Author Topic: Tips for working with aluminum  (Read 6111 times)

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Offline Cheese

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #30 on: May 27, 2022, 11:38 AM »
Here's a video of a guy using a plain Jane Dewalt router to machine aluminum. The fixture he made to hold the aluminum panel is particularly well done.  [smile]

https://youtu.be/-gboj2XhuW0?t=8

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Offline Packard

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #31 on: May 27, 2022, 12:02 PM »
I've seen two axis tables used with drill presses as an ersatz milling machine.

The bearings on drill presses are designed for vertical movement; not horizontal movement, so I don't know what this does to the drill press. For light work, it is probably OK.  Just $145.00.

https://www.vevor.com/rotary-table-c_10128/compound-milling-machine-work-table-2-axis-cross-slide-bench-drill-vise-fixture-p_010230619047?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIuPih54SA-AIVF6_ICh1H_AqvEAkYCSABEgKY6PD_BwE

Northern Tool sells a bench top milling machine for $1,000.00. I've bought some of their own branded equipment and they have always been of good to excellent quality. 

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200660255_200660255

Offline Cheese

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #32 on: May 27, 2022, 12:42 PM »
I've seen two axis tables used with drill presses as an ersatz milling machine.

The bearings on drill presses are designed for vertical movement; not horizontal movement, so I don't know what this does to the drill press. For light work, it is probably OK.  Just $145.00.


The real issue with a drill press is tool slippage in the chuck. You need collets or diamond coated chuck jaws to prevent tool slippage and I'm not completely sure that diamond coated chuck jaws will work every time.

Offline Packard

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #33 on: May 27, 2022, 12:53 PM »
For milling aluminum?  I've seen people use drill presses as milling machines in the past. Perhaps for tool steel, special chucks would be needed.  But not for light gage aluminum.

This guy upgraded the bearings, but is using the stock chuck.


Offline festal

  • Posts: 339
Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2022, 08:07 AM »
If you have a Nova Voyager, it can be converted to Nova Vulcan (discountinued milling drill press)  One guy on youtube did the conversion and there are 3 part videos of the process with part lists

« Last Edit: May 29, 2022, 09:49 AM by festal »

Offline Cheese

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #35 on: May 29, 2022, 09:41 AM »
If you have a Nova Voyager, it can be converted to Nova Vulcan (discountinued milling drill press)  One guy on youtube did the conversion and there are 3 part videos of the process with part lists

Unfortunately, I believe Nova is no longer selling the additional parts needed to convert it to a collet chuck system.

Offline Bob D.

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #36 on: May 29, 2022, 01:00 PM »
If you have a Nova Voyager, it can be converted to Nova Vulcan (discountinued milling drill press)  One guy on youtube did the conversion and there are 3 part videos of the process with part lists



That ship has sailed. I watched those videos. The Vulcan is no longer sold by Nova and no parts available to convert/backfit a Voyager they told me in an email last year. I was looking for a Vulcan but had to settle for the Voyager, and I think I was lucky to get that the way things have been the past two years.
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline festal

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #37 on: May 29, 2022, 01:02 PM »
If you have a Nova Voyager, it can be converted to Nova Vulcan (discountinued milling drill press)  One guy on youtube did the conversion and there are 3 part videos of the process with part lists



That ship has sailed. I watched those videos. The Vulcan is no longer sold by Nova and no parts available to convert/backfit a Voyager they told me in an email last year. I was looking for a Vulcan but had to settle for the Voyager, and I think I was lucky to get that the way things have been the past two years.

figures lol. 


Offline Cheese

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2022, 09:51 AM »
Something I just ran across, affordable coatings for machining aluminum from Harvey Tool are TiN & ZrN.

https://www.harveytool.com/resources/tool-coatings

Offline tsmi243

  • Posts: 272
Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2022, 10:15 AM »
In regard to Pat Warner- 

I never got around to ordering his ebooks (or newsletters, I think he called them) until it was too late.  His business was not continued by anybody after his passing.  And it doesn't seem right to ask for a free copy from somebody who has them.   

Is there any ethical way to share the info in them? 



Offline dwillis

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #41 on: June 04, 2022, 06:36 PM »
Along the topic of cutting aluminum, I recently cut quite a few countersinks in holes that I drilled in 3/8" aluminum bars using a tool steel countersink (not carbide). As a result the countersink was gummed up with aluminum (probably too high of a speed on the drill press and no lubricant). To easily remove the aluminum buildup I soaked the countersink in a solution of water and lye (drain opener or sodium hydroxide).

For you chemists out there sodium hydroxide plus water reacts with aluminum to form aluminum hydroxide and hydrogen gas, so don't have any ignition sources around (ask me about an "experiment" gone wrong in high school chemistry during an unsupervised afternoon [scared]). Also follow the safety instructions with the lye, it's nasty stuff.

After a few hours (rate depends on strength of sodium hydroxide and water solution) the aluminum will be gone and the tool clean. Plus you can pour the used solution down the drain because it's also used to clean clogged drains. I haven't tried this method on carbide tipped tools, so if anyone has experience with carbide please let us know.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2022, 01:31 AM by dwillis »
Remember that the only scientist to walk on the moon was a geologist.  Dr. Harrison Schmitt - Apollo 17 - Valley of Taurus-Littrow - 11 to 17 December 1972.

Offline Mini Me

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #42 on: June 04, 2022, 07:55 PM »
In regard to Pat Warner- 

I never got around to ordering his ebooks (or newsletters, I think he called them) until it was too late.  His business was not continued by anybody after his passing.  And it doesn't seem right to ask for a free copy from somebody who has them.   

Is there any ethical way to share the info in them?

From a naive onlooker's view it seems that all his work was simply abandoned by the family which those who were aware of his work would find disappointing, I know I did. Does that mean all the IP is simply locked up even though there is no interest from those who controlled his estate?

Offline Cheese

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #43 on: June 05, 2022, 09:18 AM »
After a few hours (rate depends on strength of sodium hydroxide and water solution) the aluminum will be gone and the tool clean. Plus you can pour the used solution down the drain because it's also used to clean clogged drains. I haven't tried this method on carbide tipped tools, so if anyone has experience with carbide please let us know.

I wouldn't use that solution on carbide tooling as even something as benign as Simple Green can attack the binder in carbide. This is from Simple Green

"Caustic oven cleaners are sometimes recommended as the best way to clean table saw blades. Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, is the main ingredient in many spray-on oven cleaners. This can cause severe respiratory irritation, nausea, dizziness, skin burns, and more. Other varieties of commercial blade and bit cleaners often don't stay wet for the prescribed amount of soaking time, which doesn't do much to loosen residue from the blade.
In addition to being toxic, oven cleaner and saw blade cleaning products with caustic ingredients can potentially damage saw blades. They attack the binder in the carbide and the brazing used to secure the teeth to the blade."


https://simplegreen.com/cleaning-tips/rooms/garage/saw-blades/

Offline Bob D.

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #44 on: June 05, 2022, 10:02 AM »
" I recently cut quite a few countersinks in holes that I drilled in 3/8" aluminum bars using a tool steel countersink "

I don't think you'd have this problem if you used a Weldon Zero Flute Countersink.
https://heritagecutter.com/BrubakerWeldon/PublicStore/

I've used soapstone on a file designed to cut steel when cutting aluminum to help keep the file from getting clogged. It works in a pinch but a file designed for Aluminum is a better option if available.

Regarding Pat Warner the WayBack machine probably has most of what was on his site plus at least 6 of his books are currently available on Amazon. We will probably never know but it is possible that he left instructions on how to handle everything connected to the website, his books and other IP he owned. Those instructions could have been take it all down and never release it again. That doesn't sound like the Pat I came to only briefly know in a couple emails years ago when I bought a couple books directly from him along with two of his router bases. I'm just saying it's a possibility.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2022, 10:26 AM by Bob D. »
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline Richard/RMW

  • Posts: 2309
Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #45 on: June 05, 2022, 12:30 PM »
" I recently cut quite a few countersinks in holes that I drilled in 3/8" aluminum bars using a tool steel countersink "

I don't think you'd have this problem if you used a Weldon Zero Flute Countersink.
https://heritagecutter.com/BrubakerWeldon/PublicStore/

I've used soapstone on a file designed to cut steel when cutting aluminum to help keep the file from getting clogged. It works in a pinch but a file designed for Aluminum is a better option if available.

Regarding Pat Warner the WayBack machine probably has most of what was on his site plus at least 6 of his books are currently available on Amazon. We will probably never know but it is possible that he left instructions on how to handle everything connected to the website, his books and other IP he owned. Those instructions could have been take it all down and never release it again. That doesn't sound like the Pat I came to only briefly know in a couple emails years ago when I bought a couple books directly from him along with two of his router bases. I'm just saying it's a possibility.

Ron Covell recommended on YT using soap as lube when grinding AL, I've tried it on a 12" disk and it helps prevent loading. I also use zero flute countersinks and they work great.

RMW
As of 10/17 I am out of the Dog business and pursuing other distractions. Thanks for a fun ride!

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 9868
Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #46 on: June 05, 2022, 01:01 PM »

I don't think you'd have this problem if you used a Weldon Zero Flute Countersink.
https://heritagecutter.com/BrubakerWeldon/PublicStore/


Even better than the Weldon (I use a Weldon for chamfering 20 mm holes in ply/MDF) I found the KEO Zero flute countersinks are machined from cobalt. I've used the Festool HSS Zero flute version on aluminum and only managed to chamfer 15-20 holes before the cutting degraded significantly. The KEO cobalt (M35) countersinks are slightly harder than HSS (HRC67-70 vs HRC63-65) but they are tougher so that the razor thin cutting edge in the Zero flute is retained for a longer time.

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/45117595




Offline Bob D.

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #47 on: June 05, 2022, 02:48 PM »
Good to know, thanks @Cheese
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline tsmi243

  • Posts: 272
Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #48 on: June 05, 2022, 03:08 PM »

Regarding Pat Warner the WayBack machine probably has most of what was on his site plus at least 6 of his books are currently available on Amazon. We will probably never know but it is possible that he left instructions on how to handle everything connected to the website, his books and other IP he owned. Those instructions could have been take it all down and never release it again. That doesn't sound like the Pat I came to only briefly know in a couple emails years ago when I bought a couple books directly from him along with two of his router bases. I'm just saying it's a possibility.

His website was mostly just teasers for the ebooks, though.  The content of the ebooks was emailed out by Pat after purchase.  The Wayback won't have those.


Offline rvieceli

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #49 on: June 05, 2022, 03:38 PM »
The KEO zero flute countersinks are great.

While their primary purpose is to cut out a spot to sink a flat head screw flush or below the surface, they are also an excellent tool to deburr a drilled hole. Just take off a small sliver and it gets rid of the sharp edges and gives it a finished look.

Ron

Offline Cheese

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum...6061 vs 6063
« Reply #50 on: June 15, 2022, 01:26 PM »
Received this email today pointing out the differences between 6061 & 6063.

https://www.kloecknermetals.com/blog/comparing-6061-vs-6063-aluminum/

Offline Richard/RMW

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #51 on: June 19, 2022, 12:53 AM »
I finally had a chance to try out the Shaper Origin on AL today, the results were good.

Started with some parts from SendCutSend and used the SO to modify and add features. One aspect that really helped was the ability to use the same design I made in F360 to generate both the .dxf they used to laser cut the parts and the .svg the SO used. These are 1/4" 6061:



Same SVG to cut the MDF fixture and the additional features. I just flipped the part over/around in the fixture as needed and repositioned the SVG. SO's use of probing and gridding made this possible.



The parts from SCS were a couple tenths of a mm oversized, easily fixed with a belt grinder and lapping. Then I needed to mill in an offset in the slot for a tee nut and a very shallow channel so the scale would be below the surface. I had a generic 2-flute carbide upcut bit in the SO & I gave that a try for the first pass, then changed out to a 1/4" O-flute. No surprise, the O-flute worked much better but the spiral upcut worked also.





Finished parts.



These are for narrow rip guides for the TS-55. I have a bunch of leftovers from the Rip Dog days, and I wanted a set of guides that I could use on 1/4" and thicker stock. Turned out great.







Given how well this worked I think I'm ready to tackle the fence using the MIC-6 plate.

RMW

As of 10/17 I am out of the Dog business and pursuing other distractions. Thanks for a fun ride!

Offline Bob D.

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #52 on: June 19, 2022, 06:45 AM »
Your narrow rip guides look great @Richard/RMW.

What is the turnaround time from SCS?
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline Richard/RMW

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #53 on: June 19, 2022, 07:29 AM »
Your narrow rip guides look great @Richard/RMW.

What is the turnaround time from SCS?

Placed the order on the 12th, shipped 16th arrived yesterday. Cost was ~$10/part with shipping.

I'm making a Hardy type setup for a workbench that will need a 1" square cutout in 3/8" steel plate, that'll be the next order.

RMW
As of 10/17 I am out of the Dog business and pursuing other distractions. Thanks for a fun ride!

Offline rvieceli

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #54 on: June 19, 2022, 07:51 AM »
@Bob D. one of the guys I do business with uses these people and really likes them. Might want to see what they could do.

https://laser-bros.com/

Ron

Offline Cheese

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #55 on: June 19, 2022, 09:33 AM »

Placed the order on the 12th, shipped 16th arrived yesterday. Cost was ~$10/part with shipping.


Lookin good... [smile]  The cost per part seems very reasonable considering the turnaround time.

What speed were you running the SO and how much of a cut were you taking?

Offline Richard/RMW

  • Posts: 2309
Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #56 on: June 19, 2022, 09:50 AM »

Placed the order on the 12th, shipped 16th arrived yesterday. Cost was ~$10/part with shipping.


Lookin good... [smile]  The cost per part seems very reasonable considering the turnaround time.

What speed were you running the SO and how much of a cut were you taking?

@Cheese agree on SCS cost, caveat being I ordered 4 to cover their $29 minimum, only really needed 2. Even at the minimum they'd only have cost ~$15/part delivered. I've been really satisfied with their service.

I ended up pushing the speed up to max (26K) and got to 1mm cuts after making most at .5mm.

The heavier cuts were lengthening the slot/offset by about 10mm. Another nice thing with the SO was I could just shift the svg and make the cut. I've had the tool since they first came out but I'm only just starting to make full use of it, the WorkStation is now set up permanently.

RE: depth of cut, I'd been worried it would catch and pull, fighting me. It wasn't a problem, actually seemed to pull in AL less than it does routing ply.

RMW
As of 10/17 I am out of the Dog business and pursuing other distractions. Thanks for a fun ride!

Offline rvieceli

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #57 on: June 19, 2022, 10:09 AM »
Nice work Richard. Love your clear safety shoes  [big grin]

Ron

Offline Richard/RMW

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #58 on: June 19, 2022, 10:22 AM »
Nice work Richard. Love your clear safety shoes  [big grin]

Ron

Steel-toed flip-flops are being re-soled.

This time of year I leave a couple pairs of sandals in the truck, otherwise I'll find myself at the Acme without shoes...  [doh]

RMW
As of 10/17 I am out of the Dog business and pursuing other distractions. Thanks for a fun ride!

Offline Richard/RMW

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Re: Tips for working with aluminum
« Reply #59 on: June 19, 2022, 03:00 PM »
Ka-ching!



 [thumbs up]

RMW
As of 10/17 I am out of the Dog business and pursuing other distractions. Thanks for a fun ride!