I have seen youtube videos of people using a table saw to cut aluminum extrusions as well as 3/4" plate using an ordinary circular saw, all with little effort. How is this possible? Does anyone else do this?
I want to use my cheap Mastercraft table saw. What should I know?
I really wouldn’t do it on a table saw due to an increase in safety concerns, using even an aluminum blade on there, you could burn up the blade therefore needing cutting fluid and someone constantly spraying or the greater chance of a kickback or the piece being completely ruined, given the piece is harder than wood and wood is still easy to kick back it will be a whole lot easier for aluminum to kick back given that it is a harder material and especially if it’s got multiple places to grab on a piece of 80/20 or hollow extrusion
like others have said. wouldnt reccomend. but totally doable if no other option. just make sure you go really slow and use plenty of cutting fluid. and dont do stuff thats to thick. you can use a cheap table but dont skimp on the blade.
It is best to use a tool designed to cut metal when cutting metal rather than a tool designed to cut wood that has been adapted to cut metal by changing the blade. Metal working tools typically run significantly slower than wood cutting tools, even the bandsaws, so they are much less likely to kickback or throw workpieces around.
I was using a wood chopsaw, with a metal blade, to trim a short piece of 2 x 1 tube last year. One of the C-clamps slipped and was thrown past my head…
Edited to add: Harbor Freight sells a portable metal cutting bandsaw for about $150 and gets pretty good reviews. Replace the blade with a Lennox bimetal one for around $25. I think Swag Offroad sells a lot that holds it vertical and adds a small table.
Consider that a table saw at 4krpm with a 6in blade will cut at well over 6000sfm (most table saws will be higher/faster). Aluminum should be cut at 800ish to 2kish sfm. A table saw is simply too fast. Metal cutting saws spin slower for this reason.
Chop saws have a built-in clamp to hold the material and I can see that being a benefit.
When I researched feeds and speeds with regard to CNC routers, setting an upper limit on sfm made sense. If the sfm is too high it burnishes rather than cuts the aluminum. What is the reasoning for a carbide blade and aluminum?
I find this thread interesting. Our team exclusively uses a standard (wood) chop saw and a table saw for cutting aluminum. Have done it for years without issue. Must use the correct blade, of course, and we have a full operational/safety training program.
We cut 1/8” 2 x 1 aluminum tube, up to 1/4” plate, etc.
It can be done and it can be done safely with enough training and discipline. Because the speeds are so much higher, when things go wrong, the consequences are likely to be more severe than with equipment designed to cut metal that go slower.
One can get away with this… for a time. Eventually something will go wrong and the results will be worse using high speed wood tools instead of the tools actually designed to cut aluminum and other metals.
I do not know how anyone can justify trying to save a few bucks by not getting the right tools given the increased chances and severity of injury.
I might be prejudiced though - the only time-lost injuries I have ever suffered or witnessed in a shop was from using a wood chop saw (with a metal blade) to cut aluminum and a wood table saw (with a general purposed blade) to cut polycarbonate.
Edit: to be actually helpful instead of just pissy about using the right tools - here is a list of highly rate metal cutting saws to replace their woodworking equivalents.
I and 95 have the DeWalt cold-cut mitre saw and love it, I know many teams have the Evolution RAGE saws and love them. 95 also has a Milwaukee portaband (like the DeWalt portaband listed) and we really like it. I have never used the circular saws listed there, but they strike me as a great replacement for table-saw-cutting of metals because they run at lower speeds and allow you to clamp down the metal your cutting instead of trying to hold onto a sheet metal when it catches a saw blade!
From what I see my builders use is a band saw, it seems to work well. However we have used a table saw for the past several years and it works well but we have had it spit the part back at us several times.
with the 7-1/4 model do you have the cut 2x1 laying with short side up? or will it cut 2 x 2 square? or 2x2 Ls? the Amazon description says 2" round, other places I have seen it can only cut up to 1-3/4 deep?