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Cutting aluminum tubing with an elec. miter saw?

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Cutting aluminum tubing with an elec. miter saw?

Old 04-14-08, 08:35 PM
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Plainsman
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Cutting aluminum tubing with an elec. miter saw?

I'm no metalurgist, so I thought I would ask the question before ruining some tubes, or a tool. I am trying to cut 7/8", .049" wall thickness 6061-T6 aluminum alloy tubing. I have a 10" miter saw in the garage. It has a carbide tipped blade for fast wood cutting. When I read the shop manual for the saw, it says to use a carbide tipped blade to cut things like aluminum window screen extrusions and the like, but surprise , nothing about making bike parts.

So...will that carbide tipped wood blade work for the tubing, or do I need a cutting disc like I see in the home improvement stores? Or is that disc for steel angles and the like only? There seems to be a difference when cutting ferrous vs. non-ferrous metals from the literature I've read. Any advice?
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Old 04-14-08, 09:57 PM
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Aluminum will clog an abrasive disk. The miter saw and carbide blade will work very well. The more teeth on the blade, the better. I have cut up to 1" thick aluminum plate with my table saw and a fine toothed carbide blade.

Wear eye protection. You don't want a hot metal chip in your eye.
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Old 04-14-08, 10:31 PM
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Agreed. It should work. Cut slowly, though, and clamp your work to the cutting bed. In my younger days, I once cut too quickly through some aluminum square tube stock. It bound up and tore apart with big pieces wedged deep inside the blade guard. Don't do that.

Even better and safer if you have one, use a tubing cutter for copper plumbing. Again go slowly to avoid crushing the tube.
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Old 04-14-08, 10:39 PM
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Your carbide-tipped miter saw will hardly notice cutting .049" tubing. I have definitely cut thicker than that without any issues. Like they said above, the more teeth the better but most carbide-tipped blades should be fine.
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Old 04-14-08, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Plainsman View Post
I'm no metalurgist, so I thought I would ask the question before ruining some tubes, or a tool. I am trying to cut 7/8", .049" wall thickness 6061-T6 aluminum alloy tubing. I have a 10" miter saw in the garage. It has a carbide tipped blade for fast wood cutting. When I read the shop manual for the saw, it says to use a carbide tipped blade to cut things like aluminum window screen extrusions and the like, but surprise , nothing about making bike parts.

So...will that carbide tipped wood blade work for the tubing, or do I need a cutting disc like I see in the home improvement stores? Or is that disc for steel angles and the like only? There seems to be a difference when cutting ferrous vs. non-ferrous metals from the literature I've read. Any advice?
carbide blade, fastest speed, and use the wax too,...

it'll cut easy, you'll see

don't forget to deburr the cut edge when done or you'll slice your self open on it.
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Old 04-15-08, 04:09 AM
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Thanks! That is good news! Now what kind of wax is this, where do I get it, and is it applied to the blade or the aluminum? I would go the tubing cutter route as I have one, but I am making these cuts at a 22.5 degree angle.
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Old 04-15-08, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Plainsman View Post
Thanks! That is good news! Now what kind of wax is this, where do I get it, and is it applied to the blade or the aluminum? I would go the tubing cutter route as I have one, but I am making these cuts at a 22.5 degree angle.
go down to the home depot, and look in the tool section, where they have the table saw blades you'll see a paper tube with waxy goo for making smooth cuts in wood or whatever (or just ask for it). then just turn on the table saw and push the wax stick into the blade for a second, and then make your cut.
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Old 04-15-08, 07:21 AM
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What you pay for a new saw blade you can buy a cheap pipe cutter and the cut will be nice and straight.
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Old 04-15-08, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by George View Post
What you pay for a new saw blade you can buy a cheap pipe cutter and the cut will be nice and straight.
Unless of course he wants angled cuts.
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Old 04-15-08, 08:22 AM
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Just be careful and cut slowly through the aluminum. The saw blades your using are intended for wood so the rake on the teeth are at a much higher angle than if they were designed for cutting metal. This can cause a tooth to hangup in the aluminum. If that happens the tubbing could be thrown out and away from the blade causing serious injury. Cutting very slowly reduces the chance of this happening. If your going to be doing a lot of cutting you should consider purchasing a blade made for cutting aluminum like this.


http://www.toolstoday.com/p-5309-alu...-material.aspx
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Old 04-15-08, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by gmcttr View Post
The more teeth on the blade, the better.

+1, I've cut a lot of PVC pipe with an 80 tooth carbide blade (expensive) on my 12" Dewalt mitre saw, it makes extremely smooth cuts. I expect it would do well with aluminum tubing, too-
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Old 04-15-08, 08:45 AM
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Wear hearing protection also. Not only for this . . . but anytime you use a power saw or grinder. I didn't and my high-frequency hearing is shot. Save it while you can.
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Old 04-15-08, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by well biked View Post
+1, I've cut a lot of PVC pipe with an 80 tooth carbide blade (expensive) on my 12" Dewalt mitre saw, it makes extremely smooth cuts. I expect it would do well with aluminum tubing, too-
+2

I did a project where I needed to cut a bunch of 1/2" HDPE sheeting (the white cutting board material) on my table saw. I picked up a 10" 80-tooth carbide blade from Harbor Freight for $12.99. I have also used it on my mitre saw to cut PVC pipe. It did an outstanding job at both.

They also have a 12" version for $29.99 if you need that size. Both of my saws are 10".
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