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How can I cut aluminum angle stock without damaging my tools? I've done some looking around the interwebs and have not found anything definitive - basically there are warnings about cutting it with anything that is not a chopsaw or hacksaw, and people with success stories on how they cut aluminum without problem. My main concern is damaging my tools - I would like to make precise cuts with either a tablesaw, bandsaw or powered miter saw.

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What are the dimensions of the material and how many cuts do you anticipate making? –  mikes May 8 at 0:25
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You should be able to find a blades designed for cutting aluminium, that will fit on your miter saw. –  Tester101 May 8 at 14:02
    
the angle is 1 by 1.25 and it is 1/16th thick - I anticipate making about 12 cuts. –  Steve French May 8 at 14:10

3 Answers 3

At work we cut aluminium with a drop saw. An sometimes our table saw. We have a drop saw set up just for aluminium, with a fine tooth blade. It don't really do any damage to it as long as you cut slow. aluminium is softer then some of the timber we cut. So anyway if your trying to cut neat cuts use drop saw. An shouldn't do damage. If you are worried use a angle grinder with a thin cutting blade.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

It turns out they make a bandsaw blade for cutting metal - I just used that.

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Unless it's a very good one, you'll find it wanders when you try to cut the thick stuff. –  Wayfaring Stranger Aug 6 at 12:41

For future readers, Aluminum ( and copper, tin etc) can be cut with common carbide-tipped blades without any issues, and it's much easier than an abrasive blade. Clamp the metal, put a bit of wax on the blade, cut slowly.

The noise made cutting 2 inch aluminum pipe with a radial arm saw is most impressive - the pipe works as a resonator.

If you do use an abrasive blade (or a grinder) either toss the disc or keep it for aluminum. The metal powder gets embedded into the abrasive and if you later use the disc to work steel you will put iron oxide and aluminum together under high pressure and heat. That's called a thermite reaction - great if you want to weld train tracks together, less great in a room full of combustible things like sawdust.

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