Is it possible to cut aluminum with an angle grinder?. Waterjet cutting
Dissection with a 60,000 PSI Waterjet
Cutting aluminum with a burr-free angle grinder
Hi friends! In this short post I want to share how you can cut aluminum with an angle grinder, the usual metal cutting wheel.
It would seem, what’s the big deal, just take it and cut! But it was not there, especially when it comes to the need to cut a thick sheet 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.
Features of machining aluminum
Cutting soft metals raises a lot of questions. aluminum in particular. For processing such material, there is a great variety of sawing heads with different diameters. They also produce grinding wheels for aluminum. Description of cutting wheels for angle grinder should begin with their dimensions. So, the outer diameter of such products ranges from 125 mm to 230 mm. The thickness of cutting nozzles ranges from 1 to 3.2 mm. As a rule, a larger saw blade diameter corresponds to a wider blade width. As for the circles of small diameter, their thickness can be any, depending on the purpose.
When it comes to aluminum, grinding wheels with a thickness of about 1 mm are used for it. This choice is due to the low-melting point of the metal. When working with a thick nozzle, aluminum becomes viscous from friction and begins to clog the abrasive wheel with its particles. In this situation the disk simply stops cutting.
As for the configuration and coating of the cutting part, the most common grinding wheels for aluminum have a fine diamond coating and a cutting edge in the form of several sectors. In essence, it is a concrete saw blade. It is convenient to perform work on cutting aluminum structures. For example, to cut a profile. This circular saw blade has a minimum diameter of 12.5 cm.
The maximum diameter of 23 cm is most often multifunctional and cuts not only metals but also concrete, plastic pipes and even wood with nails.
It must be said that just by looking at it, it is almost impossible to understand the exact purpose of such a nozzle. Therefore, when buying, it is best to consult a retailer or study the specifications on the disc itself.
Used for roughing and finishing of metal, wood, plastic, and other materials. While a deburring disc is a sturdy composite abrasive, a grinding disc is a symbiosis of an angle grinder and a regular emery cloth for efficient and fast sanding. Ideal if you need to smooth out uneven corners, remove burrs, and do finishing work after a rough scraping wheel. Also great for removing large amounts of wood.
Laser beam cutting of aluminum is possible on solid and gas powered devices. The latter are considered preferable because they work continuously (the former only in pulse mode).
An air stream is introduced in parallel with the laser beam to the work area, blowing molten metal off the edge. This is how to achieve a smooth surface at the output.
Specialists recommend performing laser cutting at low speeds to minimize the chance of deformations. For the same purpose it is advised to use nitrogen.
Work with the installations is elementary. in the program the parameters are set according to the drawing, the equipment is started, and the user waits until the end of the work. In addition to minimizing the use of human resources, the advantages of laser cutting is the economy of energy, as well as the low cost of equipment (compared to waterjet cutting). The disadvantages are few, but there are some:
- the key element is the laser; if it fails, all the equipment becomes defective, and the work stops;
- cutting speed is high, but not variable;
- the indispensable condition. the thickness of aluminum is less than 20 mm.
Basic safety rules for working with metal
How to cut metal properly? The basic rules of the process:
- The specialist should arm himself with protective goggles when working with an angle grinder, take shields, to avoid getting sparks, small metal particles into the eyes.
- It is advisable to protect all parts of the body. On the hands should wear protective gloves, not cotton, they are easily flammable.
- When cutting metal with the angle grinder it is necessary to remove nearby objects, especially flammable ones.
- Always workpieces to be clamped in the machine or vice. You should not hold it with your hand, do not squeeze it with your feet.
- When installing a new disc, rotate it at maximum speed and keep the angle grinder away from yourself.
- If the disk is defective, it can break into small pieces and injure.
- The angle grinder’s guard must be adjusted, securely fastened. It is installed to protect your eyes from flying particles.
- The craftsman must remember, when changing discs or while resting, the machine must be unplugged.
- Do not change the disc while the angle grinder is on.
- Move around the work area only when the angle grinder is off.
- If the light is accidentally switched off, the angle grinder must be switched off to prevent it from being switched back on again unexpectedly.
Do not put instead of the disc cutters, saws, it is strictly forbidden. It is necessary to comply with safety rules and to minimize the possibility of injury.
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Varieties and rules of choice of diamond cutting discs for angle grinder
Diamond cutting discs or as they are also called, diamond wheels, have a number of advantages over conventional abrasive counterparts. They have substantially superior properties in terms of resource, cutting accuracy and performance. Next we will see how to choose a diamond blade for the grinder, the types of discs there and what their advantage is.
The wheels with diamond edges for waterless cutting were first made in the design offices of Sankyo Diamond Tools, a division of Hitachi, Japan.
The first time a lot of technology was applied, as the circles were not reliable enough and promptly failed.
For example, the diamonds and the cutting part were attached to the steel base by high temperature brazing. In the process, when there was a lot of friction force, the alloy heated up, the solder melted, and the working part just fell off. With water cooling such circles worked more or less acceptable, but with dry friction their life was small.
The fact that the diamond is cut, and wipes it into dust, large frictional forces are accompanied by a sharp heat, the heat does not have time to be removed through the body of the circle, not Considering that
, Despite having special notches, they deform when heated.
Shape configurations are insignificant and do not threaten to destroy, but the strength of the connection is badly affected.
Sankyo Diamond engineers also invented other solutions for sintering the working part and the base under slight pressure. The joint is strong and can withstand much higher temperatures.
Thus, it was possible to make segmented and hard discs, resistant to heat and deformation. The development is still in use.
2nd solution. Laser welding at the molecular level. Only segmented grinding wheels are produced using this technology. In terms of durability and reliability both types of disks are actually similar, although almost all masters believe that the laser-welded disks are better.
Distinction of the discs according to the arrangement of the diamonds
Artificial diamonds are fixed in the working rim in a certain order. There are circles with uniform dispersion, when in any of the selected units of length or sector is an equal number of crystals.
But there are also circles, in which diamonds are placed with a certain period (the so-called sandwich). They are more productive, produce less force on the tool, cool down more effectively, and distribute the force more evenly.
Choice of cutting type
Cutting is usually done with water, in which case the procedure is Dustless.
In addition, water can increase the efficiency of work, also increase the resource of the tool. Because the process must be continuous, the speed of work will increase. (See also the article Gasconcrete stinazhnik: Features.)
But water is not always near the work area. In this case, dry cutting should be done. The process of dry cutting should be intermittent, in other words it consists of a couple of cuts.
Cutting concrete along the intended mowing strip
Features of plasma cutting in aluminum
Plasma cutting of aluminum is the ideal way to get a high quality cut of non-ferrous metal. Only inactive gases, such as hydrogen, argon or nitrogen, are used to produce the plasma required to cut sheets of aluminum and its alloys.
Active gases, such as air and oxygen, are designed to form plasma for cutting ferrous metal.
It is not recommended to use a gas mixture that combines nitrogen with argon for plasma cutting of aluminum, because it is designed for cutting 50 mm of high-alloy steel.
The use of pure nitrogen gas is possible for cutting aluminum with a material thickness up to 20 mm.
But nitrogen in combination with hydrogen, allows to cut aluminum and its various alloys, with a thickness of 100 mm.
Features of plasma cutting aluminum
Plasma cutting of aluminium is ideal for producing high quality cuts in base metals.
Only inert gases. hydrogen, argon or nitrogen. are used to produce the plasma required for cutting aluminium and its alloys sheets.
Active gases, such as air and oxygen, are designed to form plasma to cut ferrous metal.
aluminium and aluminium alloys can be machined with the plasma cutter using compressed air, provided that the product thickness does not exceed 70 mm.
A gas mixture combining nitrogen and argon is not recommended for plasma aluminum cutting because it is designed for cutting 50 mm high-alloy steel.
The use of pure nitrogen gas is possible for cutting aluminum with a workpiece thickness of up to 20 mm.
But nitrogen in combination with hydrogen allows to cut aluminum and its different alloys with the thickness of 100 mm.
Argon gas with hydrogen, can be used for cutting aluminum materials, with thicknesses over 100 mm.
At the same time there must not be more than 20% of hydrogen in the argon gas, which is good for the stability of the burning arc.
Grinding brushes are something like a corrugator that is rounded and put on an angle grinder. Extremely effective for removing rust and old flaking paint. It can also be used to remove hardened cement and dirt from tools and gardening equipment.
In stores, sanding brushes are usually available either as a wire disc or as a wire bowl. Discs are used for crevices, tight spaces, corners, and hard-to-reach places. Bowls are great for working large surfaces.
The wire on the sanding brushes can be thin or thick, plain or woven. Twisting the wire makes it even stronger. So if aggressive and rough treatment is needed, use the thick and twisted wire brushes. They will make “mincemeat” out of most coatings, so only use them if you want to completely clean the surface layer. Make sure that the product you are going to work with is strong enough, otherwise the wire brush can damage it.
If you want to remove paint from more delicate objects without scratching or damaging parts, use less aggressive brushes. For example, for removing paint from a motorcycle, a combination of a straight and fine bristle brush and an abrasive disc of nylon impregnated with an organosilicon compound would work. Cheap alternative to sandblasting.