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Cutting aluminum tubing with a carbide bandsaw blade?

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Forum topic by Toller posted 05-23-2019 02:17 AM 422 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Toller

16 posts in 1989 days


05-23-2019 02:17 AM

I need to cut some 5/8” diameter reasonably thin walled aluminum tubing. Is it safe to do this with a bandsaw that has a carbide blade in it?

I am putting an aluminum tube over a bolt and a plastic tube over the aluminum tube. I cut the plastic on the bandsaw and have the fence set up perfectly. I canuse a hacksaw, but it would be so much easier to use the bandsaw.

OTOH, I really really don’t want to lose any teeth. I did once cutting aluminum with a circular saw, but that was rather heavier.


7 replies so far

View CarlosInTheSticks's profile

CarlosInTheSticks

286 posts in 761 days


#1 posted 05-23-2019 02:37 AM

A regular bi-metal blade works better with aluminum than carbide. Preferably you would slow down your band saw, but for thin tubing you can getaway with out it. Choose the blade with the most teeth per inch you have. Low tooth count will grab the tube and bend or otherwise damage it, as well as pull it out of your hands and possibly hurt you. If you have a miter gauge for your band saw slot, clamp it to the miter gauge and feed slowly.

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HokieKen

9527 posts in 1528 days


#2 posted 05-23-2019 02:03 PM

For thin walled tubing, it’ll be fine. Carlos is correct that normally you would use a blade for non-ferrous and a slower speed but for the occasional cut, I use my regular blades on Aluminum and Brass. I don’t have carbide but it will do fine. Whenever I use my wood BS to cut metal, I like to clean the tires really well afterwards to remove any chips that might get embedded and cause tracking issues later.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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RickKr

18 posts in 161 days


#3 posted 05-23-2019 04:32 PM

Two key things that have been mentioned, but I think bear emphasis. Significantly slower blade speed and carefully controlled slow feed rate. Tubing has a tendency to catch and grab the teeth, jamming the blade and stopping it. I believe this is largely due to too few teeth engaged in the cut. I agree with the recommendations for bi-metal blades and higher tooth count. I also agree with the recommendation for firmly clamping the tubing to a miter gauge or other means of preventing it from rolling or shifting and it allows for better feed rate control. Clamping it in some fort of “V” groove or rectangular slot could be very helpful.

I have a metal cutting bandsaw that I use for such a purpose. It runs a lot slower than a wood cutting bandsaw and has stepped pulleys for varying the speed. It has a feed rate tension adjustment, but even that is not “sensitive” enough. When cutting tubing, I hold the blade assembly with my hand to control the feed rate, always on the ready to lift it if it starts to or does catch and grab. Sort of like having the blade “float” as it cuts.

I also agree with the comment about cleaning the tires afterward to remove the metal filings.

Rick

-- If you want nice clean, fresh oats, you must pay a fair price. However, if you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse, that comes at a lower price.

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Toller

16 posts in 1989 days


#4 posted 05-23-2019 04:33 PM

In view of everything, I decided to use a hacksaw and file to exact size.

If I had 100 to do… but there are only 2.

Appreciate the help.

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

724 posts in 1365 days


#5 posted 05-23-2019 11:03 PM

Your other options are a sawzall or a grinder.

View SMP's profile

SMP

1042 posts in 295 days


#6 posted 05-23-2019 11:04 PM

Personally I use a tubing cutter, because I normally want to keep the shape. Sawing tends to warp the cut end, you eaither crush it or oval it etc.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

2826 posts in 963 days


#7 posted 05-24-2019 04:55 AM



Personally I use a tubing cutter, because I normally want to keep the shape. Sawing tends to warp the cut end, you eaither crush it or oval it etc.

- SMP

^^^^
THIS

Tubing cutter, grinder, dremel with small blade, hacksaw. Of the lot the tubing cutter is the best option, so easy, nice round lop, lop lop they fall to the ground with a few spins

Cut quality. Scarring, and having a bunch of metal in your bandsaws tire. ???? Does your BS have a slow speed setting. A traditional woodworking saw is too fast. No guarantee about the teeth, if you called the maker they would certainly say NO though.

Just too many ways to cut metal, to chance injury to the blade, or saw.

-- Think safe, be safe

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