Cutting Aluminum

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Chris B Campbell
Junior Member
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri, Jul 29 2005, 4:00PM
Location: Helendale, CA.

Cutting Aluminum

Postby Chris B Campbell » Sun, Jun 17 2012, 12:51PM

Not sure if this is the right place for this but... have any of you guys tried cutting aluminum sheet? maybe about .060" material. I use Bobcad software from time to time allowing me to easily create some nice stuff for the race car. Just been really hesitant about using the thermwood router as a mill. I would build a jig to hold the material and of course the vacuum. No dust collection, .125 carbide end mill cutter, use somewhere around .002 per pass ramped... Anyone ever try this?

Thanks,
Chris

Daniel Odom
Senior Member
Posts: 204
Joined: Thu, Oct 20 2011, 12:52PM
Company Name: Carlton Kitchen and Bath
Country: UNITED STATES

Re: Cutting Aluminum

Postby Daniel Odom » Sun, Jun 17 2012, 8:39PM

6061 machines well on a router, you just need the right bit (spiral o flute designed to cut aluminum) and the right feed and speed, climb cut, it cuts a lot slower than you would cut a piece of wood. You'll need to make sure the stock is held down well enough that it won't vibrate or move, vacuum may be useless in some cases; you may need to bolt it down and use tabs. Some people use wd40 or other lubricants, not sure if this is really necessary for short runs but it won't hurt. You can also cool the bit with an air gun. Make sure you have a face shield or some really good safety glasses, this stuff makes a mess.

Chris B Campbell
Junior Member
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri, Jul 29 2005, 4:00PM
Location: Helendale, CA.

Re: Cutting Aluminum

Postby Chris B Campbell » Mon, Jun 18 2012, 9:32AM

LOL Yeah I will never forget the first time I cut a piece of aluminum on the table saw without a face shield! Ya learn fast... i dunno about the WD40 I have found that working my mill and running out of cutting fluid I had grabbed a can of WD40 used it and ruined the end mill... Just does not seem to work like cutting fluid?

Anyway I'm gonna try it. having software to get the most out of these expensive machines is pretty cool. We have been making signage for a couple of the local shop here, just finished a custom console for a 40 Buick, created a couple of children's toys, now if I can get this router to cut sheet aluminum that opens a whole new arena.
Trying to survive this economy by not just building boxes... + this kinda stuff is really fun to design and then watch as the router makes it happen.

Chris

Zach Froble
Senior Member
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue, Jun 21 2005, 3:23PM
Location: Connellsville, PA

Re: Cutting Aluminum

Postby Zach Froble » Tue, Jun 19 2012, 1:13PM

Here is some 1/4" 6061 sheet we cut last year for a project. We used a Onsrud spiral o-flute upcut. It took a while to get all the feeds and speeds down but after we did it cut like butter.

PS. We drilled all the holes first and then ran screws in to secure the piece to the wasteboard. We also squirted a small amount of cutting fluid at first, but it didn't seem to make that big of a difference so we stopped on the last few sheets.

ZachF
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