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Old 03-06-2012, 10:10 PM   #1
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Tool to cut a patch?

Hi to the almightily forum.
I'm nearly finished on the "lower bits" of my lady, and wondering what tool people like to use to cut aluminum patches. I have only cut sheet steel which can bend it odd ways with tin snip cuts...should I use a band saw?
Thanks!

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f421...ml#post1116349
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:31 PM   #2
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Aviation snips work pretty well. Leave a little extra and file edges to final profile, drawing the file towards you at right angles to the edge. Hold the patch in the vice with soft (wood or cloth) padding over smooth jaws. Alternatively, you can use a good jigsaw w/ a very fine blade... again, file to finish profile for best results. You can also belt sand the edges, but you'll want to de-burr with a file. Keep in mind that any steel surface will scratch the aluminum; I use tape on the bottom of the jigsaw to prevent this if I use one. Inadvertent scratches can be removed with 200->400->600 wet-dry paper used wet; I've not done this to al-clad, only single alloy sheets so I don't know how much material is removed. Bandsaws work too, but use a fine tooth blade.

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Old 03-06-2012, 11:37 PM   #3
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You F-in rock barts. thanks...
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:41 AM   #4
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If the patch is to be square you can use a non ferrous metals blade in a table saw.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:01 AM   #5
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I use my bandsaw all the time for patches, etc. Then I square them up (if needed) on a beltsander. I really stink at the snips! Like Frank said about the tablesaw too. I just have easier access to my bandsaw.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric H View Post
Hi to the almightily forum.
I'm nearly finished on the "lower bits" of my lady, and wondering what tool people like to use to cut aluminum patches. I have only cut sheet steel which can bend it odd ways with tin snip cuts...should I use a band saw?
Thanks!

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f421...ml#post1116349
This may not be possible/practical for everyone, but it worked for me. I've got a friend with a machine shop nearby that has a computer- controlled plasma cutter. He placed a sheet of thin Al plate on the machine's cutting table, dialed in the dimensions of the square piece and in a few seconds the machine cut it out to the exact shape/dimensions I needed. The edges were surprisingly smooth and would be fine for most applications with a light sanding with wet paper. He didn't charge me anything, but, this service may not be available to everyone.
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