Cutting aluminum with a scroll saw?


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Old 09-08-16, 10:58 AM
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Cutting aluminum with a scroll saw?

Hey folks, is it possible to cut aluminum bar stock with a scroll saw? I have an old milwaukee scroll saw, and I want to help my grandson with making a robot for a STEM competition. It won't be anything super-huge, but some of the parts are made from some 1/4 x 1" bar stock. Just the stuff you buy at the hardware store. Any help would be appreciated. BTW it's a variable speed unit, 700-1400 spm.
 
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Old 09-08-16, 11:40 AM
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Just making straight cuts, not curves?
If it's straight then use a compound mitre saw with a carbide blade, goes though it like butter.
 
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Old 09-08-16, 11:44 AM
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First, scroll saw:

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Or jig saw:

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You can get metal cutting blades for both. Cutting 1/4 inch aluminum on a scroll saw would be pushing it, but if you cut very slowly you should be able to do it. Buy extra blades.....

A jig saw could handle it no problem.
 
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Old 09-08-16, 12:50 PM
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My problem is, the radiuses are too fine for a jig. I've cut a LOT of metal with jigs, but I just bought the scroll saw at a garage sale, and I've never had one before. I'd like to not have to do so much finish work, and with a jig, I'd have a lot of material to clean out of the finer cut areas. So, speed and feed as low as I can get huh?
 
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Old 09-08-16, 02:59 PM
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Yes, get the coarsest skip tooth blades you can find and use the widest blade that will cut the radius you need. Feed slow to let the blade clear the chips out of the cut. I've cut a fair amount of 1/8 aluminum without much trouble but haven't tried 1/4....
 
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Old 09-08-16, 04:33 PM
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Give it a try. You don't have anything to loose and aluminum cuts easy for a metal. That's not the best saw for the job but it can be done and it beats using a hack saw and file. Depending on the alloy and hardness keep an eye on your saw blade. If the chips gum up in the teeth you may need to lubricate the blade & cutting area.
 
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Old 09-08-16, 04:42 PM
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I agree; give it a shot. I have cut aluminum on my band saw any number of times, and not the same but similar enough. Worst case scenario is you can't get quite the radius you want, but you'll be a lot closer than with a hacksaw or whatever. Clean the saw good when you're done as those chips could eventually work themselves into places you don't want them, and definitely wear eye protection as you aren't going to retrieve any chips with a magnet.
 
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Old 09-08-16, 07:49 PM
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definitely wear eye protection as you aren't going to retrieve any chips with a magnet.
I second that..... been there and done that.
It has to be drilled out.... no fun.
 
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Old 09-08-16, 09:02 PM
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Use a block of bees wax or a bar of hand soap to lube the blade.
 
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Old 09-09-16, 09:08 AM
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One thing you could consider is depending on the diameter of the radius you could use a drill or a hole saw for the radius portion and then a scroll or jig saw and run any straight cuts into the radius.
Make sense.....this is how you make a 2 1/2 x 6 3/4 inch oval for recessed trailer lights.
 
 

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