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Cutting Aluminum Extrusion

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Mark Carew, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    Overview of how to cut aluminum extrusion.
    Please share all of your cutting tips and ideas :)
     
  2. Franco Ponticelli

    Franco Ponticelli Journeyman
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    Sounds great! I am really glad this site is finally up. Feel free to delete this and the previous post if they pollute the post ;)
     
  3. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    Thanks Franco we are also, its be a long time in the making and this is just the beginning!
     
  4. Jestah

    Jestah Veteran
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    Hi Guys,

    Just about to order my first batch of Vslot and now thinking about also making sure I get the right tools to cut it.

    I am looking at getting a good 250mm sliding miter saw as this size saw should give me enough cut size to do a complicated compound cut in full size 8020.

    http://www.blackanddecker.co.uk/powertools/productdetails/catno/SMS500/

    Would any one suggest other wise and if this is a good choice what sort of blade should I match to get the best results in Vslot?
     
  5. 3DMON

    3DMON Journeyman
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    That won't have any problem. I just recently cut some extrusion with my miter saw and the carbide tip blade I use for wood. It worked great but More teeth would have given a nicer finish.
    Another thing I would recommend is to use a good square to get the blade square. The slide rule on my saw was off by 2 degrees.
     

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  6. Jestah

    Jestah Veteran
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    nice cut, I will make sure to get some high tooth count blades as well.

    Do you think hooking up coolant/mist would help as well?
     
  7. 3DMON

    3DMON Journeyman
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    Coolant isn't necessary.
     
  8. Jestah

    Jestah Veteran
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    I was guessing coolant would be over kill but I like going over board on projects.....

    I should also point out that I plan on making a few kits for local skateboard builders and plan to be cutting quite a bit of vslot over next few months. I am keen to make it as easy as I can while getting the best results so my ideas for coolant so far are:

    A friend suggested I add a wax feeder. He uses it for his duel saw but I wonder if the wax is acting as more of a lube between the blades than between the cut and blade.

    My other idea was to add a little drip feeder to drip some lube onto the blade or at the cut site. The simplest method I have come up with is to use a small air pump to lift coolant up a tube using a venturi effect setup. It is a trick used by indoor window gardeners to lift nutrient solution to a vertical garden. You get a constant dripping at the air outlet with just a small air pump, will that be enough to lift coolant... not sure... I got to go find an air pump later this week ....

    Any way in other news I did get a nice sliding compound saw second hand that just needs a good clean and a bit of fine tuning and should be perfect to get me started.

    Here is a good primer video I found that gives a overview on setting up a saw



    And then I think I will follow up with the tips on this page:

    http://www.wwgoa.com/set-up-your-miter-saw-for-perfect-cuts/

    Hope this is helpful for others!
     
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  9. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    Great info @Jestah
    Thanks for the share
     
  10. Robert Hummel

    Robert Hummel Custom Builder
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    This is the blade I use and picked it up at my local Lowes
    image.jpg
     
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  11. Public Do Omens

    Guest Builder

    http://www.wikihow.com/Cut-Aluminum

    Quote

    • The cutting speed used for wood is generally going to be too fast to safely cut aluminum. Using a 10 inch (25.4 cm) table saw, for example, you can reduce the blade to 7 1/4 inch (18.4 cm). This will subsequently slow your cutting speed.
    • If it's not possible to alter blade sizes, consider purchasing equipment with a variable speed router. The equipment will be more expensive, but it will be easy and intuitive to lower the speed to something more appropriate to aluminum.
     
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  12. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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  13. Jestah

    Jestah Veteran
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    crud... I didn't think about tip speed when I picked up my 10inch drop saw for making kit set parts.... Poo!

    OK so any one put a small blade on a big drop saw? I had a look and it seems I will never get the blade to go low enough so this only leave the options of making a riser to lift the work to the saw or speed controller?

    Any one see any other options before I go looking into building a speed controller?
     
  14. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    I use a 12" mitre saw with a 12" blade and it makes great cuts on V-Slot. Just take your time and use an aluminum cutting blade
     
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  15. Public Do Omens

    Guest Builder

    I think this is correct take it slow on all new cuts until you understand the outcome. :cool:

    Practice on a end part first maybe.

    I am trying to build so i don't cut parts.
    This way i can use the parts on many prototypes.

    Re-use! :cool:

    Cannot afford the cost for every prototype i am planning.
     
  16. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
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    In the video for the OX build Mark mentioned putting 'oil' on the ali when cutting it.
    DO NOT do this, please. Well, not a normal lubricating oil anyhow. They work too well at lubricating and hinder the cutting process. Cutting needs something that lubricates a bit then breaks down and allows cutting while carrying heat away.

    On aluminum I use one of 2 things, kerosene or beeswax. I do a lot of lathe work and a quick dab of kero makes for smooth easy cutting with relatively easy cleanup.
    On parts where I don't want any kero residue I use beeswax, just a quick rub on the surface to be cut.
    I also use this on my hacksaw, just rub some on the blade, similarly with HSS taps.
    An ordinary paraffin wax candle will also work. Try it and see.....

    On steel I use chicken fat saved from the roasting pan. Again just dab on with a brush before each cut. Yes, there are commercial cutting compounds that are much more amazing, but these thigns worked for my father, and work for me, and the savings can be spent on receivers and servos!
     
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  17. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    Great tips David, thank you
     
  18. Public Do Omens

    Guest Builder

    "On steel I use chicken fat saved from the roasting pan" this is a great tip. David.

    I will use beeswax however as i prefer this to meat products.

    Thanks loads for that tip. Great input.
     
  19. The Dude

    The Dude Veteran
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    Same here. My cuts came out flawless and I didn't need to buy a new blade.
     
  20. rpleyva

    rpleyva Well-Known
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    Has anyone tried the Diablo 10 in. x 80 Tooth Non-Ferrous/Plastic Saw Blade? It cost about $60.
     
  21. rpleyva

    rpleyva Well-Known
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    After reading the through this thread, I ordered an Oshlun SBNF-100100 10-Inch 100 Tooth TCG Saw Blade with 5/8-Inch Arbor for Aluminum and Non Ferrous Metals for $54, including shipping. I will post the cutting results after I get the blade and have a chance to make a couple of cuts.

    Thanks everyone for the helpful info.
     
  22. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    Sounds like a nice blade that will work well. :thumbsup:
     
  23. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    Saw-blades. I find these new type universal blades generate no heat at all.
    Cheers
    Gray
     
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  24. Glenn West

    Glenn West Well-Known
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    I cut vslot for the first time this weekend. Using a Evolution RAGE3-S300 230V 210mm Multipurpose Sliding Mitre Saw.
    Clamps everything, and came out with perfect cuts. I could not believe how clean the cuts are. No rework, even cutting 3 vslot rails at
    once. Just used the machine on the floor with supplied clamps. I really have to say I was impressed. Two Kossels came togeather really
    fast with this saw. Now I'm going to try brass for the push rods.
     
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  25. Keith Davis

    Keith Davis Master
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    I use the Diablo 10 in. x 80 & 84 Tooth Non-Ferrous blades on my table saw for cutting v-slot - 20x20 to 20x80 widths. I get factory quality cuts. The only reason I changed from 80 to 84 tooth was because I made the mistake of cutting a 2x4 just once and when I went back to Home Depot to get a replacement all they had was the 84 tooth. These blades are made strictly for aluminum extrusion cutting. All-in-all I've probably cut through 30 feet of v-slot if you add them all together and still get the same quality. I work in the black anodized so any blemish would really show up.

    Side note about tapping threads in v-slots - Tapit Paste from LittleMachineShop.com. Best $10.00 I ever spent (especially when you consider the waste from a broken bit embedded in your already custom cut extrusion piece). http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=4923&category=
     
  26. Zootalaws

    Zootalaws Veteran
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    Just bought a generic Asian 100T TCT 10" saw for my Hitachi drop saw for $34 - to you lot, $25/17 quid.

    Perfect cuts in 2020 - and I can put it in my table saw when I've finished on the alloy and use it for plywood/MDF.
     
  27. nnfuller

    nnfuller New
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    @Mark Carew What setup does open builds use for cutting stock pieces? I want to be able to cut 100 pieces the identical size, and was wondering what setup your team uses?
     
  28. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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  29. Val Cocora

    Val Cocora Veteran
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    too much trouble for me.
    had my frames precision cut on a cnc.
    sounds overkill, but in the end I got precise dimensions (to the order of tau's) which greatly helped when aligning and squaring the frame.
     
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  30. Julius

    Julius Veteran
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    I also cut it on my mitre saw, with the rough wood blade. Just took small bites at a time and had it clamped to the fence in case it decided to kick or anything. Chips go everywhere, wear goggles (FOR REAL THIS TIME). It's not as bad as I thought
     

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