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Hi,
I suppose cutting aluminum is best on the sable saw, but is there a way of making cuts on the router table? That question is for my information for another day. Right now I’m interested in just trimming 1/4” aluminum sheet to size. I bought aluminum sheet from Midwest Aluminum and Steel and the tolerance quoted is -0” to +1/8”. The company does a little better than that. Some dimensions are right on. Other dimensions are 1/32” proud, one is 3/64” proud, and some are 1/16” proud. I don’t wand any surprises so I’d like to know how the router table will cut. First I have new and sharp straight bits to work with. I was thinking to setup the fence like a jointer by fixing second fence and put a rule along that fence but extending a few inches over the first fence. Then I’d stick a feeler gauge between the rule and the first fence to offset the fence by the amount I want to cut off. Then I’d tighten it. I have a screw adjustment for the fence assembly and I can move the complete fence in to expose the bit the amount I want to cut off. I had the idea of taking my multimeter set to resistance measurement and clip one end to the rule and the other to the router bit. Then I can set the rule along the second fence and over the bit. Then using the fine adjustment of the fence assembly, slide them back exposing the bit gradually until I see zero ohms. Then the bit is right in line with the second fence. I realize I must rotate the bit so that a cutting edge faces out. Also, by first and second fences, I mean going right to left. I have a question. If I set this up to cut say 1/16” exactly, will it cut 1/16” exactly or do I have to compensate for something? I was thinking of running the table at full speed for this. I have a nice 3.25hp PC motor in my table and the table is the top-of-the-line Woodpecker. It seems well made to me. I am soliciting advice. Can somebody help me. Thank you in advance. Sincerely, Chris Redding.
 

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welcome N/A..
bit speed and rake of the cutter would be an issue...
the TS is your safest best bet w/ the right blade... (-5°TCG 60/T)
 

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Rick
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1/4” is thicker than anything I’ve tried . I don’t know the gauge, but I router checker plate aluminum with no issues. Well other than prematurely wearing the bit out .

If I had to router 1/4” , I’d cut it with a jig saw first as close to the line as I could get , and clamp a guide and use a router to finish .
It would be messy, but I’ve heard of guys having someone spray wd40 as they’re cutting
 

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Aluminum is a bit tricky. The first thing to know is what alloy. Some cut quite well while other are terrible. 2000 and 6000 series can be easily milled, 3000 and 5000 series not so much and will need a fair amount of clean up. I've mostly done 6000 (6061), with good results. Cutting 3000 series even with a super shallow DOC was an exercise in frustration - a very poor quality cut. The router seemed to push the metal around more than cut it. I was trying to mill a 40 mil sheet for bending into a complex shape.

Given that you are trying to shave a tiny bit off it might go ok but I would be tempted to try grinding. Mark your edge and grind to that. If you do use the router, slow it down to the slowest speed you have. Definitely use a lubricant - wd40 is fine but even mineral oil is usable in a pinch.
 

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Welcome to the forum, Chris! Add your first name to your profile to clear the N/a in the side panel. Add your location, as well.

Photos always help in getting good advice and we do like photos so show us your shop, tools, projects, etc. whenever you're ready.

David

PS - a carriage return or two will make your posts easier to read
 

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All I can tell you to slow the router down . At high speeds you will get build up on the bit that seems welded to it. Best bet is the band saw on slow speed or table saw if you can slow it down. If the piece is big enough a straight edge clamped on and a skill saw work as well
 

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Rick
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All I can tell you to slow the router down . At high speeds you will get build up on the bit that seems welded to it. Best bet is the band saw on slow speed or table saw if you can slow it down. If the piece is big enough a straight edge clamped on and a skill saw work as well
I used a panel blade in my table saw mounted backwards . But as I mentioned I was cutting thinner material.
A table saws not going to work to well if things are out of square though, so a Panel blade in a track saw or skill saw may be a good alternative
 

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Hi,
This is what I’ve learned so far. The aluminum is 6061, which is desirable. WD40 is good. Slow speed and feed. I should check bit after each cut and replace or sharpen bad bits. Carbide is desirable. I looked at the following page:

//daycounter.com/Calculators/GCode/Feed-Rate-Calculator.

You need to put “https:” in front.

I think I need to use the lowest speed on my router table (10,000rpm) with a mini bit, 1/8” and the feed is a maximum of 34 in/min provided I have 2 flutes and 17 in/min if one flute. I have a 1/8” into 1/4” adapter. I think it important to do the math regarding feed. For example, one cut is 35”. That will take one or two minutes depending on the flutes. I can use the chronograph on my watch to check my progress and maybe take a sharpie and divide the edge into 6 or 12 parts and keep up with the feed and for each 10 second interval, I’ll cut to another sharpie mark. Finally, I think I’ll try a downward feather board and focus on inward force against the fence and move right to left at a slow and uniform rate. And pray. Chris.
 

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In the shops I have seen aluminum cut on a router table. but like was pointed out the softer the aluminum the harder to cut. All of the glaziers who install the aluminum for the store fronts and window walls on the highrise buildings use Johnson stick wax on the chop saws for lube. In the shops on the routers they use an oil emulsion of some sort of oil and water to cool the routerbit. Their machines are built for that with recycling oil bath sumps, I wouldn't use that at home on a woodworking router table. Cutting Aluminum is so messy I would not do it in my shop, unless on the tablesaw to keep the mess contained as much as possible.
Herb
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi,
I apologise for my little rant at the end of my last post. I was having a little technical problem and got a little pissed. Anyway I'd like to say that I don't have a tablesaw yet. I was thinking that if I bought one thing, it should be the most versatile piece of equipment and that would be freehand routers and a router table. I have recently purchased a radial drill press and a scroll saw. Band saw, table saw, jointer, planer, and lathe are on a to buy list. Chris.
 

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The hoops you are going through are meant to protect you and our other members from spammers and hackers. The forum got hacked a few years ago although I'm not sure how valuable the info was that they got but our parent company Verticalscope https://www.verticalscope.com/ which is based here in Toronto, Canada decided that they should protect themselves and us by requiring a more aggressive password protocol. Probably mostly for their protection than ours. The 10 post criteria for adding links has been here since the forum began and it's to protect the forum from spammers. It doesn't work totally as we get some that post something like "nice job" 10 times and then post their ads. But it does give us Mods a little more time to catch them and get rid of them. I eliminated one just seconds before I answered this thread. Apparently you told moderator David Falkner that your free speech was being violated by these rules and you were thinking of suing. If you want to pursue that then take it up with Verticalscope and their legal department but you might find that more difficult than you first imagined as they are in Canada and you are in the U.S. Plus we had rules you agreed to before you posted.
 

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When I worked at Keyport Torpedo Station, the metal shop (which should have been called the aluminum shop) had Unisaw dedicated to cutting sheets of aluminum. Accordingly, I have used mine to do the same. Most of that has been 3/8" cut down to 3/4" wide for jigs for the bandsaws, table saw, or sander.

Initially, I used my 60 tooth ten inch carbides and they did a nice job. I tried to stay with blades that had minimal set (just seemed like a good idea). For no specific reason, other than to lessen the wear on my good blades, I bought a 7-1/4" blade purposed for cutting aluminum.

Needless to say, cutting aluminum is noisy. Too, it throws hot aluminum at you. Obviously, not wearing eye protection will proved to you why it needed to be worn.

I have a handheld toy called a Twin Cutter. It has two blades side by side and a fraction of an inch apart. One blade turns in one direction and the other in the opposite direction. It eats metal and aluminum like a minter through bass wood.

The Twin Cutter came with round sticks I have, long since, learned are paraffin wax, like the stuff used for canning. Without them, the cutter would be destroyed in minutes, as the aluminum built up between the blades. The same problem doesn't exist when cutting iron.

Using this knowledge, I started drawing a wax line where the blade would cut. After doing so, I IMMEDIATELY noticed the cuts were quieter, and the metal kicked off the cuts didn't sting as much.

Clearly, carbide blades work well cutting aluminum. The design of the teeth plays a big roll in the ease of use and the safety. I would never run a carbide blade backwards in metal anymore than I would in wood. It seems a good way to knock teeth off (I was around a mill and saw what happens when a blade launches teeth -if the fellow hadn't been holding a block of cedar it would have been like got hit by the equivalent of a 22 cal automatic).

SIDE NOTE: My metal cut off saw has carbide teeth too and it does grate cutting thick aluminum, but I do not the aluminum loads a little, so wax would be useful there too.

If you do tackle aluminum on a router, wax the daylights out of it. That would help. A table saw would help more. If you don't have one, there is no reason a circular saw with a fine blade wouldn't get the job done.
 

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When I worked at Keyport Torpedo Station, the metal shop (which should have been called the aluminum shop) had Unisaw dedicated to cutting sheets of aluminum. Accordingly, I have used mine to do the same. Most of that has been 3/8" cut down to 3/4" wide for jigs for the bandsaws, table saw, or sander.

Initially, I used my 60 tooth ten inch carbides and they did a nice job. I tried to stay with blades that had minimal set (just seemed like a good idea). For no specific reason, other than to lessen the wear on my good blades, I bought a 7-1/4" blade purposed for cutting aluminum.

Needless to say, cutting aluminum is noisy. Too, it throws hot aluminum at you. Obviously, not wearing eye protection will proved to you why it needed to be worn.

I have a handheld toy called a Twin Cutter. It has two blades side by side and a fraction of an inch apart. One blade turns in one direction and the other in the opposite direction. It eats metal and aluminum like a minter through bass wood.

The Twin Cutter came with round sticks I have, long since, learned are paraffin wax, like the stuff used for canning. Without them, the cutter would be destroyed in minutes, as the aluminum built up between the blades. The same problem doesn't exist when cutting iron.

Using this knowledge, I started drawing a wax line where the blade would cut. After doing so, I IMMEDIATELY noticed the cuts were quieter, and the metal kicked off the cuts didn't sting as much.

Clearly, carbide blades work well cutting aluminum. The design of the teeth plays a big roll in the ease of use and the safety. I would never run a carbide blade backwards in metal anymore than I would in wood. It seems a good way to knock teeth off (I was around a mill and saw what happens when a blade launches teeth -if the fellow hadn't been holding a block of cedar it would have been like got hit by the equivalent of a 22 cal automatic).

SIDE NOTE: My metal cut off saw has carbide teeth too and it does grate cutting thick aluminum, but I do not the aluminum loads a little, so wax would be useful there too.

If you do tackle aluminum on a router, wax the daylights out of it. That would help. A table saw would help more. If you don't have one, there is no reason a circular saw with a fine blade wouldn't get the job done.

I agree with Kelly, I too have a metal cutting saw with counter rotating blades, they don't grab or kick back. I wish it had a table on it, I have been thinking of mounting it to a old chop saw frame, or in a box like a table saw.
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=counter+rotating+blade+saw&i=tools&ref=nb_sb_noss

https://www.harborfreight.com/5-in-75-amp-heavy-duty-double-cut-saw-63408.html $20. cheaper here . Scroll down and watch the video

Good ole Keyport,brings back fond memories.
Herb
 

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Initially, I used my 60 tooth ten inch carbides and they did a nice job. I tried to stay with blades that had minimal set (just seemed like a good idea). For no specific reason, other than to lessen the wear on my good blades, I bought a 7-1/4" blade purposed for cutting aluminum.
Any particular style of blade work better Kelly? More teeth, fewer teeth, more hook on the teeth or less hook?
 

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I have one of these blades https://www.amazon.com/Diablo-D0756N-Cutting-Saw-Blade/dp/B00008WQ37/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1N637VVL395RU&keywords=diablo+7+1%2F4+in.+x+56-teeth+laminate%2Fnon-ferrous+metal+cutting+blade&qid=1576528563&sprefix=7-1%2F4%22+non+ferrous+metal+cutting+blade%2Caps%2C162&sr=8-1 mounted in one of the old Craftsman Radial Miter Saws and it does a great job of cutting aluminum strips and extrusions. Best to use a relatively slow speed, and sure makes a mess, but it seems to do a much better job than a run-of-the-mill carbide blade.

The attached photo shows the saw (and blade) being used to cut some aluminum extrusion. It's one that I use a lot, so I made a specific sub-table for it, complete with a "tunnel" to enclose the extrusion and a toggle clamp to hole the extrusion safely while I was cutting. I have several similar tables, some for cutting extrusions and another, again with a hold-down, to hold aluminum sheet while I'm cutting it.
 

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When using my 10" blades, I used the 60 tooth. It cut pretty smooth, which was good, since I was cutting bars for guides and, of course, wanted them to fit close with minimal sanding.

I believe less set on the teeth made for a smoother cut too.

Here is a web site for the Frued 7-1/4 inch blade. I didn't figure I needed a ten (more expensive), since I was cutting stuff around 3/8" top 1/2". It talks about optimum blade geometry and triple grind....


https://www.diablotools.com/products/D0756N
 

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cutting aluminum on a table saw will produce hot aluminum chips that will cause severe pain if you don't wear leather gauntlets, and apron, and of course full face protection!. BTDT!..
 

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Don't wear synthetic wooly (micro fiber polymers) clothing while cutting aluminum on table saw unless you want sharp aluminum accents to melt into a permanent fashion accent on your favorite outdoor base layer. Ask me how I know this. Martin's advise to use leather covers are spot on.
 

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Rick
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Don't wear synthetic wooly (micro fiber polymers) clothing while cutting aluminum on table saw unless you want sharp aluminum accents to melt into a permanent fashion accent on your favorite outdoor base layer. Ask me how I know this. Martin's advise to use leather covers are spot on.
A friend of mine was welding and his jean cuffs were not over his boots. A hot piece of metal fell into his boot . You had to see the burn he got , it was major .
 
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