Cutting Aluminium Sheet ...Without Losing Body Parts

Metals Centre has been cutting aluminium, stainless steel, brass, copper and bronze to size for the past 27 years for the Gauteng region and beyond. On top of this we offer a first rate laser and waterjet cutting service for all your precision cutting requirements

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We are set up to help you with the laborius cutting phase of your sheet metal projects, this way you can have the satisfaction of a project that gets finished faster and still spend time with your family on the weekend.

Having said that - there are still many times that this is just not possible, so let's take a look at the options available to us for safely cutting aluminium checker plate and sheet at home in a workshop or garage

  • One could use a jig saw and file combination. The file would be used to neaten the cut afterwards

  • A wood saw that takes a hacksaw blade on the leading edge would do the job. Just make sure to get the 18 teeth per inch not the 32 teeth per inch.

  • A fine saw blade for a drop saw would do the trick. A fast rotary saw could be used. Use a tungsten carbide tipped blade for really effective cutting

  • Be careful of using an angle grinder, they tend to tear and roughen up the edges.

The best for cutting aluminum sheet at home is a metal blade in a jig saw. Use between 18 - 24 tpi (teeth per inch) don't rush it, take it slow. You could clean it up with a file when you finished cutting

WARNING
Never use grinding discs or cutting discs with non-ferrous metals as these clog the disk which can cause them to explode. Extremely dangerous...stay with a jigsaw, its cheap, easy and effective but rather loud so wear ear protection.

Another effective option for cutting alumiium is to use a carpenters saw with tungsten carbide blade - leaves a clean and straight cut, and is not that noisy. In fact most standard woodworking tools will work well with aluminium, even chisels and planes etc. The blades will become dull but are not wrecked. Look, it's probably not best to use your finest cabinet making tools for the task.

TIP

Kerosene is the recommended lube for machining and cutting alunminium, however, it can be a bit of a pain to clean up when you finished cutting, worth it though, because it leaves your tools and material in a better condition.

As mentioned above most grinding tools are useless on non-ferrous metals except for some very specialised items, but then they tend to have very specialised price tags too.

Oil it.

What are friends for, if not to spray oil onto the 9.5 inch carpenters saw blade while you are cutting aluminium? These bades can heat up quickly without the oil and this causes the aluminium to stick to the cutting teeth which increases the blade width and that is what causes the "kick-back". If it missess you as it flies back - great! However, if you're leaning over the material while cutting, then your right leg is directly in line with the saw. Be sure to use a fine tooth blade and make sure your hands, face and eyes are protected.

Noise Factor

I know we are speaking about DIY methods of cutting aluminium here, but it may prove pertinent to ask the question, "have you considered the noise that cutting aluminium creates". If this will get you into your neighbours "bad-books, then perhaps your best solution is to get over to your nearest engineering job-shop and have your aluminium sheet guillotined.

Whats all the fuss about not using a grinding disc to cut aluminium sheet.

I used a standard angle grinder with stock standard cutting discs to cut some 3mm aluminium checker plate, and all I can say is.....DON'T DO IT! The result - Very noisy, very untidy, nothing short of a mess with a few dangerous "kick-backs" thrown in for good measure. If this is your only option, rather get back in your car and get the guys you bought it from to cut it for you. You will save time, money and potential hospital bills doing this with the wrong kit.







Metals Centre
18 John St
Unit C1, John st Warehouse
Selby ext. 11
2001
Gauteng
South Africa

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