Cut aluminum on a table saw??
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  1. #1
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    Has any one here ever cut aluminum on a table saw?
    My job will entail some 3/16" thick X 2" straight cuts,and some 3/8" thick X 1" straight cuts also.

    I have never done this. However looking at it it is tempting using a 10" blade with 80 teeth. Could be a risky,that's why I am asking if any one has tried it.

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    We do at work. It works well. It's a "Metal Master" or something like that blade. A little WD-40 on the blade helps.

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    Works good if you have a carbide tipped blade. Spraying a little WD-40 on the aluminum helps.

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    There are blades specifically designed for cutting aluminum. Make sure the teeth have a negative rake to them. Blades designed for melamine work well too.

    Andrew

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    I have done it many times. If I am cutting thin sheet I turn the blade around and run it backward. I do this with a HSS blade because it will knock the carbide off if you run it backward. I have also cut some pretty thick plate with a carbide tipped blade running in the normal direction. Wear ear protection and of course eye protection. It is a messy job and flings some dangerous swarf but it is really quick and easy. I hate to say this but years ago before I got my milling machine, I cut a groove in some 3/8 plate with a dado blade.

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    Boeing cuts metal on Unisaws every day of the week (except when they're on strike, like now). In the long run, metal cutting on a wood table saw trashes the saw.

    Most of their saws seem to have spray mister setup to keep the blade lubricated.

    I believe the blades are positive rake as opposed to negative, at least I use a positive rake on my table saw for aluminum.

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    I just cut some 1/2" plate today. 80t, 10" carbide tipped. Wear protection--Chips fly everywhere. And they're hot too!

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    We used to cut 1" thick for checking fixture plates with an air powered skill style saw. It cut well, but we lubed with wax and covered all skin. We used ear protection, eye protection and a straight edge to guide the saw.-Jerald

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    Yes you can cut it on the table saw BUT it's much easier on a wood-cutting bandsaw. My 14" Delta, using a Lennox Diemaster blade (4tpi hook) cuts aluminum like butter.

    Much easier on the saw, probably because the bandsaw kerf is about .025", where the table saw kerf is .125".

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    Anybody use Grip Tites? (magnetic featherboards). They won't stop the mess but cuts are safe and accurate.
    mike

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    I've cut lots of aluminum on the table saw. Stuff from 3/32 up to 1/2 inch without problems. I like to use a blade stiffener since it helps keep the kerf from widening erratically. The two biggest problems I face when cutting aluminum are that the metal can get unexpectedly hot, and the swarf is dangerous.

    Whatever you cut on a tablesaw, you must keep control of it. For aluminum, you must have a plan in mind for when your fingers start to feel the burning heat. The last thing you want to do is react by letting go of the piece you're cutting.

    As far as the swarf, it's basically a high speed stream of hot miniature daggers. It will easily wreck a shirt, and it's no fun picking out all those slivers.

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    This information is indeed very helpfull, and some of it seems adventurous to say the least.

    But it sounds like like a fun challange. Kinda' like practicing driving golf balls in a Hi-Ali court. I'll let you know how I make out.

    Thanks to you all.

    If it's not broken,why do I keep fixing it....
    Norm'

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    someone made a comment that cutting metal on a table saw will ruin the saw after a while, but if you take a few precautions it won't hurt it anymore than cutting wood. Some of the precautions aren't worth doing unless you cut metal all the time.
    at the bearings put a felt washer on the shaft so it fits snug against the bearing and keeps swarf out, and place a sheild of some sort over the motor for the same purpose. on a direct drive type, put the felt washer against the motor after pulling all the blade clamp washers, and tape foam, thin open cell type, over the vents on the motor, and tape over any holes that will allow junk into the mechanism.
    I do it all the time on various saws, the metal cutting blades are the best to use, but a fine tooth finish blade also works well. A good plywood blade works well on the thin stuff. but you need to keep it from bouncing, placing thin plywood on top and cutting both works nice, or sandwiching it with two sheets of cardboard held with spray adhesive both keeps the metal from bouncing and stops the carbide teeth from getting knocked off, any cardboard works on top, but a solid non-currogated type is best on the bottom against the table, also use skill saws for the same purpose.

    Ken.

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    Done it many times, up to 3/4" thick. As others have said you need protection..full face shield, helmet (keep chips outta hair), long sleeves, and ear protection too. OTOH, I've never tried it with a blade guard in place, so perhaps with one of those the chips wouldn't fly all over so much ?

    Blade tip lubrication is not optional...absolutely essential. I used a "stick" forum of lube that DoAll sells...kinda like a solid wax...less messy than spray coolants.

    Hell, for all I know it *is* wax...maybe I should just stick a candle in the blade next time and see if that works !

    [img]smile.gif[/img]

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    Do it all the time ..I bought an old craftsman 10 inch just for the job I've also used the same blade to cut bronze bar stock .. one thing I found is that you want the blade set as high as it will go so the teeth are cutting and throwing the chips downward ..and if you can find them in your area get what they call a rescue blade they are made for the fire dept. to use on gas powered saws they will even cut through structural steel they look just like a carbide tipped wood blade .. they cost about 90 bucks each but they last forever I've had one for almost 10 years and its still in good shape ..the one I have is about 12 inches in dia and I use it on a big gear drive skill saw and cut channel and angle with it ..

  18. #16
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    I believe it was the patternmaker at the shop I worked at as a school vacation helper when I was a kid who showed me how to do this. And basically said, if you can run the wood you run the aluminum: same blades.

    The band saw works without the shrapnel however.

    I've heard that the mixture of saw dust and aluminum dust can be highly flammable when ignited, and so can prersent a danger: have not yet had a problem.

    Northernsinger

  19. #17
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    And basically said, if you can run the wood you run the aluminum: same blades.
    While you can use the same blades, purpose built blades with (carbide) tips ground for nonferrous cutting purposes will cut a bit faster and cleaner.

  20. #18
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    We cut 1/2" mic6 tooling plate on a plywood cutting panel saw , once in a while if you dont use any lube, (wd-40, Gibbs, etc.) you will throw a tooth, just go to the hardware store and get a new blade.

  21. #19
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    I've never used a table saw for aluminum, but frequently use a power miter saw for cutting aluminum bar and angle.

    Like others said cover as much of you as possible and wear ear plugs, it's noisy.

    take care
    Bernie

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    Micro-fine aluminum is not flammable, but WILL oxidize VERY rapidly. The DoD puts powdered aluminum in aerial flares, along with magnesium and other strange and wonderful goodies. So be careful and dispose of the swarf carefully.


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