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Old 07-17-2018, 06:58 AM   #1
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Spiral saw, Roto Zip, Dremel

Has anyone used a spiral saw, Roto Zip or Dremel tool to cut sheet aluminum?
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Old 07-17-2018, 07:08 AM   #2
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Have not used those tools except the Dremel. Tried it with spiral cut bit and it did not work well. I have used aviation metal snips, which are OK for short cuts. Air shear, OK for long cuts but loud.My favorite is a cut off wheel blade made for aluminum ( that is important) in my 4 inch angle grinder. Mark your lines and take it slow and you can get a very straight cut even across a 4 ft wide sheet.
Well my actual favorite is the huge shear at my buddies sheet metal shop- so easy.
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Old 07-17-2018, 07:19 AM   #3
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I have used a roto-zip for home improvement. It is haerd to control freehand for fine work. It goes through drywall like a hot knife in butter.

Mike
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Old 07-17-2018, 07:44 AM   #4
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I used the fiber cut off wheel in my Dremel, but they break easily. I was cutting Aluminum.
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 TWind View Post
Have not used those tools except the Dremel. Tried it with spiral cut bit and it did not work well. I have used aviation metal snips, which are OK for short cuts. Air shear, OK for long cuts but loud.My favorite is a cut off wheel blade made for aluminum ( that is important) in my 4 inch angle grinder. Mark your lines and take it slow and you can get a very straight cut even across a 4 ft wide sheet.
Well my actual favorite is the huge shear at my buddies sheet metal shop- so easy.
Most cuts will be short irregular curves.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:40 AM   #6
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I have used a roto-zip for home improvement. It is haerd to control freehand for fine work. It goes through drywall like a hot knife in butter.

Mike
Yes, they are VERY hard to control, but there is a way to do it.

I had to roto-zip a square opening in the enclosed end of my plywood and laminate overhead cabinet in our '07 International for the Solar MPPT controller. I laid out the hole using blue painter's tape to avoid scratching the laminate with the shoe of the tool. I used a wood-cutting spiral bit.

The MAJOR problem I had was seeing the line I was trying to follow through the heavy dust and particle cloud the tool kicked up and threw at me, even with the shop vac hose held close by my son. The tool almost got away from me at least twice, and cut slightly outside the line in a couple corners. Fortunately the MPPT controller faceplate is JUST large enough to cover the goof...

Solution: Since that incident, I obtained the Roto-Zip vacuum attachment and a short vacuum hose that adapted the vacuum attachment to my shop vac. The suction cleared the chips and dust rapidly, and the clear housing makes it possible to actually see where the bit is cutting. Do remember to use both hands guiding the tool freehand and go very slow if you are not following an outlet box like it does best. Regardless of the vacuum accessory getting most of the dust, wear eye protection, light the area well, and expect to get dirty...

Be careful to get the correct vacuum accessory for the EXACT model Roto-Zip that you have. There are several similar looking versions, and it took a second trip to the big box home improvement store to get the right one. It also makes cutting drywall much less messy. Just be sure to set the depth of the bit just deep enough to cut just through what you want to cut, and guide on the outlet box, without going deep enough to hit other stuff behind the surface, like wires, plumbing, or the like...don't ask how I figured this out!
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:42 AM   #7
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I use metal shears from harbor freight and tin snips.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:32 AM   #8
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I have tried a pneumatic reciprocating saw, pneumatic shears, electric shears, rotary bits, and a two-way (bi-directional) circular saw.


After trying all those, my go to method is a 4 inch cut off wheel. it's pretty amazing what you can do (curved or straight) with a little practice.
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Old 07-17-2018, 12:13 PM   #9
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Here's my go-to weapon of choice:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000AQK7C...v_ov_lig_dp_it

That's for rough cuts, and a set of aviation tin snips for the finer stuff, and needle files for the sophisticated refining and smoothing...
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Old 07-17-2018, 12:42 PM   #10
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Here's my go-to weapon of choice
I have Harbor Freight Electric Shears. Now I know about the HF rep, and have had my share of junk, but I have had this for about 5 years and it works well. Keep in mind I only use it every now and then. It is about the same size as the rmkrum gizmo with a drill and about the same cost.
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Old 07-17-2018, 01:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
Yes, they are VERY hard to control, but there is a way to do it.

I had to roto-zip a square opening in the enclosed end of my plywood and laminate overhead cabinet in our '07 International for the Solar MPPT controller. I laid out the hole using blue painter's tape to avoid scratching the laminate with the shoe of the tool. I used a wood-cutting spiral bit.

The MAJOR problem I had was seeing the line I was trying to follow through the heavy dust and particle cloud the tool kicked up and threw at me, even with the shop vac hose held close by my son. The tool almost got away from me at least twice, and cut slightly outside the line in a couple corners. Fortunately the MPPT controller faceplate is JUST large enough to cover the goof...

Solution: Since that incident, I obtained the Roto-Zip vacuum attachment and a short vacuum hose that adapted the vacuum attachment to my shop vac. The suction cleared the chips and dust rapidly, and the clear housing makes it possible to actually see where the bit is cutting. Do remember to use both hands guiding the tool freehand and go very slow if you are not following an outlet box like it does best. Regardless of the vacuum accessory getting most of the dust, wear eye protection, light the area well, and expect to get dirty...

Be careful to get the correct vacuum accessory for the EXACT model Roto-Zip that you have. There are several similar looking versions, and it took a second trip to the big box home improvement store to get the right one. It also makes cutting drywall much less messy. Just be sure to set the depth of the bit just deep enough to cut just through what you want to cut, and guide on the outlet box, without going deep enough to hit other stuff behind the surface, like wires, plumbing, or the like...don't ask how I figured this out!
My hope is that I will never have to repair anything that needs power tools again in my life. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Mike
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Old 07-17-2018, 02:53 PM   #12
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My hope is that I will never have to repair anything that needs power tools again in my life. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Mike
Mike,

The problem around Casa De Krum is that DW is very creative, and has constantly come up with new projects for the last 47 years. The usual agreement is that if the project needs new power tools not in the current rather large inventory, she will let me buy or upgrade as necessary for the project. I don't quite have Norm Abram's tool collection, but believe me, we're working on it...and all the stuff is in good repair, and appropriately sharp.

I'm a bit of a power tool junkie as a result of this, and DW is one heck of a designer...and mother, and nurse, and partner! The hand tool collection is getting every bit as big as well.
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