but be sure you wear glasses, the chips certainly go a flying.

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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 12:03 pm 
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Yes it will work, but be careful they like to grab the metal hard. There is one style of blade, the carbide teeth grind that is supposed to be better, but the name escapes me. Common for siding guys to reverse the blade in a hand held circle saw. Damn they are loud. Experiment on some scrap 1st.

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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 12:54 pm 
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Location: Utica, NY 13502 (USA)
This is what I use. Norton 6110 metal cutoff wheel available at Lowes. Watch out for flying sparks!

Image

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 1:53 pm 
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There are blades available with a negative hook and a fairly shallow cutting angle, that are intended for use on non-ferrous metals. There are also lubes available that aid in the cutting of aluminum by keeping the chips from sticking to the blade tooth. In a pinch, a woodcutting carbide toothed blade and some soapy water from a squirt bottle does a good job of cutting aluminum.

cheers

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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 3:12 pm 
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I use a normal carbide blade for aluminum. Nice clean cut, go slowly.
The fiber cutting blades melts it way through and leaves an ugly edge.

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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 4:12 pm 
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I regularly cut up to 3/8" plate and extrusions with my deWalt table.

A normal carbide 'wood' blade works just fine, and the nice straight long edges are great. (tough to get with a bandsaw)

No need to run it reversed. The blade doesn't seem to care, it cuts wood just as well.

Noisy. Flying chips can hurt, so wear a face shield and long-sleeved shirt.

The edges are usable as-is, if not a wipe with a Scotchbrite will do it.

Dennis

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Last edited by W7TFO on Nov Wed 29, 2017 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 4:49 pm 
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Location: Minneapolis, MN USA
Just be careful if you have a dust collection system connected to the table saw. Hot metal debris is not something you want to end up in a bag of wood dust.


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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 6:55 pm 
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Good warning! There is a dust collection system! But, I think any hot metal would be cooled by the time it reaches the garbage can which is intermediate to the filtering and dust bag.

I am going to order a Diablo 800 tooth non ferrous blade on Amazon--one is on sale and I've decided I am not going risk expensive wood cutting blades on ham projects. The angle stock is cheap, soft stuff. The rack panels are a lot harder, and I have some sheet aluminum that is rather hard.

The bandsaw is a small woodworking one--speed is much too fast for metal cutting, and they do not make a metal blade for it, I would have to have one made special. Too small and a cheap fence system regardless.

Pete

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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 10:32 pm 
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Location: Mpls, Minnesota
Dave Doughty wrote:
This is what I use. Norton 6110 metal cutoff wheel available at Lowes. Watch out for flying sparks!

Those Norton cutoff wheels are for ferrous metals only, not for aluminum. There are no sparks when grinding aluminum. The number you listed 'Norton 6110" is the max rpm, not a model number.
Do not use such a wheel for aluminum, you will ruin the wheel and your work piece.

Fine tooth metal blades work good for aluminum, you do not need carbide or put the blade in backwards. Put a little wax on the sides of the blade and you are good to go. I spent a few summers hanging aluminum siding while going to school and this is how we did it.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 11:25 pm 
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Location: Utica, NY 13502 (USA)
easyrider8 wrote:
Do not use such a wheel for aluminum, you will ruin the wheel and your work piece.
Thanks for the correction and advice. I've used this wheel mostly for cutting through rigid 3" copper RF transmission lines when installing FM transmitter antenna systems. It worked great. I've also used it on relatively thin aluminum chassis but you are probably right about not using it on thicker aluminum like rack panels.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Nov Wed 29, 2017 11:31 pm 
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I cut 1-5/8 & 3-1/8" EIA line with the same type carbide wood blade I cut aluminum plate.

Takes about a second in a miter saw.

Leaves a beautiful edge, no reaming necessary.

DG

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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Dec Fri 01, 2017 3:20 am 
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Location: Lexington Kentucky
I once worked at a company that used 1000's of pounds of aluminum extrusions to build electrical enclosures. They had several industrial Dewalt radial arm saws with carbide blades, coolant sprays, and a lead screw driven main slide to keep the blade from grabbing the aluminum shapes which could be up to 4" tall. They worked great.

So long as you can control the workpiece and move somewhat slowly it works. Be ready, it will be LOUD!


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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Dec Thu 07, 2017 12:48 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 15, 2006 7:56 am
Posts: 1073
Location: germany
Peter Bertini wrote:
My friend is telling me my woodcutting carbide blades will work fine for cutting rack panels and aluminum L stock.

Will they work, or I end up taking off my head a few seconds after ruining a sixty dollar blade? What is the best blade to use
to cut aluminum rack panels?

Pete


I have learned that in Job.

For example.

When the woodcutting blade have a diameter of 10 inches it will have 16 or what teeths.
A Blade made for Aluminium have in same diameter 80 or 100 of them, also radial cuttings for thermal expansion.

And you will cut not dry, there is a special (I dont know the english word for that) Fett (grease?, like Oil but more thick) to put on the blade before every cut.

When your blade have a lot of teeths you can use it.

greetings
Martin


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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Dec Fri 08, 2017 3:07 pm 
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A regular wood cutting carbide tipped saw blade will cut aluminum, but it is hard on the blade and the life will be shortened somewhat. I always used a non-ferrous cutting saw blade which lasted much longer - as long as someone else didn't come by and think they could cut steel tubing with it. :shock:

I also used a regular woodcutting blade in my 14 inch band saw to cut aluminum. You only need a metal cutting band saw to cut ferrous metals.

I cut aluminum for years with a Craftsman radial arm saw. I always bolted the piece to the table, and only had it grab once. The piece ricocheted off the 30 foot ceiling and landed at my bosses feet. :oops: After I was able to score a small milling machine I eventually got rid of the radial arm saw and stuck with a Dewalt 12" chop saw.


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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Dec Sun 10, 2017 11:08 pm 
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Location: Morristown, N.J.
I've been using general purpose band saw blades for cutting 1/8" aluminum and brass sheet. Never had any problems. Never damaged any bands.

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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Dec Tue 12, 2017 4:16 pm 
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I worked for a company that built displays for trade shows, and they routinely cut aluminum on their table saws. They used nail cutting blades.

I cut acrylic and other plastic sheets on mine.

There are special miter saws with special carbide blades for cutting steel without carborundum.

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 Post subject: Re: Cutting aluminum on miter and table saws
PostPosted: Dec Tue 12, 2017 11:19 pm 
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Peter Bertini wrote:

I am going to order a Diablo 800 tooth non ferrous blade on Amazon--one is on sale and I've decided I am not going risk expensive wood cutting blades on ham projects. The angle stock is cheap, soft stuff. The rack panels are a lot harder, and I have some sheet aluminum that is rather hard.

The bandsaw is a small woodworking one--speed is much too fast for metal cutting, and they do not make a metal blade for it, I would have to have one made special. Too small and a cheap fence system regardless.

Pete


The 80 tooth non-ferrous blade is what you want for the job. These blades have a zero or negative rake on the teeth so less worries about a tooth catching and something bad happening. Always make sure the work is supported solidly.

As for the bandsaw, I cut aluminum all the time with wood blades- even very aggressive wood blades. Try to have a 3 teeth in the work and all is well.
No need for a special metal blade for aluminum here. Bimetal blades last the longest. I use bimetal blades on my horizontal bandsaw for cutting both aluminum and steel- they last pretty long.

Cutting aluminum on a table saw is a different story. Unless you have anti-kickback provisions, it is very dangerous. If you ever had a piece of wood kickback, you know how violent that is with the wood riding up the blade and being launched at 100+ mph.


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