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Cutting Aluminum on a Bandsaw

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Forum topic by Redoak49 posted 09-16-2020 10:12 PM 1242 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Redoak49

5421 posts in 3277 days


09-16-2020 10:12 PM

I have a Rikon 14” Bandsaw and would like to make some cuts on 1 /4” thick aluminum.

Does someone have a recommendation for a blade brand, width and tpi?


15 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

3022 posts in 1451 days


#1 posted 09-16-2020 10:24 PM

how many cuts will you be making of this type ?
will you be cutting shapes and designs out of plate
or just straight cuts of angle stock.
will you be slowing the speed of the saw ?
I have been using Lenox blades from BandSawBladesDirect
and have been very satisfied.

I have a vintage 14” Delta and this is how I reduced the speed for cutting metal.

.

-- I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things. --

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8761 posts in 4087 days


#2 posted 09-16-2020 10:37 PM

If you’re just making a few cuts, your wood blade will be fine. A little bees wax will help keep the aluminium from sticking to the teeth.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

6048 posts in 2511 days


#3 posted 09-17-2020 04:32 PM

I’ve cut plenty of 1/4 6061-T6 plate on my bandsaw, I just use a fine tooth blade.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

10522 posts in 3698 days


#4 posted 09-17-2020 04:52 PM



how many cuts will you be making of this type ?
will you be cutting shapes and designs out of plate
or just straight cuts of angle stock.
will you be slowing the speed of the saw ?
I have been using Lenox blades from BandSawBladesDirect
and have been very satisfied.

I have a vintage 14” Delta and this is how I reduced the speed for cutting metal.

.

- John Smith

Nice adaptation.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1560 posts in 4050 days


#5 posted 09-17-2020 05:08 PM

Shipwright is right. For the occasional cutting of aluminum, a wood cutting blade on a bandsaw works fine. Done it myself a few times. No need to slow the speed. Just be sure you use a blade that will have two teeth in the work at all times. Otherwise you take a chance of stripping some teeth from the blade when the work jams between the teeth.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View 987Ron's profile

987Ron

2461 posts in 605 days


#6 posted 09-17-2020 05:14 PM



Shipwright is right. For the occasional cutting of aluminum, a wood cutting blade on a bandsaw works fine. Done it myself a few times. No need to slow the speed. Just be sure you use a blade that will have two teeth in the work at all times. Otherwise you take a chance of stripping some teeth from the blade when the work jams between the teeth.

- Planeman40


Have done the same with a 15 yr old Delta 10” a few times. Have cut brass also no problems.

-- Ron

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

2057 posts in 3605 days


#7 posted 09-17-2020 05:14 PM

I cut aluminum with whatever blades are on hand (usually 3tpi high carbon blades). Shipwright mentioned wax. That wax is a necessity if cutting for more than a few seconds. Once the teeth gum up with shavings, the blade will overheat and be ruined.

-- See my work at http://altaredesign.com

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

3346 posts in 1892 days


#8 posted 09-17-2020 05:52 PM

I guess I’m lazy cuz I’m not changing blades to cut the occasional piece of aluminum. Table saw or chop saws work fine for straight cuts depending on the size of the piece. Other than my 3/4” Resaw King blade I use whatever blade is on my saw at the time. Nobody has called the blade police on me yet.

That being said, I just spent $20 on a used Harbor Freight band saw that is the perfect tool for cutting metal but not good for cutting curves etc. Should have bought one years ago although I did watch an Adam Savage video where he turned one of them into a stationary verticle bandsaw. Gotta make one of those.


-- Andy - Seattle USA

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

9254 posts in 1863 days


#9 posted 09-18-2020 04:09 AM

Just throwing this into the soup. A friend was using an older Delta 14” to saw up some Aluminum, and Brass occasionally. He has a 20” MM he uses for most of his resaw, and keeps the Delta for curves, mostly wood. His does not have the step down motor.

At some point he had changed his tires out from the original rubber to the newer Latexy stuff like Carter sells. He never gave the cuttings from the metal any thought, until he heard strange noises from the saw, and found his top tire was torn to threads by the metal shavings. He still uses it for some metal now and then, but he is crazy about cleaning out all the shavings real quick after he’s done.

-- Think safe, be safe

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

10522 posts in 3698 days


#10 posted 09-18-2020 04:31 AM



I guess I m lazy cuz I m not changing blades to cut the occasional piece of aluminum. Table saw or chop saws work fine for straight cuts depending on the size of the piece. Other than my 3/4” Resaw King blade I use whatever blade is on my saw at the time. Nobody has called the blade police on me yet.

That being said, I just spent $20 on a used Harbor Freight band saw that is the perfect tool for cutting metal but not good for cutting curves etc. Should have bought one years ago although I did watch an Adam Savage video where he turned one of them into a stationary verticle bandsaw. Gotta make one of those.


- Andybb

I just got the WEN version and really like it. $100 new from the borg. Was a gift but I ain’t complaining. I do plan on making the adapter plate so it can be used vertically when needed.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

3346 posts in 1892 days


#11 posted 09-18-2020 02:17 PM



Just throwing this into the soup. A friend was using an older Delta 14” to saw up some Aluminum, and Brass occasionally. He has a 20” MM he uses for most of his resaw, and keeps the Delta for curves, mostly wood. His does not have the step down motor.

At some point he had changed his tires out from the original rubber to the newer Latexy stuff like Carter sells. He never gave the cuttings from the metal any thought, until he heard strange noises from the saw, and found his top tire was torn to threads by the metal shavings. He still uses it for some metal now and then, but he is crazy about cleaning out all the shavings real quick after he s done.

- therealSteveN


Good point and good idea.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

3022 posts in 1451 days


#12 posted 09-18-2020 02:43 PM

oh, I forgot:
like Steve said, after cutting metal on a wood designated bandsaw,
you need to clean the tires before going back to wood.
and assortment of small wire brushes will do the job.

.

-- I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things. --

View theart's profile

theart

233 posts in 1843 days


#13 posted 09-18-2020 04:43 PM


Shipwright is right. For the occasional cutting of aluminum, a wood cutting blade on a bandsaw works fine. Done it myself a few times. No need to slow the speed. Just be sure you use a blade that will have two teeth in the work at all times. Otherwise you take a chance of stripping some teeth from the blade when the work jams between the teeth.

- Planeman40

A trick for thinner metal stock is to put it on top of a scrap of plywood and feed both through together.

View Warren's profile

Warren

29 posts in 1676 days


#14 posted 09-19-2020 04:20 PM

Try using a blade with ~ 18 tpi X 1/2” wide for 1/4” thick Al.

I used to buy my blades from Acme tool, but they stoped carrying what I needed, so now buy from https://bladeserpent.com/

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2905 posts in 4211 days


#15 posted 09-19-2020 08:41 PM

I enjoyed the video by Adam Savage. Two thoughts: I laughed out loud when as he tried to operate the saw the screen went to black. Ha ha ha . That was funny. The other thought: Why make the table of aluminum? I would have made it of plywood or MDF with a Masonite insert. A lot simpler. Long video.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

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