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Old 6th December 2002, 10:45 PM   #1
Jason_N is offline Jason_N  United States
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Default Cutting a groove in Aluminum

I've got a piece of 1/4" 6061 aluminum for amp frontplate. I need to cut a 3/8" deep and 4" wide slot down the front of it. Does anyone know a easy way to do this? I've got a decent table saw but do not relish the idea of making 50 passes to get a 4" wide groove. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

BTW, I'm new here. My name is Jason, I'm an EE student at the U of Washington. I've been reading the posts for a couple of months and have probably learned more than I have in 2 years of school. Thanks.
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Old 6th December 2002, 11:03 PM   #2
BrianGT is offline BrianGT  United States
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Default Re: Cutting a groove in Aluminum

Quote:
Originally posted by Jason_N
I've got a piece of 1/4" 6061 aluminum for amp frontplate. I need to cut a 3/8" deep and 4" wide slot down the front of it. Does anyone know a easy way to do this? I've got a decent table saw but do not relish the idea of making 50 passes to get a 4" wide groove. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
I am a little confused here, it is 1/4" thick and you want to cut a 3/8" deep slot?

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Brian
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Old 6th December 2002, 11:22 PM   #3
Jason_N is offline Jason_N  United States
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Wow, don't I feel smart. I meant 1/2".

Thanks,
Jason
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Old 7th December 2002, 12:17 AM   #4
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Default Aluminium groove

I bought an aluminium cutting blade for my saw bench at 80$ CAN. I'm doing all my metal work with it. Aluminium is quite easy to cut. It is also aesy to make a groove by doing multiple cuts side by side. Hope it helps...

Bye.
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Old 7th December 2002, 12:27 AM   #5
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I have a quick answer and then a total thread jack. I have heard that a router can work with aluminum if you go slow and use plenty of lubricant, ie. tons of wd40, cutting oil, even salad oil will work. You could set up a table and only have to reset it maybe 8 times depending on the bit width. Also make sure the bit isnt heating up too much periodically.

And for the thread jacking,

I am planning to go for the same major at the same college as you in a couple years (I am in 10th grade at the moment) and everybody I have talked to has told me something different about the acceptance standards for UW. What were your grades and sat score like? I really would like to know how much time I need to put to grades and how much to put into electronics.

Thanks!
-Chris
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Old 7th December 2002, 12:49 AM   #6
Jason_N is offline Jason_N  United States
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Hi Chris,

I don't know what the standards are for getting into the U these days, but if you get an AA degree at some comm coll in this state, you are guaranteed admission into the U. The harder part is getting into the EE department. SAT's won't matter much, and a 3.5 is considered a "safe" GPA for admission. Last quarter the lowest GPA to get in was a 3.2. Writing a good personal statement will go a long way as well. If you have a lot of electronics experience as a hobby or what not, that is really good as well. My wife is pulling on my arm to go to the christmas party, so if you want more info or help or anything, email me at jlnordwall@msn.com.

Later,
Jason
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Old 7th December 2002, 05:14 PM   #7
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Whatever you do, it will allways look rough. The easiest way is to get a piece of 1/8" aluminum and attach 2 pieces of 3/8" aluminum strips separated 4" apart. Saves you a lot of work, aggravation and possible failure.
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Old 7th December 2002, 06:18 PM   #8
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you can take it to a machine shop and have them mill it or bench grind it. The bench grind will leave a smooth finish. You can then polish it for smoothness or shotblast, your choice. Milled will leave swirls in the material. if they make full passes beyond the material the swirls may be appealing to you. Tell the machine shop the finish you want and they can do what you want.
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Old 7th December 2002, 06:41 PM   #9
Keld is offline Keld  Sweden
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Quote:
You can then polish it for smoothness or shotblast,
Sorry about my "noknowledge" but what does shotblast mean.
shotblast like shotgun fired at close range???

Keld
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Old 7th December 2002, 07:34 PM   #10
Philo is offline Philo  United States
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I have used many of the above methods with varying success. I prefer using a table saw with a melamine/plastic dado blade. It is the most stable and reliable (read safest). If you want to fine finish the groove, use a wooden block slightly smaller than the slot and wrap it with wet/dry sandpaper. If you use a router, pick a plunge style bit with a good quality aluminum cutting fluid. It's pretty cheap and give the smoothest finish (no galling or burning). The plunge bit has more cutting surface for an easier cut. This will extend the life of the bit. Use cutting guide on both side of the router and cut in passes of 1/8" depth or less. Lastly, WEAR LONG SLEEVES. The router is going to throw hot chips everywhere and they smart when the hit the soft skin of your forearm .

Keld,
Shot blasting is much like sand blasting but uses a different media (tiny glass balls usually). This is where high pressure air is force through a "gun" with a media added in before it leaves the "barrel". The process effectively workhardeneds the surface and gives it a nice even surface. The different medias produce different finishes. The media can be walnut shells or silica sand all the way up to silicon carbide or small ballbearings it all depends on the desired result. I see high pressure water being used quite frequently nowadays, both to finish or cut the metal..
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