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Old 03-27-2014, 06:50 PM   #15
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The way we do it when installing aluminum trim on houses is put it in the break at the rightplace then score it several times ith a utility knife. Bend it up with the break and then bend it back down by hand, it will usually snap with one bend, especially the soft stuff used on AS. This leaves a very straight edge if the break is in good shape.
Many siding suppliers rent breaks for very little a day, you can easily bend all you need in a few hours. You will have a lot of trouble building one accurate enough for good tight bends.
TomJ
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:03 PM   #16
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I cut my strips at 3" by using a straight edge and a utility knife. I came to this method after rigging up a Northern Tool Nibbler with vacuum hose, this contraption just created a bunch of littlr half moon chips of aluminum everywhere. K.I.S.S.

The utility knife worked well, try it.
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:16 PM   #17
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I have cut thicker aluminum with a table saw before. A carbide blade goes through it like butter. A fine tooth blade is best to reduce kick back. Keeping it from binding is the hard part. You could also do this with a skill saw and a fixture to guide the saw. Practice on smaller sections before you kill a whole sheet. You could also sandwich it between two thicker pieces of wood to hold it flat.

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Old 03-27-2014, 09:44 PM   #18
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A circular or table saw with a metal blade would probably work pretty well.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:43 PM   #19
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I have cut a variety of thickness of alumium, including 3/16" diamond plate, with a worm-drive Skil saw and an inexpensive carbide wood blade. Wear the best hearing protection you have as it is really really loud... and use a face shield to protect you from the chips.

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Old 03-28-2014, 07:03 AM   #20
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The edge you are cutting needs to be well supported or the edge will be ragged and may jam the saw. With thicker stuff this is not a problem.

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Old 03-28-2014, 07:06 AM   #21
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A fine tooth metal blade will load up cutting aluminum. A finish cut carbide blade works well.

Perry

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A circular or table saw with a metal blade would probably work pretty well.
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:46 AM   #22
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I also have a need for cutting my 4x8 sheet of .032 Alclad 2024 T3 for various projects.... I do alot of woodworking and have a nice table saw and thought of cutting everything as if it were wood- for nice clean & straight cuts.

That said, I'm a little scared to try... I have been warned about binding and kickback of aluminum will slice you up pretty good. I've never done it, or seen it done. Because of this, I have not yet tackled these projects.

Are you guys saying you've all successfully ripped long, straight cuts on sheet aluminum on your table saw just as if it were wood with no particular safety issues that scared the #$%* out of you?

This would be great news to know that I could do this with no problem.
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:58 AM   #23
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I also have a need for cutting my 4x8 sheet of .032 Alclad 2024 T3 for various projects.... I do alot of woodworking and have a nice table saw and thought of cutting everything as if it were wood- for nice clean & straight cuts.

That said, I'm a little scared to try... I have been warned about binding and kickback of aluminum will slice you up pretty good. I've never done it, or seen it done. Because of this, I have not yet tackled these projects.

Are you guys saying you've all successfully ripped long, straight cuts on sheet aluminum on your table saw just as if it were wood with no particular safety issues that scared the #$%* out of you?

This would be great news to know that I could do this with no problem.
I've used a table saw (and destroyed one) for cutting aluminum. The intrupted cut is rough on a gear'd saw - I had one fail. Also, the edge is really not a finish cut, although it's straight (depending on the operators skill ) it is a jagged cut and will slice the crap out of unprotected skin. I've never had a saw cut come anywhere close to creating an edge that I would like as a visible item.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:13 AM   #24
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HiHo- how would you cut one that needs a good visible seam?
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:52 AM   #25
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The cuts I have made with a table saw resulted in a pretty clean edge, with a slight burr. I run a file across the edge to take the burr off, and it is just fine. The biggest safety hazard I see is if the sheet gets under your fence and allows you to get crooked and in a bind, you are going to have trouble. If you exercise good table saw safety practices, then cutting aluminum sheet on it is very much like cutting wood. I would count cutting .032" sheet a lot easier than 2" rock maple. If you are getting a ragged edge, then you either have a dull blade, too large of teeth, or need to be using a zero clearance throat plate--or some combination of the three.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:04 PM   #26
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I am a contractor and have a 'woody' background as well... I have read your posts and find them very interesting. I too have seen that you can use carbide-tipped blades to cut aluminum (soft metal). I would make sure to use a feather board to hold down my work piece to make sure it doesn't snag on the blade and then get launched right back at me! As for bass-o-matics's suggestion that he overlap pieces, I can only wonder if the overlap would not create some sort of fit or clearance issues once everything is reassembled. I would prefer to have these pieces welded, even that meant finding someone to do the work. Welding will always be stronger than riveting pieces together. I would love to hear back and see how these suggestions worked for you.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:34 PM   #27
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HiHo- how would you cut one that needs a good visible seam?
The best bit of learned expertise...how to plan and use the sheets original edges as visible! Reskinning the belly, interior and even outer skins I only have a couple of visible cut edges.

On those, I use a hand held pneumatic shear with lots of WD40 on the cutting edges and I make a pass +-1/4" away from my finish dimension. The I use smooth toothed tin snips to make the final trim. The final step is a coarse file for a final pass. Making a smooth cut with tin snips does take a bit of practice and the first mistake some folks make is to cut all of the way to the end of the snip. This will make a divit every time. By using 1/2 to 3/4 of the snips cutting length you avoid the divot.

If I need a BUNCH of small strips, all the same size that will have visible edges (think window frames), I haul my aluminum over to a sheet metal shop that has a nice new 12' shear. For $1.00 a cut I can get it chopped in no time flat and it has perfect edges.
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:27 PM   #28
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A metal cutting blade can be used in any circular saw,

There are a few varieties, a diamond impregnated blade will work well, as will a fibre (cut off style ) blade.

These kind of blades don't really have teeth, so long as you keep it straight and don't push too fast, it won't bind.
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