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EC8010 25th November 2007 11:30 AM

Routing aluminium?
OK, now I know this is remiss of me, but when I bought my milling machine, I didn't buy one big enough to cope with a 4' x 2' piece of 1/4" aluminium plate that needs holes for a Jordan JX92S and an ESg1 ribbon tweeter. So, as the title says, has anyone dared to use a router on aluminium, and if so, what are the potential problems? (Apart from it all going very nasty in your hands.)

At the very least, I need to cut a 3mm rebate for the Jordans to allow them to sit flush.

MJL21193 25th November 2007 12:02 PM

Aluminum routes nicely. Nice to have a guide template for it to follow to avoid mishaps and to go slow, taking small amounts at a time. The work piece needs to be securely clamped down also.
Good luck.

poynton 25th November 2007 12:12 PM

In a similar vein, can perspex / plexiglass be routed with a 'normal' domestic router ?


Workhorse 25th November 2007 12:21 PM

Remember to use lubrication oil especially the 40/60 thick types for diesel vehicles...apply it on the aluminium slab where the routing has to be done, in this way the aluminium doesnot get heat swabbed when routed.....

MJL21193 25th November 2007 12:22 PM


Originally posted by poynton
In a similar vein, can perspex / plexiglass be routed with a 'normal' domestic router ?


Yes, but you have to be careful not to go too fast or it will melt. A new sharp bit is a must.

EC8010 25th November 2007 12:25 PM

Ah, my next question was going to be about cutting fluid. I intend to use a trammel to guide the router when doing the JX92S rebate.

I've never routed Perspex, but I've milled it and it machines very nicely. You need a high cutter speed, very sharp tools, a light cut and quite a high feed rate. Leave the cutter in one place for any time and the friction will heat the Perspex, causing it to swell, causing more friction. It's a bit like the problem of burning when routing MDF. Go too slowly and it chips. Oh, and it produces a rather nasty sickly sweet solvent smell that's probably dangerous.

MJL21193 25th November 2007 12:32 PM


Originally posted by Workhorse
Remember to use lubrication oil especially the 40/60 thick types

I have a spray bottle of alcohol (camp stove fuel) that lubricates and there is no mess to clean up (especially on the router itself, which I use for woodwork - oil stains on a good veneer wil ruin it).

Burnedfingers 25th November 2007 12:46 PM

Sorry, I commented without reading this all the way.

Your not using your milling machine? But using a router?

No way man! Take it to the nearest machine shop and pay them a

few dollars/pounds to do the work for you.

Do not attempt to use any form of oil, or petro product when

undertaking this especially if trying to do this by the use of a

router. I have seen and put out fires caused by the use of an

improper coolant. Keep in mind that your hands would be close to

the material and close to flame that will result.

The proper way would be to use a Bridgeport or similar mill with

an end mill cutter and simcool as lubricant.

Oh, I spent 1000's of hrs running mills over the years. I used to

run mills that did multiple surfaces at the same time as well as

as primitave mills like a simple Bridgeport.

EC8010 25th November 2007 12:53 PM


Originally posted by burnedfingers
Do not use a flammable or oil based coolant as I have seen too many fires that result from using them.
Hmmm. That might not be too exciting at the normal operating distance from a mill, but hunched over a router...

MJL21193 25th November 2007 12:57 PM


Originally posted by burnedfingers
It is NOT flamable and easily washes clean. Check out the local machine shops and see if you can purchase a small amount.

Do not use a flamable or oil based coolant as I have seen to many fires that result from using them.

The alcohol that I've used is flammable, but evaporates so quickly, there's never much of a risk. I've never had it catch fire :hot: (but that's not to say that it couldn't, just unlikely).

Dry cutting is also possible, but the results are rougher.

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