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[Towertalk] Cutting Plate?

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Subject: [Towertalk] Cutting Plate?
From: (W0UN--John Brosnahan)
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2002 07:21:51 -0500
Hi, Mark--

Don't know about exploding grinding wheels--but using them on aluminum
ruins them.   Fills up the pores with aluminum and they won't work on anything
after that.   You can use a diamond dressing tool to clean them up--with a
corresponding reduction in diameter.

There are cutoff saws that are similar to miter saws--but usually the cutoff
saw only has one degree of "freedom" and is usually used with a "grinding"
type blade for cutting steel.   The miter saws can have have up to four degrees
of freedom (if you include the newer saws with travel slides).  These usually
have regular toothed blades and carbide tipped blades can be used on
aluminum.   Both types of saws have clamps for holding the work piece.

I have both types and often use the miter saw for aluminum when using the
proper blade.  The key with any carbide-tipped tooth blade on aluminum is to
use a lubricant to keep the aluminum from building up on the teeth.  There are
special cutting fluids/sticks for aluminum but almost anything is better than
nothing (except for things like Tri-chloro-ethane).  A wax candle or a bar 
of soap
should be used at a minimum.  Otherwise you will get a buildup of aluminum
on the blade and it will be deposited on the work piece making a less than 
cut and it will also need to be cleaned from the blade--not an easy task.
Best bet is to use the proper cutting fluid on the work or apply a stick type
lube to the blade.

I usually use the cut-off/miter type saws for tubing and angle or channel
aluminum.   For larger plates I use my 12 inch table saw or my 12 inch
radial arm saw.  Go very slowly, use the proper cutting fluid, and wear ear
and eye protection.  Aluminum sawing gets LOUD.  If using a fine-toothed
carbide-tipped blade, expect to pay $100-$150 for the blade for a larger
(12 inch plus) diameter.  An investment worth protecting by using the
proper cutting fluids.

Besides eye protection it is considered good form not to stand in line with
the blade when cutting in case any carbide teeth should break loose.

--John   W0UN

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