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Cutting a large chunk of nice aluminium into workable pieces

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Danny M2Z20/01/2019 05:41:14
740 forum posts
278 photos

A friend who works at a large engineering workshop did me a great favour,

For an $18 (Au) 'donation' to the brew club this 'offcut' duly arrived.

It's 20mm thick and harder than a witches t**s so my problem is how to cut it into practical sizes to fit into my X-3 mini-lathe and X2 Mill.

I am not looking forward to 'hacksaw solutions' but maybe the only way so it's going to be a pita although the exercise should do me well.

46° (about 117°F) here on Thursday, too hot to work in the den btw.

Any comments and tips about the machinability of this aluminium are most welcome.

* Danny M *

aluminium -2.jpg

aluminium -1.jpg

Thor20/01/2019 06:30:51
1102 forum posts
31 photos

Lucky you. A friend got a similar thickness off-cut of marine aluminium alloy and we used an angle grinder with an abrasive disk intended for use on aluminium and its alloys. A few cuts were made using a hacksaw, we had less than half your temperature though. I have used a chunk of it to make a housing for a small turbine I'm working on.


Sam Longley 120/01/2019 06:48:33
718 forum posts
26 photos

First you need to decide what you want to make with the pieces.

It would be silly to cut it up & then find that you needed a manhole cover that sizesad

then a thin abrasive blade in an angle grinder perhaps?

Edited By Sam Longley 1 on 20/01/2019 06:49:52

JasonB20/01/2019 07:01:32
15776 forum posts
1650 photos
1 articles

Vertical bandsaw

You could always use say a 5mm dia cutter as the short length looks like it will be within the X3s x-axis travel and cut half way from each side.

Michael Gilligan20/01/2019 08:18:29
13580 forum posts
586 photos

For info. **LINK**

Some excellent characteristics yes

... concluding with 'Machinability poor' sad



Additional, on the difference between H111 and H112


Edited By Michael Gilligan on 20/01/2019 08:21:41

Chris Evans 620/01/2019 09:44:50
1442 forum posts

5083 should not be that tough, does the donor mates workplace have a bandsaw? They may cut it for another few dollars and save the sweat.

Involute Curve20/01/2019 10:08:21
328 forum posts
86 photos

I often cut 5083, 50mm thick on my bandsaw quite easily, its great stuff especially for welded parts as it retains its strength after welding unlike 6082 which requires heat treatment after welding in order to return to full strength.


Danny M2Z20/01/2019 18:22:44
740 forum posts
278 photos

Thanks for all the info people and especially the links from Michael Gilligan.

#1 G/F has a large vertical bandsaw in her workshop so I might ask about fitting a suitable blade and leaving it behind as payment.

I only want a few small slices to experiment with to see how it machines into model engine con-rods and compare it with the 2024 T3 that I currently use.

* Danny M *

Edited By Danny M2Z on 20/01/2019 18:23:22

John Reese20/01/2019 19:02:11
769 forum posts

I would use my tablesaw. I have a non-ferrous blade of triple chip design that works well. I have also cut aluminum with a hand held circular saw.. Either way listen to the saw motor. If it starts to pull down, feed more slowly. On the table saw chips flew everywhere. I put a cardboard box, open side down, over the work to contain the chips. If you have any electrical cords plugged i make sure theyare inserted fully into the receptacle. A fine piece of aluminum floating down onto the exposed prongs of a plug can get pretty exciting.

Neil Wyatt20/01/2019 19:22:14
16279 forum posts
681 photos
74 articles
Posted by Danny M2Z on 20/01/2019 18:22:44:

I only want a few small slices to experiment with to see how it machines into model engine con-rods and compare it with the 2024 T3 that I currently use.

Lop off a corner for minimum cutting and leaving the most useful large piece behind.


Vic20/01/2019 19:36:24
2174 forum posts
10 photos

They used to cut alloy plate up to 2” thick on a vertical bandsaw where I used to work. It took ages mind and several people for the bigger bits.

Derek Lane 220/01/2019 19:47:52
196 forum posts
48 photos

I have a piece of Ali sheet that is approx 1-meter square and 3mm thick I have left it as a complete piece as I do not know what to do with it and the minute I decided to cut it up it will end up being too small so will cut when needed. I do the same with wood always leave it whatever size I get it until needed then cut.

Ian S C21/01/2019 09:26:53
7427 forum posts
230 photos

As part of an article in ME about building an open crank engine, the builder obtained a large billet of aluminium, he needed to cut it up, so built a power hacksaw, I think there may have been a bit about it's construction.

Ian S C

Mike Poole21/01/2019 09:37:30
2019 forum posts
46 photos

Always leave your wood as long as you can for as long as you can.


The Novice Engineer21/01/2019 23:00:52
48 forum posts
20 photos

I successfully cut some 20mm Al plate on my Draper 350 Band Saw [this is NOT a dedicated metal cutting band saw] with a 6TPI blade, it helps to have a vacuum cleaner to suck up the chips

I also like to clean up any chips that get in side on to the rubber tyres before they get embedded.

Edited By The Novice Engineer on 21/01/2019 23:01:21

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