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Cutting aluminium sheet on a table saw

Discussion in 'Tools and Materials' started by DIYalot, 14 Dec 2019.

  1. DIYalot

    DIYalot

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    Hi. Searching the internet I see various YouTube posts where cutting of aluminium sheet is demonstrated. So, my understand is that if the execution of arrangments to cut aluminium is satisfactory, cutting aluminium on a table saw made for cutting wood is acceptable.

    What I get from looking at these demonstrations is:

    * Replace the original insert with a zero clearance one.
    * Change the cutting disc with one made for cutting non-ferrous metals.
    * Construct a crosscut sled.
    * Can use a splitter rather than a riving knife.

    I've bought two PARKSIDE PMTS 210 A1 Table saws (1500W and 4800RPM) and intend to convert one to a metal cutting table saw. I intend mostly to cut 3mm thick aluminium sheet. Comments appreciated. Thank you. Rich

    EDIT: The original wood cutting disc has parameters of 210mm 30mm 2.6mm. I'll need to source a suitable non-ferrous curring disc with the first two parameters the same. Any recommendations?
     
    Last edited: 14 Dec 2019
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  3. DIYalot

    DIYalot

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    Of course, if I alter my table saw to cut aluminium sheet it would void the warrenty. I'm not bothered about that. As far as I am personally concerned, cutting 3mm aluminium sheet should be just as safe as cutting wood, if the proper changes and precautions are taken. I'll be doing the modifications required, unless someone can give a reason why it would be unsafe to cut aluminium on a table saw, with a non-ferrous cutting disc, plus the other things mentioned.
     
    Last edited: 14 Dec 2019
  4. Ryler

    Ryler

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    Why not just use a jigsaw?
    I'd never put metal through my table saws modified or not.
     
    Last edited: 14 Dec 2019
  5. DIYalot

    DIYalot

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    All my table saws are made by Scheppach I've got a bigger model than these portable ones that are branded as PARKSIDE (which are made by Scheppach). Why isn't Scheppach making table saws that are meant to cut non-ferrous sheet? Any reason that's based on a principle associated with safety? Thanks.

    P.S. Maybe I should ask Scheppach, see what they say.
     
  6. Ryler

    Ryler

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    Sheet metal is mostly sheared in guillotines.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 15 Dec 2019
  7. Notch7

    Notch7

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    You will need a 5 deg negative rake blade and triple chip tooth design.

    I would avoid rip cuts where aly sheet pushes between rip fence and blade -snatching could be dangerous.
     
  8. DIYalot

    DIYalot

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    Hi. Might not then be a good idea to cut aluminium on a table saw. Probably think of buying a regular circular saw with disc for non-ferrous metals.
     
  9. Ryler

    Ryler

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    Try this...
    [​IMG]

    Coupled with this....
    [​IMG]
    Which is a dedicated aluminium cutting blade. Aluminium cutting blades can be positive or negative rake.

    Like this positive Type 38 ..... by WALTER GmbH
    [​IMG]
    Or negative like this Type 40....
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 15 Dec 2019
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  11. DIYalot

    DIYalot

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    Yes, I'll get a hand held circular saw and work with that. Thanks, for the information.
     
  12. Notch7

    Notch7

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    I would personally screw the aly sheet to some mdf.

    If you are cutting longish straight runs maybe get a track saw.
     
  13. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Because they don't make anything big enough or powerful enough to handle it? In the aerospace industry I've seen ally sheets for aircraft bodies, etc cut down on industrial panel saws and beam saws. These saws have over size sliding tables and have pneumatic clamps (panel saws) or a large flat work bed with vacuum hold down and a pneumatic clamping beam (beam saws). The saw motors are generally 15 to 25 hp (or just a bit more than a small table saw) because metal cutting requires lower speed (revs) but much higher power than wood cutting saws. Want an idea what these saws look like? Google Atendorf F45 (panel saws) or Schelling (beam saws)

    I've cut ally profile on chop saws - it requires the correct type of blade (negative rake and triple chip grind or TCG tooth form), it takes a fair bit more power than much larger section timber and it tends to push back a lot during the cut, but it is do-able. On a table/bench saw I can see it trying to submarine beneath the fence, possibly damaging any fence with a soft aluminium fence plate (steel fence plate is a different matter), being a pain to feed through because the thin sheet won't work well with a push stick and worst of all I think you'd potentially have big kick back issues on an under powered domestic saw (made worse by the inherent problems in using push sticks). A portable metal cutting saw and (home made?) guide fence would be a lot more sensible
     
    Last edited: 17 Dec 2019
  14. pete50

    pete50

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    I've just bought the Evolution Rage 5S table saw. Bit of a nightmare putting it all together but there are Youtube vids. This will cut mild steel and does come with a TCT multipurpose blade. I have cut 3mm mild steel plate and a fella on Youtube, Ultimate Handyman, cuts 6mm steel plate in his vid. I also have the Evolution sliding mitre saw which also has a TCT blade and that has cut a multitude of square section alluminium and steel pipe over the couple of years that I have had it. The table saw does tend to snatch but, as with cutting wood, don't stand in the firing line. I didn't get any kickback on the table saw although I have had that happen on my older Sheppach table saw. My Sheppach didn't cut metal and that gave up the ghost last friday, just out of guarantee hence the purchase of the Evolution.

    Edited to add. I have cut steel with a jig saw. Again 3mm aka my narrow boat roof when I fitted a flue pipe. That isn't easy and straight cuts can be difficult even with a straight edge as a guide. I haven't tried a track saw on steel as my track saw only does wood but I would think there is a high risk of snatch and or kickback. With the Evolution table saw the work can be clamped down.The waste is a kickback possibility, obviously, but don't stand in the firing line when cutting anything.
     
    Last edited: 16 Dec 2019
  15. DIYalot

    DIYalot

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    I realise actually that it can be possible to cut aluminium sheet on a table saw. But whether I'll try it on my PARKSIDE 210 A1 is a different matter. I've added some more items to my list (on my first post):

    * Replace the original insert with a zero clearance one.
    * Change the cutting disc with one made for cutting non-ferrous metals.
    * Construct a crosscut sled.
    * Can use a splitter rather than a riving knife.
    * Ensure the work is put against a fence normal to the blade and not parallel with it (Thus the crossccut sled)
    * Ensure the table saw motor has sufficient power.
    * Ensure the blade speed is correct.
    * Ensure the metal chips do not fall into the box containing the blade holding mechanism.

    Maybe there are other points.

    I suspect my PARKSIDE 210 A1 at 1500W & 4800 RPM will be underpowered for 3mm aluminium, but I may try it. My Sheppach HS105 at 2000W & 4500 RPM might fare better if I can be bother to modify. The only thing I aim to cut is aluminium sheet up to 3mm thick. I think the key to the Evolution multi cutting table saw might be a gearbox to lower the speed but increase the torque..
     
    Last edited: 17 Dec 2019
  16. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Beware of kickback! Use some form of push block which keeps your hands at least 400mm away from the blade

    Why a splitter over a riving knife? In point of fact you need one or the other when working timber because stresses in some timbers can cause the timber to close at the back of the blade (causing a pinch and thus a possible kickback) - aluminium sheet, on the other hand, is relatively stress free and won't attempt to pinch the back of the saw blade, so probably won't benefit from having either on a saw. More important to have a crown guard over the blade at all times, I'd say

    Consider using some form of lubricant on both the blade and the table top (e.g Trendiwax) to reduce friction

    If you cut tough stuff like ally with an underpowered saw you'll find that the motor gets very hot very quickly
     
    Last edited: 20 Dec 2019
  17. DIYalot

    DIYalot

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    Yes, lubricate the work as well. Also, you could design the crosscut sled so that the work is held down by the sled design & not held with fingers.
     
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