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Cutting aluminium, again...
Cutting aluminium, again...
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Old 14th July 2009, 12:08 PM   #1
Stuey is offline Stuey  Australia
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Default Cutting aluminium, again...

Hi guys,

I've searched and found a fair bit of info on this topic. Many seem to use a table saw with a non-ferrous metal cutting blade.

I want to cut 3mm aluminium alloy sheet for the bottom and top of a power amp, so max length of cut is around 400mm.

As I don't have a table saw, but do have a Makita 6" circular saw, I was thinking of buying a metal cutting blade and cutting the ally most of the way through, then snapping it and filing. The idea is to cobble up a guide either side with the lot clamped down to a table, and just go slow. I have 1" square steel tubing for the guides. I reckon if I do it this way, it'll be straight but will avoid the issues with grabbing you'd get with a full cut right through. I'm happy to finish with a series of files. I don't fancy my alternative of using a hacksaw with the blade turned 90 degrees (I'm only taking about 40mm off each side).

Advice please: does this sound safe enough to do by hand?

I don't know what grade the alloy is.


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Old 14th July 2009, 02:46 PM   #2
jacco vermeulen is offline jacco vermeulen  Netherlands
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Sounds mighty dangerous to me.
Why does it hurt when I Pee ? (Ay Ay Ay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5fLGWrHouk)
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Old 14th July 2009, 04:01 PM   #3
theAnonymous1 is offline theAnonymous1  United States
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Perhaps you should check and see how much Front Panel Express would cost to create and ship the panels for you. It might just be cheaper than the medical bills you would end up with trying to use a circular saw.
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Old 14th July 2009, 05:40 PM   #4
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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Cutting aluminium, again...
It could get dangerous

Another issue is damage to plate surface
Which may occur when using a less dangerous jigsaw

Your best option is to use a regular simple metal handsaw
I dont know what its called in english
But you can angle the blade for this kind of work

Special alu cutting blades with bigger toothing for a handsaw dont cost much

With proper markings, and slowly careful working, its no big deal

But if you clamp the alu plate between to pieces of wood, a jigsaw would be easy to use, and not harm the plate

There are also special files for alu work, may cost though

But with no tablesaw, I would get the best precision by using a handsaw(hacksaw?), very carefully
But sure, it takes practice
sometimes we know very little, and sometimes we know too much
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Old 14th July 2009, 06:07 PM   #5
sandyhooker is offline sandyhooker  United States
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fwiw...I have successively cut 1/8" aluminum with my radial arm saw many times. Provided your hand circular saw is of good quality I think you can do what you suggest. When cutting the metal, I suggest you drag the saw through rather than push it through . This might mean removing the guard on your saw. I use a normal carbide blade without any damage to the material . Guides should be very sturdy and secured well.

Good luck!!!
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Old 14th July 2009, 08:47 PM   #6
Magura is offline Magura  Denmark
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Originally posted by sandyhooker

Good luck!!!

He is gonna need that

Everything is possible....to do the impossible just takes a little while longer.
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Old 14th July 2009, 08:53 PM   #7
lowpoke is offline lowpoke  Australia
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Cutting aluminium, again...
Is taking it to a metal shop for them to cut out of the question? It doesn't sound like you have any complicated requirements — I'm sure costs would be quite reasonable.
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Old 14th July 2009, 11:28 PM   #8
Minion is offline Minion  Canada
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The metal shop by my house will sell me and cut to size a 19in x4in x1/16in Aluminum plate for $6 ...... it"s probably cheaper if you allreay have the aluminum plate .....
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Old 14th July 2009, 11:39 PM   #9
tomchr is offline tomchr  Canada
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I am in the final stages of assembling the preamp that I built. I'm using 1/16" aluminum for top and bottom. I bought the metal at http://www.onlinemetals.com/ - which happens to be within a reasonable drive from my house. I cut a 36x36 inch sheet into smaller pieces using a friend's table saw. Standard run of the mill Craftman saw with a 10", 96-tooth metal cutting blade. It worked quite well once I had the fence set right. I don't see any reason you wouldn't be able to do the same with a circular saw.

I've also cut a 1" thick block with the same setup. Just go slow... It worked.

~ Tom
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Old 14th July 2009, 11:41 PM   #10
tomchr is offline tomchr  Canada
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Oh... And use cutting fluid that's made for cutting aluminum. Makes life much easier. The stuff I have is called A-9. Got it at Tacoma Screw.

~ Tom
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