How to cut aluminum at home

Working with an angle grinder. How to cut aluminum with an angle grinder safely and quickly

Hello, friends! In this short post, I want to share how you can cut aluminum with an angle grinder, a common metal cutting wheel.

You’d think, what’s the big deal, just go ahead and cut it! But that’s not the case, especially when it comes to cutting thick sheets of aluminum.

The fact that aluminum is a soft metal, and when cutting it with an angle grinder, the cutting wheel simply gets caught in a piece of aluminum.

Plasma cutting

Plasma flow generated removes molten metal particles from the surface. Cutting speed depends on a number of factors, among them:

Cutting aluminum with plasma can be done manually, but a mechanized process gives the user more flexibility. Its advantages are high productivity, material savings. The disadvantage is manifested at the end of the work. it is necessary to treat the edges, solidified after the cooling of the cutting area.

How to cut an aluminum barrel

SC MetoptTrading Ltd. not only sells high quality rolled aluminum, but also performs its processing: production of profiles to customer drawings, cutting and chopping of aluminum plates and sheets.

We process materials of any grade, using modern high-tech equipment, which guarantees a flawless result with preservation of all performance characteristics of the metal.

The quality of our work meets Russian and international standards.

What’s special about bending aluminum

Basically, two methods are used for bending aluminum sheet material:

Free path. This is the air gap between the perforator and the sheet metal. This method is the most widely used today.

If during the bending process, there is no air gap between the bender and the walls of the mold, and the aluminum sheet is tightly compressed, this method is called calibration. This technique is quite old and is used for the softest materials or for making complex product shapes.

Free bending of aluminum has several advantages over the calibration method, as follows:

  • A higher degree of flexibility, so without changing the punch and shape, you can get different bending angles of the sheet profile;
  • Less effort is required to perform the warping;
  • It is possible to bend sheets of greater thickness;
  • Relatively low cost of equipment.

The disadvantages of the free method include:

  • The low accuracy of the bending angle of thin-walled metal sheets;
  • The accuracy of shape repetition depends on the physical properties of the material;
  • Poor applicability for complex configuration operations.

Which brands can be bent and which cannot

Thus, there are several basic types of sheet aluminum, which can differ significantly in their physical properties and deformation capabilities. So, the most common types:

  • Baked, it has the letter M in the designation, it is the softest grade, so it is perfectly susceptible to deformation, but at the same time easily shrinks and breaks under excessive stress.
  • Semi-finishedFifth is called H2 and has tougher properties than M grade, also deforms well and can withstand more than 90 degrees of bending at a time. At the same time, thanks to the increased rigidity, it retains its shape well and prevents the formation of dents, so it is often used as a facing material.
  • Cut, the grade designation contains one letter H. Narrowing. It is a method of cold-welding sheet steel to increase its strength. For this purpose, the aluminum plate is additionally rolled between two rollers on a special machine. This grade bends well at angles up to 90 degrees and can withstand considerable stresses on its surface.
  • The hardening or natural age is usually indicated by the letter T. It is quite hard aluminum, so it is more demanding to work with, because it bends when bent to a cold angle of 90 degrees. It is used for the manufacture of parts and assemblies that work with high loads.
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aluminum

The main types of aluminum sheet alloys can be arranged as follows:

  • 1105 and VD1 grades of technical alloy have relatively low specific sheet weight and bend easily without problems.
  • Aluminum-magnesium alloys are designated by the letters AMG. They are made from an aluminum alloy with magnesium and manganese added. The AMG grade has acid-resistant properties and bends well, so it is mostly used for making containers and tanks, as well as boat and boat parts.
  • A5 and AD grades are available with cages, half-cells or annealed marks.
  • AMC alloys are specifically designed for the production of complex curved parts, such as automotive radiators and the like.
  • Dural is marked with the letter D. It belongs to the high-strength grades, the main difference being its high resistance to external influences. Dural practically cannot be bent, which is why it is only used in stamping applications.
  • Special aircraft grade B alloys are bent by a special stamping and pressing process. They are used in the manufacture of heavy-duty parts in the automotive and aircraft industries.

What’s special about bending aluminum

Basically, two methods are used to bend aluminum sheet material:

Free Way. It is an air gap between the peorator and the metal sheet. This method is the most widely used today.

If during the bending process there is no air gap between the torator and the walls of the die and the aluminum sheet is compressed tightly, this method is called calibration. This technique is quite old and is used for the softest materials or complex product shapes.

Free bending of aluminum has several advantages over the calibration method, as follows:

  • Higher degree of flexibility, so without changing the punch and shape, you can get different bending angles of the sheet profile;
  • Less force is required to perform the deformation;
  • It is possible to bend sheets of greater thickness;
  • Relatively low cost of equipment.
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The disadvantages of the free method include:

  • Low bending angle accuracy of thin-walled metal sheets;
  • The accuracy of shape repetition depends on the physical properties of the material;
  • Poor applicability for complex configuration operations.

Guillotine cutting

Guillotines are functionally limited, as they only make straight cuts. There are more advantages; among them are the speed of processing, ease of maintenance, durability.

The devices are known as “angle grinders”. Immediately worth noting. to cut aluminum tool is difficult, because it refers to the soft, ductile in structure. But processing the material is still possible, it only requires specific actions.

When cutting thick aluminum sheets, for example, kerosene is dripped on the cutting area to prevent the cutting disc from getting bent into the metal. Also, it is necessary to buy a wheel suitable for aluminum, otherwise the efficiency and safety of work will decrease.

The advantages of cutting with an angle grinder. speed, efficiency, relatively thin cutting width. It is important for the user to remember that the force is applied only in the radial direction.

Aluminum is a special material with specific properties, so the cutting technology is chosen differently than for the same steel. It is important for the user to select a processing method, control the process, the right setting of initial parameters (when working with automated equipment). Mistakes are inadmissible. ductile and malleable aluminum will not forgive a miscalculation.

If you know of other effective ways of how and what to cut aluminum, share your knowledge in the discussion to.

Oxyfuel cutting equipment

Since acetylene is often used for cutting, it is not uncommon to use an acetylene welder as oxyfuel cutting equipment. Instead of welding torches, they use gas torches. The most common option is the injector-type torch.

Torches differ significantly from torches in their design. They have additional tubes for cutting oxygen and nozzles with small holes for the gas mixture. A central hole is provided for the cutting oxygen supply.

Figure 4. Schematic diagram of an oxygen cutting machine

How an oxyfuel cutting machine works:

  • The workpiece is positioned horizontally and the torch valves are closed;
  • open the oxygen valve, and then. the valve of combustible gas;
  • The mixture is ignited and regulated by power;
  • the metal is heated by the cutting area;
  • a valve with cutting oxygen is opened, activating combustion when reaching the heated metal;
  • oxides appear in the process, they are removed by a stream of oxygen;
  • At the end of the work, first close the valve of cutting oxygen, then the combustible gas, and finally the burners.

Basic tool of oxyfuel cutting set. cutting torch. There are classifications of these elements:

  • by the type of combustible gas (cutting torches for liquid combustible mixtures, acetylene, gas-substitutes);
  • automation degree (manual, machine);
  • purpose (special and universal);
  • Mixing of gases (non-injector and injector);
  • power of flame (big, medium, small).
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Features of plasma cutting of aluminum

Plasma cutting of aluminum is the ideal way to get a high quality cut of non-ferrous metal.

Only inert gases. hydrogen, argon or nitrogen. are used to produce the plasma which is necessary for treating aluminum and its alloys sheets.

Active gases such as air and oxygen. designed to produce plasma for cutting ferrous metal.

Using compressed air, the plasma cutter works on aluminum and aluminum alloys, provided that the thickness of the workpiece does not exceed 70 mm.

It is not recommended to use a gas mixture combining nitrogen and argon for plasma cutting of aluminum because it is designed for cutting 50 mm thick high-alloy steel.

The use of pure nitrogen gas is possible for cutting aluminum with a workpiece thickness up to 20 mm.

But nitrogen in combination with hydrogen can cut aluminium and its alloys up to 100 mm thick.

Argon gas with hydrogen, can be used to cut aluminum materials with a thickness of more than 100 mm.

There should not be more than 20% hydrogen in the argon gas, which is good for the stability of the burning arc.

Features of cutting aluminum with an angle grinder

It is difficult to perform high-precision cutting of soft metals with an angle grinder, especially for aluminum. Viscous in its structure of the material in the process of work causes difficulties and requires the use of specific actions.

For example, to cut a sheet metal or some aluminum workpiece with a large thickness, drop kerosene on the working seam.

In this case, the kerosene acts as a lubricant and prevents the cutting wheel of the angle grinder binds in the metal.

When working with an angle grinder it is necessary to strictly follow the safety rules and all the time to control that at the expense of kerosene does not appear ignition.

When buying a disc for an angle grinder, you need to know what material the disc is designed to work on.

Otherwise, the wrong wheel, not only will not perform the task at hand, but can cause unexpected injury.

Therefore, when selecting a cutting wheel for sawing aluminium, it is advisable to pay attention to the cut surface.

Exactly on it the manufacturer specifies what diameter the product has, and for what material the circle is designed.

In addition, the cutting circle for the angle grinder has a designation of the size of the seating hole, as well as an indication of the allowed number of revolutions, other marks on the specifics of operation.

It is very important when working with an angle grinder do not forget that the circle can only be affected by the radial force.

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