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Posted by on Jan 29, 2014 in Woodworking Tips and Tricks | 1 comment

How Do I Cut Aluminum

We often get this question, but the answer depends on what shape you are cutting and what type of saw you will be using.
While you can use a circular saw or table saw the preferred way is with a miter saw.
First you need a way to clamp the material in place. If the blade grabs the material during the cut it can pinch the blade and damage the blade and can also hurt the operator, for this reason you want it clamped in place.
Always wear safety glasses when cutting or grinding any type of metal.

When cutting aluminum, brass or bronze you need a blade specially designed for cutting non ferrous material. These blades have a special grade of carbide for aluminum, a triple chip top grind and a zero or negative hook angle.
Next you will get better results and longer blade life if you use a lubricant. There are many types but a wax stick which is actually more like a special grease, or WD-40 is easy to apply while the blade is spinning.
All of the major blade manufacturers offer non ferrous blades for cutting Aluminum.  The Amana and Freud are a full kerf of .125″ which reduces the trend to flex if you are cutting a lot, while the Tenryu and Diablo offer blades with a thinner kerf which puts less load on the motor and cuts easier, really useful if your saw is under powered.
Lastly pick the correct tooth count for the thickness of what you are cutting. Blade Manufacturing makes a hss blade with 200 teeth for cutting really thin aluminum, say window screen track, but for most material being cut a carbide blade with 8 teeth per diameter inch will do well, 10″x 80 tooth is a good example.
For cutting 1/16 thru 1/8 material use 10 teeth per diameter inch, 10″ x 100 tooth or a 12″ x 120 teeth.
For 1/8 inch thru 1/4 inch material use a blade with 8 teeth per diameter inch, 10″x80 teeth or a 12″ x 96 teeth.
For material thicker than 1/4 inch use a blade with 6 teeth per diameter inch, 10″ x 60 teeth or 12″ x 72 tooth.

Special note:  Can also be used to cut ACM (Aluminum Composite Material) such as (Alucobond®, Dibond®, etc)  Phenolics and other hard plastics.

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you! My husband and I are researching how to cut aluminum sheets and what sort of blade to use, you’ve given us the answer we need plus how and what to use to lubricate the blade. Thanks!

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