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Thread: a hacksaw for aluminum cutting

  1. #1
    Senior Member TRYPHON974's Avatar
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    a hacksaw for aluminum cutting

    Aluminum cutting can be tricky, it makes a mess with the angle grinder (even with the proper discs), and sticks to the regular hacksaw blades. The new kind of grinder with the two discs could be an option (fury twin blade or equivalent). I tested another one: mounting a bandsaw blade (for cutting metal) on a hacksaw frame. The bandsaw blade has less teeth per inch and bigger teeth so I figured the aluminum would be less prone to stick, and it works like a charm. You can see that the blade has some worn teeth but it was free so I can't complain about it



    It cuts much better with a bit of lubricant, I suspect the bandsaw blades to have a thinner kerf.
    What you see is a part of an aluminum electric bike frame which was damaged beyond repair. I cut the entire frame into bits in no time and it will be melted.
    Jack of all trades, master of none.
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  2. #2
    I use a circular saw with a carbide toothed blade, the chips are unpleasant but it goes through aluminium like butter. Even thick aluminium like this VW rim is not a problem.

    scrap_rim.jpg

  3. #3
    Senior Member TRYPHON974's Avatar
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    The pic speaks for itself, the rim lost the fight. I 'll try the circular saw with the carbide toothed blade.
    Jack of all trades, master of none.
    http://fournaisedupiton.blogspot.com/

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    Senior Member chubbyjp77's Avatar
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    A little wax or light oil goes a long way in helping to increase blade like and reduce blade fouling. If your breaking down scrap a coarser blade works well. I your working on something that the finish matters on go with a finer blade and cut slower. I recommend a face sheild when cutting tempered aluminum because like stated above the saw chips are brutal.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by chubbyjp77 View Post
    I recommend a face sheild when cutting tempered aluminum because like stated above the saw chips are brutal.
    I guess "unpleasant" was a bit of understatement, brutal is a more appropriate word.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Robert's Avatar
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    Rocco- I assume you have a hand held saw and clamp the wheel down? Have you had any issues with kickback? Do you have a blade specific for aluminum? I am afraid to try this.
    R
    "Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
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  7. #7
    Rocco, I am amazed you can walk with balls like that. I did it once and it was scary. The chips, the "grabbyness" of it was just too much.
    But do not ask the price I paid, I must live with my quiet rage,
    Tame the ghosts in my head, That run wild and wish me dead.
    Should you shake my ash to the wind Lord, forget all of my sins
    Oh, let me die where I lie, Neath the curse of my lover's eyes.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert View Post
    Rocco- I assume you have a hand held saw and clamp the wheel down? Have you had any issues with kickback? Do you have a blade specific for aluminum? I am afraid to try this.
    R
    The rim was done on a table saw but I have done heavy section aluminium with a hand held saw, you need to take your time and let the saw do the work, if you try to hurry it, you get kickback. Nothing special about the blade, same type you'd use for woodworking.

    Quote Originally Posted by poetwarrior View Post
    Rocco, I am amazed you can walk with balls like that.
    It gets a little uncomfortable sometimes

  9. #9
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    Even with a shop full of power tools sometimes a hacksaw is the right tool for the job. I just started fiddling with aluminum in the past few years when I started casting and I've spent a good deal of time with hacksaws and files during that time. With hacksaws I've found that their performance is in direct proportion to their quality. And as Chubby alluded to, coarser will get you home faster, especially with lube, but finer does a cleaner job. I think my blades are 18 and 24 tpi. I find it rather tedious either way.
    I will try the recycled bandsaw blade but I don't have a junk one right now. (Hopefully I won't for awhile lol). Tryphon- any trouble drilling the attachment pin holes in that blade? It seems like it would be awfully hard.
    Files are another story. The type of aluminum alloy really comes into play there. I like to make a couple of strokes with soapstone over the teeth before I start but no matter what I do the teeth will always load up. Better alloy helps, but a file card and sharp scribe are always at hand. A file can provide a beautiful surface but its terribly frustrating to take that last stroke and mar the finish with a loaded tooth. Reading and learning how to properly use and care for my files has benefitted me and my files!
    Once again, a great use of your resources Tryphon!

    Pete

  10. #10
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    I once had to cut down some long lengths of "H" profile aluminum to make one side narrower. It was only a couple of MM thick I guess. I was at a loss how to do it and a friend with an engineering background said just use a router. I questioned it but he assured me it would be OK and lent me his Router and a bit.

    It cut the ally perfectly but MOTHER OF GOD! Was it Loud!!! I had my shooting earmuffs on and it went straight through them. I have made some noise in my time but this was still the greatest racket ever.
    I got my 15Ft lengths of trackrail cut down in no time to perfect size and the Bit on the router wasn't even Dull.

    It worked brilliantly but that noise I'll never forget as long as I live.

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