Elaborate Cutting of Aluminum Sheet - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 10-15-2019, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Elaborate Cutting of Aluminum Sheet

I need to do some ornate/smooth cuts of an aluminum sheet. It's the same as you see here.

Can someone give me an idea of how to make these cuts?

I used some tin snips to get the raw 12X12 sheet down to a smaller size but the snips don't allow for fine and smooth cutting.
Thanks
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post #2 of 35 Old 10-15-2019, 12:39 PM
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that link goes to a generic Home Depot page. (not helpful at all).
can you post a drawing or sketch of what you are wanting to do ??
and - what tools do you have access to ?
and how thick is the aluminum you want to cut.
there are many tools that people don't think of to cut thin aluminum.

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post #3 of 35 Old 10-15-2019, 05:05 PM
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Depends what you are trying to cut, a router or circular saw will cut it fine as will a jig or scroll saw. Nibblers will also cut it without bending it
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post #4 of 35 Old 10-15-2019, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
that link goes to a generic Home Depot page. (not helpful at all).
can you post a drawing or sketch of what you are wanting to do ??
and - what tools do you have access to ?
and how thick is the aluminum you want to cut.
there are many tools that people don't think of to cut thin aluminum.

.

.
Will try to take a pic of what I'm working on (it's a secret present for my wife, shhhh!)
1/32 thick.
I think I fixed the link. Click here for the item I'm cutting.

Last edited by zamboknee; 10-15-2019 at 07:08 PM.
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post #5 of 35 Old 10-15-2019, 07:13 PM
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the link just shows a sheet of aluminum.
we really need to see a sketch or drawing of what you are making.
(and we promise not to tell your wife).

do you have access to tools such as a Dremel, Roto-Zip, router, etc ?
as mentioned above, thin alum sheet can be cut with a variety
of hand tools. . . . it just depends on your design and how flexible
you are to wrinkled cuts.

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post #6 of 35 Old 10-15-2019, 07:15 PM
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Lots of guys on my luthiers forum use jewelers saws to cut aluminum into ornate shapes for fingerboard inlay. They use it on whatís called a birdís mouth.

https://www.amazon.com/Jewelers-fram...60434189&psc=1
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post #7 of 35 Old 10-15-2019, 07:18 PM
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Elaborate .........

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catpower View Post
Depends what you are trying to cut, a router or circular saw will cut it fine as will a jig or scroll saw. Nibblers will also cut it without bending it

Elaborate Cutting of Aluminum Sheet
That's the title, but what's that mean? Intricate? Fine details? A scroll saw will do all of that easily. Is sawing cutting ... who cares. Yes.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 35 Old 10-15-2019, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Hereís a pic of what I wanna cut out. Iíd like a clean cut with no (to little) burred edges.
Thanks
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post #9 of 35 Old 10-16-2019, 12:45 AM
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Whatís the thickness of the material?
If itís really thin, edge distortion is going to be nearly impossible to avoid using snips or similar shears.

I suggest that you could use a scroll saw to cut it provided the right blade is used.


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post #10 of 35 Old 10-16-2019, 02:30 AM
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Make your peace with it now, youre never gonna cut a piece of metal without getting a burr. Scroll saw or bandsaw it out, clean up the edges later

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post #11 of 35 Old 10-16-2019, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
Make your peace with it now, youre never gonna cut a piece of metal without getting a burr. Scroll saw or bandsaw it out, clean up the edges later
I'm figuring that out now.

Would something like this drill attachment be a good first start?
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post #12 of 35 Old 10-16-2019, 08:45 AM
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that's a nibbler ......

They aren't all that easy to control, especially when drill driven. If you want as precise control as possible, use a scroll saw. I would rough cut to within 1/4" of the lines first. Then final cut, then hand file the burr away. Use a thin backer wood to prevent distortion.


If all this seems like too much, get a quote from a laser cut service.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #13 of 35 Old 10-16-2019, 08:48 AM
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.032" aluminum is not all that thick for the bandsaw.
granted, it will take some filing to smooth the edges. but,
at least it will not be distorted. is the round design going to
be void in the middle like the number zero ? or just a round circle.

[I would be interested to know what the project is for]
does it has to be aluminum ? can it be another material that is
flat and easier to cut and paint it silver ???

.

.

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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 10-16-2019 at 09:50 AM.
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post #14 of 35 Old 10-16-2019, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zamboknee View Post
I'm figuring that out now.

Would something like this drill attachment be a good first start?
I mean, itll work, but its wildly overcomplicated for what youre trying to do and honestly probably wont give the best results. Cutting 22 gauge aluminium really isnt hard at all, if you want to keep things as basic as possible a set of metal shears will be plenty effective. Again, my personal choice would be either a bandsaw or a scroll saw. The suggestions of a jewellers saw are also good, and a hacksaw or coping saw would get the job done in short order. Dont overthink it, aluminium is nearly as easy to cut as wood is.

As for the burrs, a good single cut file will make short work of that, as well as smoothing and shaping the edges. Again, just gotta not overthink it, aluminium is dead easy stuff as far as metalworking goes

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post #15 of 35 Old 10-16-2019, 02:48 PM
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Tin snips, use some that don't have serrated jaws, remove the burr with a file or emery paper, being careful not to scratch the surface, work at the edge of your bench on a slight downward angle.

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post #16 of 35 Old 10-16-2019, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post


If all this seems like too much, get a quote from a laser cut service.
This is a great idea. Either a laser cutter, or a place with a water jet.

By the way, the metal in your picture looks like galvanized steel to me.
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post #17 of 35 Old 10-16-2019, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep View Post
the metal in your picture looks like galvanized steel to me.
Gosh, I'm not exactly sure anymore. I got it a couple years ago and can't remember. I'll try and check to verify if it's aluminum or galvanized steel.
In the meantime, I'm going to try a coping saw and see if that does the trick. Don't mind filing off burs.
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post #18 of 35 Old 10-16-2019, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Quickstep: the metal in your picture looks like galvanized steel
I agree with Quickstep: I wanted to mention it earlier but was not
sure if it was just the quality of the photo presented.
if a magnet sticks to it - it is galvanized steel.
meaning that now you have a much harder material to work with.
I would put this material aside and go get aluminum sheet at the Box Store.
and any of the tools mentioned above will work much better with less frustration.
how will the numbers be used ??

.

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post #19 of 35 Old 10-16-2019, 06:52 PM
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Do the magnet test!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zamboknee View Post
Gosh, I'm not exactly sure anymore. I got it a couple years ago and can't remember. I'll try and check to verify if it's aluminum or galvanized steel.
In the meantime, I'm going to try a coping saw and see if that does the trick. Don't mind filing off burs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
I agree with Quickstep: I wanted to mention it earlier but was not
sure if it was just the quality of the photo presented.
if a magnet sticks to it - it is galvanized steel.
meaning that now you have a much harder material to work with.
I would put this material aside and go get aluminum sheet at the Box Store.
and any of the tools mentioned above will work much better with less frustration.
how will the numbers be used ??
.

You won't have any success with a coping saw on galvanized steel.
Actually, I think you are in a bit over your head on this project. Unless there is some significant reason the letters need to be made of thin sheet AND they are not available from crafts sources, AND you just need a project for something to do ... I'd avoid doing it this way. FYI, I have almost as much experience drilling, bending and welding metal as I do working in wood. It's a much different material and is not forgiving like wood. It will also cut your hands bloody in no time unless you wear gloves. BTDT. I built this truck body entirely from different thicknesses of sheet metal:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #20 of 35 Old 10-19-2019, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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I got a sheet of aluminum. Tried getting a cut going with a metal coping blade but it wouldnít bite.
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