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Old 2nd July 2010, 11:59 AM   #1
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Default cutting aluminum plate?

I have a 1/2" thick aluminum plate lying around which I wanted to use for a bottom plate for my LM3886 amp build. I just need to make one cut. What is best/easiest way to do this ... without paying a machinest?

Fallback plan is to cut it by hand with hacksaw but, that will be a "bear" and I don't think I'll end up with the cleanest, best edge.

Any better ideas?

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Old 2nd July 2010, 12:26 PM   #2
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That's really thick aluminum. The cut would probably be uneven if you cut it by hand. I'm guessing you wouldn't be happy with it. I cut aluminum with a miter saw and aluminum cutting blade, which makes a very clean cut. You would probably be better off buying a thinner plate (.1" is stiff and should be good for what you want) from an online seller. You'll be able to get it for a few bucks plus a few dollars shipping.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 01:23 PM   #3
klewis is offline klewis  United States
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Do you have some sort of power saw? Band saw, table saw, circular saw, jig saw? Blades for all of these are available for cutting aluminum. If you have a table saw, blades from toolstoday work well, they have ones for cutting thick aluminum. I wouldn't cut through the whole thickness at one time with a table saw. You'll need to be very carful of kickback on a tablesaw, it's far more dangerous than cutting wood. If the metal catches the blade, it will come at you a very high rate of speed!

A jig saw, or bandsaw are far safer and will give a decent cut, just use a fence or straight edge to get a straight cut, not freehand.

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Old 2nd July 2010, 01:28 PM   #4
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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A hack saw can only cut down until the throat width of the frame is used.
Turning the blade 90degrees limits the width to be cut to ~ throat width of the frame.

I can't see how you can hacksaw a bottom plate unless you only remove the excess in <100mm strips.

And yes, it will need a lot of filing to get a straight, flat, smooth finish to the hacksawed edge. How long is it since you last filed 12mm Al plate?
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Old 2nd July 2010, 01:32 PM   #5
Magura is offline Magura  Denmark
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If you go visit the local machine shop, carrying a six-pack, you will be surprised how easy it is to "cut".

Everything is do the impossible just takes a little while longer.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 01:35 PM   #6
LAJ is offline LAJ  United States
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That thick they will probably use a plasma cutting device which does not cut very smoothly. The most I've ever cut is 3/16 AL with a jig saw and a metal cutting blade. Go slow and take breaks to let the blade cool off.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 02:55 PM   #7
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Any machine shop should have a big bandsaw like a Grob or something and can cut it in about 4 seconds. Even if you have to pay them ten bucks or something, the results and savings in effort will be worth it. A small wood-type bandsaw runs too fast, but would probably make one cut with no problem.
I may be barking up the wrong tree, but at least I'm barking!
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Old 2nd July 2010, 03:23 PM   #8
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If you don't have experience cutting this thickness, get a pro or an amateur with a basement/garage machine shop...

HAND HELD POWER SAWS are NG... possible exception is a "sawzall" type, but the block needs to be held down with clamps to an immovable surface before cutting... lots of lube, and some sort of "fence" (straigntedge) to guide and you have half a shot at a decent cut... not the best way...

table saw and a carbide blade, with multiple passes, and a very light cut, lots of lube will do the job. But as noted, kick back is a danger...


that's my take on it...

_-_-bear -- Btw, I don't actually know anything, FYI -- every once in a while I say something that makes sense... ]
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Old 2nd July 2010, 05:55 PM   #9
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Hmmm ... sounds not-simple. All I have is circular saw, hack saw, Skill saw, and a few routers.
It may be cheaper for me to just buy a thinner plate, cut to the final dimensions, instead of buying a new saw blade etc.
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Old 3rd July 2010, 03:16 AM   #10
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too late ... I went at it with a hacksaw today and did a nice job! Very straight and clean.
Onwards ....
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