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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need to true the edges of a 36" long x 1/2" thick x 1-1/2" wide 6061 Al bar. Before I find a machine shop, or someone that has a mill, can I safely take off no more than .002-.003 using my table saw saw with a non-ferrous blade? One side has a bow the other a cup, If so, what safety precautions do I need to take aside from the normal - full face shield, long sleeves, feather board, push stick, blade guard. Additionally my saw (Grizzly G0833P w/2HP) has anti-kickback pawls and a spreader. If not recommended, then I guess it's off to the machine shop. Thanks for your suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Stick, in reading the pdf file, I have those clamps but would need to screw down the bar to a substrate in order to get the clamp on it and keep it from moving. The bar is only 1-1/2" wide so I don't know if the clamps would be functional in this case. Also, those cutters do not have a bearing on them. Thanks for the assist.
 

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I have cut 1/4" T-6 aluminum on a table saw W/ my 80t X10" blade and also did a finish cut on a piece on the router table. I sure makes a mess of the shop with the aluminum shavings.
With a bowed piece like you you describe, you are going to have to clamp it to a straight edge to hold it while you cut it straight.

Also the type and temper of the aluminum has a whole lot to do with the machine ability. Type SO for example machines very poorly and will melt and weld itself to the cutter. An aircraft grade of t-6 is what I prefer. Some Aluminum requires stick wax or a solution of oil and water emulsified to offer coolant for machining. Band saws have to have metal cutting blades and they tend to plug up

Best do some research and learn about how to cut it, before you do it. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=machining+1/2"+thick+Aluminum&t=hf&atb=v80-5&ia=web

Before you ruin a tool or hurt yourself.

Herb
 

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Stick, in reading the pdf file, I have those clamps but would need to screw down the bar to a substrate in order to get the clamp on it and keep it from moving. The bar is only 1-1/2" wide so I don't know if the clamps would be functional in this case. Also, those cutters do not have a bearing on them. Thanks for the assist.
clamp the aluminum in the guide and use a collet or top bearing carbide trim bit...
 

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Whilst I have the greatest of respect for my friend Stick, and routing is my thing, I would not rout or use the table saw for such a long length of Aluminium, rather, I would use my compound mitre saw where the piece can be securely clamped using the built in clamp and preferably use an Aluminium cutting blade but a standard 80 tooth blade has always worked for me.
 

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I'd price and buy a dead flat, straight edge. A slight slip or glitch will pretty much ruin your shop made effort. Alternatively, I'd go with the machine shop, but I bet it will cost as much or more than a commercially made straightedge.
 

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Whilst I have the greatest of respect for my friend Stick, and routing is my thing, I would not rout or use the table saw for such a long length of Aluminium, rather, I would use my compound mitre saw where the piece can be securely clamped using the built in clamp and preferably use an Aluminium cutting blade but a standard 80 tooth blade has always worked for me.
???...you lost me, Harry. How would you true up a three ft. length on a chop saw or SCMS? My understanding of the OP's question is that he wants the 3' bar to be perfectly straight, not cut into smaller lengths.
 

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I'd price and buy a dead flat, straight edge. A slight slip or glitch will pretty much ruin your shop made effort. Alternatively, I'd go with the machine shop, but I bet it will cost as much or more than a commercially made straightedge.
I agree, for example I bought an $8.00 cast iron hand wheel for my table saw blade elevation crank one time and had to have the shaft hole bored out and a set screw hole drilled and tapped. It cost me $56. for the machine shop work. it is the set up time that is expensive, and the actual machining only takes a few minutes.

@harrysin,
I can see how he could cross cut it on the miter saw, the commercial Aluminum window framers do this all the time and use Johnsons Stick Wax for a lubricant. But I think the OP wanted to do a rip cut to straighten his piece.

I like Daninvan's,and Don's idea of just buying a new piece.

Herb
 

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???...you lost me, Harry. How would you true up a three ft. length on a chop saw or SCMS? My understanding of the OP's question is that he wants the 3' bar to be perfectly straight, not cut into smaller lengths.
"you lost me" I'm not surprised, I miss-read the post and thought he was talking about the ENDS of the bar. Knowing what was meant, wouldn't it be like feeding a "banana" into a thicknesser, a thinner "Banana" comes out. A reference flat side must be obtained first. I would think that the table saw would be the same.
 

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Are you referring to the Face side or the Face edge, Harry? Just so we're all talking about the same thing here, I took the question to mean the edge that needed machining, ie an exact 'straightedge' being the objective; maybe I misunderstood(?).
 

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I take it to mean one edge is concave and the other convex. If this is so, and I've given it some thought, it would be an accident waiting to happen sending the bar through the table saw. I must draw the attention of Orlando that accidents don't happen, they are caused.

These two shots show the ends of my straight edge which clamps firmly to the bench. I bought it from Timbecon MANY years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Sorry I haven't responded to the posts, but I was out on a trip with the family and just got back yesterday.

The Al bar is going to be a low profile fence for the DP table. Pat Warner made me one out of wood with threaded inserts that I need to upgrade. I have Starrett straight edges in 12", 18", 24" 36" and 48" lengths, so I'm good there. Plus I also have some of the Al ones that Pat made. I have x-cut Al on my miter saw with a non-ferrous blade without an issue. A former student of mine who works in a place that sells tooling components and parts for machine shops gave me the name of a shop that will do it for me. I know Pat machined his Al with routers with very secure fixturing but, IIRC, he worked with bars no longer than 12."

Thanks for all the advice. It was greatly appreciated.
 
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