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Thread: How to cut aluminium

  1. #11
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    Peter Sanders's Tools
    Hi All

    Cutting aluminium on a table saw is no more difficult than cutting really HARD wood. Of course all due care and safety much be in place. Yes a mitre guide etc. and safety glasses as a minimum. It looks to me that the photo is showing a negative rake blade is being used for cutting aluminium. This type of blade is used in SCMS/mitre/chop saws when cutting aluminium extrusions. While I appreciate the safety aspect, I don't think it is an absolute necessity to use this style of blade (negative rake) in a (properly set up and properly used) table saw.

    I have done this on .5" (12mm) aluminium plate, using a normal (crosscut) wood blade. Treat the aluminium as hardwood and proceed slowly. Be aware that the aluminium tends to stick to the teeth of the blade. If you need to make numerous cuts, check the teeth before making each cut. The blade will still cut with gummed up teeth but the finish tends to be poor.

    Cutting aluminium freehand, without any form of guide is not wise, but cutting aluminium on a table saw can be quite safe.
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    Last edited by Peter Sanders; 08-08-2017 at 09:24 PM.

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    Hard wax, (candle) or better still, beeswax will considerably help in preventing the blade from gumming up with ally chips
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  3. #13
    Supporting Member Frank S's Avatar
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    Frank S's Tools
    If one is going to dedicate a table saw to cut metal it would be advisable to add some blade speed reduction. I have an old table saw that I have been considering turning into a metal cutting cold saw since it is belt driven I can add an arbor and pulleys to reduce the speed. my saw takes a 12" blade so the optimal speed would be somewhere around 146 RPM given that my old 20" schotchman turned 88 RPM that meant it had 460 ft per min radial tooth contact speed. A 12 " blade @146 RPM would be roughly the same tooth contact speed with proper coolant flooding I should be able to expect burr free machine smooth cuts.
    Wood cutting saws turn way too fast and create far too much heat and without a high rate of coolant flow possibly even air assisted spray cooling the chances of galling the cuts or throwing teeth increases exponentially with each successive cut. Beeswax helps but must be applied continuously to both sides of the blade during the cutting process.
    Is this to say that I've never cut steel or aluminum with a circular saw, radial arm or table saw NO! I've done it I once cut an entire building down with a worm drive circular saw the saw could be heard for nearly a mile
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
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    Supporting Member tonyfoale's Avatar
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    tonyfoale's Tools
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Stan View Post
    Free hand sawing on a table saw is just asking to loose fingers/hands no matter the material. You just got lucky and I do not recommend repeating the stunt.
    Then I have been lucky for 7 decades. I have repeated the "stunt" as you call it many times. It is like working on live electricity, it helps focus the mind and keeps you sharp. What's life without a little risk?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyfoale View Post
    Attachment 19091

    So far I have 10 fingers left. Just lucky I guess.
    I'm not here to pile on about your utter disregard by safety Nazis.....but man...that hurts my ears looking at it. Not me bud, more power to ya!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank S View Post
    If one is going to dedicate a table saw to cut metal it would be advisable to add some blade speed reduction. I have an old table saw that I have been considering turning into a metal cutting cold saw since it is belt driven I can add an arbor and pulleys to reduce the speed. my saw takes a 12" blade so the optimal speed would be somewhere around 146 RPM given that my old 20" schotchman turned 88 RPM that meant it had 460 ft per min radial tooth contact speed. A 12 " blade @146 RPM would be roughly the same tooth contact speed with proper coolant flooding I should be able to expect burr free machine smooth cuts.
    Wood cutting saws turn way too fast and create far too much heat and without a high rate of coolant flow possibly even air assisted spray cooling the chances of galling the cuts or throwing teeth increases exponentially with each successive cut. Beeswax helps but must be applied continuously to both sides of the blade during the cutting process.
    Is this to say that I've never cut steel or aluminum with a circular saw, radial arm or table saw NO! I've done it I once cut an entire building down with a worm drive circular saw the saw could be heard for nearly a mile
    I like that idea! I have a table saw gathering dust and a vertical band saw I HATE.
    Thanks!

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    Jon
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