Cutting 3/16-inch Aluminum with a Table Saw
Table saws are great machines for woodworking, all of us know that. But there are times when we want something a little more from our table saws – that is metal cutting. Can you use a table saw for metal cutting? Well, that depends on certain factors the most important of which is the thickness of the metal and whether it is ferrous or non-ferrous. As it turns out with our experience that it is indeed possible to cut non-ferrous metals such as aluminum as thick as 3/16 inches.
Before going ahead, do note that the best solution is a dedicated one. If you’re going to do a lot of metal cutting then getting a jigsaw or a chop saw would be a better investment. Table saw is a workaround that you can use if your metal cutting feats are limited or you’re facing budget problems. So what things you would need to achieve that? Here we go:
Carbide Circular Blades
First of all you would need a strong saw blade that packs a punch and there is nothing better than carbide toothed circular saw blade for that. They are easily available online and otherwise and they can cut through most of the non ferrous material without much hassle. You can find a high quality carbide blade from where you usually purchase your blades from. The important factors when buying the blade include triple chip grind and zero hook angles on the blade teeth.
Wax Based Lubricant
Why do you need a lubricant for metal cutting? Well, here are the biggest reasons:
· To keep the metal at a stable temperature that is especially crucial when working to close tolerances. It is ok if the metal gets warm but alternating hot and cold and lava hot aren’t acceptable.
· Use of a lube makes sure that the people handling the metal pieces don’t get harmed because of the toxicity, bacteria etc. It’s also better for the environment when disposing.
· To keep machine parts and blades from rusting.
· Optimizing the working life of the blade by the lubricating the edge and reducing tip wielding.
With years of experience and trial and error we have found candle wax fares really well compared to any alternative you could get our hands on. Just melt the wax in a pot and brush it on the surface to be cut. It hardens but then melts just before the blade touches it. You can get great results every time. Wax based lubricants also work well.
Aluminum Chips Clogging
One of the annoyances of this method is that the flying aluminum chips make their way between the teeth and deposit themselves there. To avoid that, you will either have to use a better carbide blade or check the blade teeth regularly between the cuts to remove the clogged aluminum. Needle nose pliers can be of great help for removing those tidbits. Never use your nails or finger to do that.