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Modding Cutting 4mm thick aluminum treadplate

Discussion in 'Modding' started by DeadP1xels, 29 Jan 2010.

  1. DeadP1xels

    DeadP1xels Music Enthusiast

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    A while back i picked up a reasonably big piece of five bar treadplate at the recycling center

    i thought i could use it on a mod (happens to be the one im working on now) but i have nothing really strong enough to cut it reasonably neatly!

    what could i use to cut it? or am i best sticking to cutting it with a hacksaw by hand?
     
  2. craigbru

    craigbru Cramming big things in small boxes since 2006

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    4mm? There isn't much that will cut it easily. I've used both a jigsaw, and reciprocating saw, but both were a pain. The jigsaw took forever, and the reciprocating saw was horribly inaccurate. A dremel would be an exercise in futility, and a hacksaw... well, how much time do you have on your hands? Lol.

    I'd love to hear how others tackle thick aluminum as well...
     
  3. Nanosec

    Nanosec absit iniuria verbis

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    Hand held grinder? or circular saw with a metal cutting blade? depends on what other tools you have available, I would definately NOT suggest using a dremel though, would eat through a ton of wheels
     
  4. barry99705

    barry99705 sudo rm -Rf /

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    Plasma cutter.
     
  5. The_Beast

    The_Beast I like wood ಠ_ಠ

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    A small table saw should do the trick
     
  6. M.Ø.J

    M.Ø.J Getting there!

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    A tablesaw with the right blade will do the trick. A jigsaw with the right blade can also do it for you.
    I cutted the front for my mediacenter with a jigsaw. Its "only" 3mm thick thou. Anyway the thicker the material the longer it will take.
    Make sure you get the right blade for the job. Thats essential.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. llamafur

    llamafur WaterCooled fool

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    Don't use a hand held grinder or angle grinder. The abrasive disk will clog with aluminum gunk and possibly explode.
     
  8. Validus

    Validus New Member

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    My guess would be a jigsaw. Pick up a good metal blade. Typically you want at least 2 teeth in the material you're cutting at a time. Yeah it's going to take a while, but I imagine it will be the best cut.

    If you're just going to be cutting a straight cut, maybe look into a tile saw with an appropriate blade.

    I wouldn't use a hacksaw (accuracy would be the problem here), skip the Dremel, and avoid the scroll saw.
     
  9. Nanosec

    Nanosec absit iniuria verbis

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    There is a big difference between the wheels on a hand grinder, as opposed to a bench grinder. You CAN buy the correct wheels for grinding/cutting aluminum for a hand grinder, the last shop I worked in would never have survived if we 'blew up' grinding wheels every time we set on some aluminum.
     
  10. llamafur

    llamafur WaterCooled fool

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    I said that cause most people don't have wheels designed for aluminum its usually just steel. I seen many articles where people have been severely hurt or even kill due to misuse of an angle grinder. I just don't want anyone getting hurt.
     
  11. Attila

    Attila still thinking....

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    Cutting 4mm alloy with a jigsaw will be very easy and reasonably fast. You won't get a
    beautiful straight edge, so some filing will be necessary, and cut just wide of the line.
    Bosch T227D blades are rated for cutting 15mm plate so get the right blades for the job.
    On tread plate mark up and cut from the smooth side, take your time and realise that to
    get a good finish it may take time and effort. You don't get something for nothing.
    I will be using these blades to cut 6,8 and 12mm alu for my next project and expect cutting
    and finishing for each part to take a great deal of time. It's just par for the course. ;)
     
    Javerh likes this.
  12. DeadP1xels

    DeadP1xels Music Enthusiast

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    Hmmmmmm my jigsaw is a rather old bosch maybe i'll look into getting something a little more powerful i just can't imagine it cutting
     
  13. M.Ø.J

    M.Ø.J Getting there!

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    The rather old tools are often the best. Mine is a Bosch GST85P, and it have been mishandled for years but still cuts whatever i introduce it to.
     
  14. Validus

    Validus New Member

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    Couldn't agree more. As much as I love getting a brand new tool, sometimes the older guys are just flat out more dependable, powerful, etc. I have abused a dewalt 18v drill for years and imagine I will continue to for more to come. Oh and the Milwaukee sawzall I use for rough carpentry is possibly as old as I am.
     
  15. DeadP1xels

    DeadP1xels Music Enthusiast

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    Maybe i'll give it a go besides it never cost me anything so if i screw it up im not bothered would be nice to put it to good use though :thumb:
     
  16. Sleepstreamer

    Sleepstreamer I modded christmas!

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    These are the ones I'm using aswell, works great up to 20mm after that it gets a bit choppy.
     
  17. johnnyboy700

    johnnyboy700 Active Member

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    Metal cutting with a jigsaw checklist:-

    Make sure you use a cutting lubricant, use a proper one (not water) although if you are stuck WD40 will work but you must have good ventilation as vapourised WD40 (due to the heat friction of the blade) is very bad for you with prolonged exposure. Another alternative is paraffin(kerosene for our colonial cousins), it won't ignite as the flash point is higher than the friction heat you will generate.

    Clamp the material you are cutting firmly, if you don't and the blade jams on you it will either pull the workpiece up or the jigsaw out of your hands.

    Wear eye protection, you only have one set of eyes and there will be cuttings flying about when you do this. It might be wise to also wear ear protetcion as the sound or tortured metal being sliced by a jigsaw is quite appaling - if not for you then consider others nearby.

    Allow the blade to cut, don't try to force the blade through the material, you'll just end up ploughing it instead of cutting and you will probably break the blade.

    Make sure you mark your cutting line clearly and you can actually see it whlist you are cutting, there is nothing more frustrating than having to cut blind because of poor lighting, non-visible cutting reference or cuttings obscuring the marked line.

    If you can, try a few practice cuts on some scrap material before you go for the final cut, it will give you a feel for how the jigsaw handles the material, what the vibtaion /noise is like and how well the cutting is going.

    If you do have you change blades mid cut, remember the blade you've just been using will be very hot.

    Good luck and don't rush it.
     
    Last edited: 3 Feb 2010
  18. DeadP1xels

    DeadP1xels Music Enthusiast

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    Awesome thanks :thumb:

    Yeh im about due for getting some more blades i think most of my metal cutting blades are dead
     

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