Ruben from Roseville Question about cutting aluminim sheets

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Ruben from Roseville Question about cutting aluminim sheets

Postby 1947 Kenskill Roseville » Sun Aug 03, 2008 11:38 pm

Question to anyone out there went by Cardos this Saturday to check out the Aluminum skins , looks like i might go with the Polished Aluminum,i asked them what do i cut it with when iam ready to cut the aluminum.Any Answers, Not ready for that yet but asking in Advance,i figure maybe with a Jigsaw but with what type of blade,maybe not if so with what?
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Postby Dale M. » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:03 am

Have cut aluminum up to 1/8 inch with jig saw and had to use a real course tooth blade (actually a wood blade) so it did not load up.... On thin stiff almost any tool the will cut wood will do aluminum.. The problem with aluminum is it will load up teeth in blade even if you lube blade with something (wax?)....

Also slow speed are a must or it will really rip material around cut and you will have mess to clean up..... aAso use lots of masking tape along cut line, or cuttings will get under jig saw "shoe" and scar your "skin"... Also cut from back side....

Another option may be a router or roto-zip...

Actually plain old tin snips (aviation type) may be best tool.....

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Postby Dean in Eureka, CA » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:04 am

Ruben,
I've cut a lot of aluminum and my prefered choice for straight cuts is with a triple chip carbine tooth circular blade... works on table saw/chop saw/worm drive skill saw.
Mask your material with tape at and near the cut line so your saw doesn't scratch the material from debris getting between the surface and your saw.
A good sharp blade and guide fence will yield nice finished cuts.

For radius cuts I'd go with the jig saw and a good quality bi-metal blade with masking to protect the surface just as with straight cuts.
I'd cut fat and finish the edge with a flush trim bit in a router using a template...
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Postby G-force » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:14 am

For long, straight cuts, have a metal shop cut it in the sheer. For other cuts, you can't beat an pnumatic sheer. Cheaper ones can be had for $75.
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Postby asianflava » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:45 am

I ended up using just about everything I had for various steps; snips, jigsaw, dremel, router. Most of the work was done with electric shears, a cheapie from Harbor Freight. It cost about $35 for the shears.
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Postby Duane King » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:34 am

I went out and purchased three different snips that I was going to use on my aluminum. When I actually started cutting I realized I don't have the physical strength required to cut through the stuff by hand. My snips were of no use to me at all.

I used a jigsaw. But do like everybody suggests and mask off all the material near where you are cutting. If you don't there will be nice parallel ruts in the surface of your siding and you will be really sad. :cry:

By the way, did you get the word to NOT glue down your aluminum? Especially in the Sacramento area. It will get real hot in the summer and the aluminum will expand at a rate different than the wood sides of your trailer and it will want to bulge. Gluing won't stop this "oil canning" it will just make it impossible for the aluminum to return to its original shape when it cools off later in the day. So remember, NO GLUE under the aluminum skin.

Could somebody else post the name of the flexible caulking that should be used under all the aluminum trim and screw heads to make the installation watertight?
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Postby BrwBier » Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:55 am

This is what I used to cut my aluminum and it works just great.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=92115
Just keep the jaws clean and lubed and it cut easier than I expected. When on sale it is about $10 less than this price.
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Postby doug hodder » Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:15 am

When cutting with either a jig saw or a circular saw, if you buy a couple of sheets of sacrificial thick styrofoam insulation, you can lay the material flat directly on it and cut through, on the ground or on a bench. Also works great for plunge routing on large pieces.

Dont' know if this is what Duane was thinking for the caulking but 3M 5200 works great, made for sealing submersible items, like drain tubes in transoms. Doug
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Cutting Aluminum

Postby 1947 Kenskill Roseville » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:33 am

Thanks to all for the Quick Response. Will take your guys advice and send pictures while cutting the ALuminum,will keep you infiormed.
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Postby Midget » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:06 pm

We have been reskinning a 1948 Airstream. We purchased a pneumatic shear from Harbor Freight. Turn the aluminum over and mark the backside. We cut about 1/8 inch or closer from the line and then block sand the edge with 320 paper. It takes a little longer but the edges are smooth and even.
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Postby Dean_A » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:59 pm

I tried using a friends pneumatic shears, but found them difficult to control. They would stick, then jump off course. It may have been the fact that I was using an underpowered compressor, but I'm not sure. I found snips worked great on .032. They still worked on .050 but it was a real work-out. The jigsaw with a metal blade is always a good choice. All told, here are the tools I've used on my aluminum (sheet and trim):

-- Air shears (rough cuts only)
-- Jig saw with metal blade
-- Tin snips
-- Router w/ flush trim bits
-- Files
-- Dremel with cutoff wheel
-- Chop saw w/ carbide blade
-- Drill press

I haven't found a tool yet that WON'T work on aluminum, using a little caution and common sense. But remember, ALWAYS use good quality eye protection.
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