Cutting Carbon fiber plate
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    Default Cutting Carbon fiber plate

    I have some Carbon Fiber Plate (12"x24") I need to cut into 1" strips. It would really be nice if I could just put it up on the table saw and strip them out but the question is what kind of blade to use. I do know that a 60 tooth blade will get dull very quickly even if it is carbide tipped plus there is chipping of the material. Has anyone tried a tile cutting blade or something similar that can be had at the local big box store.

    Scott

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    You're close to the right track, but the better choice would be an abrasive blade made for cutting masonry. Don't cut carbon fiber with diamond. How thick is the plate?

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    The plate is only 1/16" thick and why not diamond is it the heat that is generated that will affect a diamond saw.

    Scott

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    I've cut a shit load of carbon fiber plate on a table saw. We used a diamond grit coated plade. It was fairly coarse grit, like maybe 60. Way more coarse than a tile saw. I THINK it was from national diamond laboratories. Google search will probably come up with something. Cut beautifully, BUT....

    If you can't have any delamination at all, you have to run coolant. We used a custom machine for ours. The table saw heats the material up a bit and can cause some delam on the edges. Nothing bad, but for aerospace testing we were doing, it had to be perfect.

    I think a tile saw blade would get too hot without coolant. Too fine.

    Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scojen View Post
    The plate is only 1/16" thick and why not diamond is it the heat that is generated that will affect a diamond saw.

    Scott
    Diamonds are made of carbon. I haven't ever cut carbon fiber with a diamond wheel, so I can't say if the phenomenon works the same as diamond tooling in cast iron, but those two things don't get along well. I have cut carbon with normal abrasive blades (the black ones) and I got great results. The resin binding the carbon fiber gets hot and smokey, though, so make sure you have good ventilation.

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    Did I mention that I was a cheapskate too just the word diamond makes my wallet hurt.

    Scott

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    Default Cutting carbon plate

    Try a carbide blade made for plastic laminate. Tightly sandwich the carbon plate between two pieces of wood to reduce chipping. Alternately, taping both sides before cutting will help some.

    I like the sandwich technique because it totally eliminates blow up and handling of sharp edges. You ain't lived 'til you've had a piece of this stuff shatter while you hold it.

    Whatever you do be sure to wear a really good dust mask and eye protection.

    Next time, buy the plate in the size you need and save some aggravation. Composite Superstore is one place that sells many sizes of plate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie gary View Post
    Don't cut carbon fiber with diamond.
    Are you crazy? It's industry standard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scojen View Post
    Did I mention that I was a cheapskate too just the word diamond makes my wallet hurt.

    Scott
    If that's the case, I might go with the sandwich technique and a plastics blade like Henrya said. Should give you a pretty nice cut. At least run a sacrificial backer board on the bottom.

    You could also run a tile saw blade and rig up some sort of mister coolant contraption. Mask off the table saw parts that can't get wet. It would be experimental, but I'm 90% sure it would work well. I'd try a test cut with a real tile saw and see what happens.

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    What you need is something like a bone saw or a Fein Multimaster with one of these blades: Amazon.com: Fein 63502097027 3 1/8-Inch Hard Material Blade for Sheet Metal, Hardwood, Fiberglass, and Carbon Fiber: Home Improvement
    These will last a long time and seem to cut better once they have worn a little bit. For shorter cuts, or detail work, some cheapo diamond coated bits in a dremel work well.
    Make sure to wear a mask and do everything possible to contain the dust. Long sleeves help. There is nothing healthy about carbon dust and it itches like hell. When I was doing the race car stuff, we had a large downdraft table and all of our sanders and saws were hooked up to a dust collection system. All that helped, but I still went home itchy everyday.

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    Get it cut with a water jet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AeroE View Post
    Get it cut with a water jet.
    I tried that once. Delamination was a problem.

    QB

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Welden View Post
    Are you crazy? It's industry standard.
    In my own special way. I haven't used much diamond tooling in carbon, and the seat of my pants may have mis-spoken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by unabiker View Post
    Make sure to wear a mask and do everything possible to contain the dust. Long sleeves help. There is nothing healthy about carbon dust and it itches like hell. When I was doing the race car stuff, we had a large downdraft table and all of our sanders and saws were hooked up to a dust collection system. All that helped, but I still went home itchy everyday.
    Use a water mist for cooling and dust control. Cleaning up is a lot easier than trying to clean the carbon dust that goes everywhere. If you create enough carbon dust, you can end up having problems with it getting in your electronics.

    If this is a one-time thing and quality is not critical, then you could use just about anything to cut it. A grinder with a dimond wheel and at ~.002" per cut is the best way, though.

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    Thanks guys I am going to look into the saw blade that unabiker mentioned. I am well aware of the dangers of working with carbon plate and have had too many real experiences with splinters and dust and like you all say wet is good, muddy but good, messy well you get the idea. This will be a recurring job and I will probably look into some dedicated tooling at the expense of the customer for sure.

    Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by scojen View Post
    Thanks guys I am going to look into the saw blade that unabiker mentioned.
    That blade only works with the tool he mentioned (Fein multimaster.)

    I have one of those Fein's, and it's for sure the very last thing I'd try to use on the job you have.

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    Yep, I've cut carbon with my Fein tool but is more for roughing out than a precision cut. It cuts smooth but you are holding it in your hands, so if you want perfectly straight 1" wide strips its not the way to go. The way to go is to buy your plate to size so you don't have to fool with cutting it.

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    If you have to cut it in straight lines I had very good luck cutting it on a metal shear, it cuts very clean.

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    I have cut a lot of carbon and G10 on a table saw with a diamond grit masonry blade. The one I use says its for granite, bought at the local hardware store. For example I have cut many feet in 1.5" G10 with that thing, a carbide tooth blade will only cut about an inch before you throw it out.

    I have also had a great deal of it water jet cut. Delamination is only a problem on the pierce, where it will create a boil of delamination. If you start at an edge or in a hole, no problems and a very clean cut. If its thin stuff you can shear it, I doubt it is kind to the shear though.

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    Easiest way to cool/dust control the diamond blade on a table saw is to wet a large sponge and cut the sponge at the same time as the material.

    If you try to mist it will not do much as a result of the spm of the blade unless you add the water as close to the shaft as possible and let centrifical force carry the water to the cutting edge.


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