Any special tools for shaping Aluminum?

Discussion in 'General Modeling' started by Rook 3, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. Rook 3

    Rook 3 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    If you use a grinding wheel, the AL will melt and clog the surface of the wheel wrecking it. This is true for both fiber wheels and stone wheel grinders.

    If you use sandpaper/dremmel drums, the same.

    Is there a special tool designed just for grinding Aluminum?

    I don't have a milling machine. If I did this would all be irrelevent. :)

    Thanks in advance,

    Russ
     
  2. OdiWan72

    OdiWan72 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    What project are you working on Russ?

    I´m using everything from different sized files to grinding wheels, sandpaper etc. without any problem :unsure

    You´re right that the aluminium clogs the surface of the tools over time, but so does fg or resin :lol

    Markus
     
  3. Rook 3

    Rook 3 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'm not actively working on any project currently, just thinking of a near future one that is mostly aluminum in nature. I "saw someone" ruin (or at least really screw it up...) their father-in-law's bench grinder by grinding AL on it in the past, that's why I'm asking. :/ ;)

    Russ
     
  4. replicaprops

    replicaprops Official Licensee RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    50 to 80 grit sand paper on a belt sander will not glog. Use course ROLOC wheels on a drill press or angle grinder for light shaping and finish with sewn cotton buffing wheels and compound. I can cut through aluminum with a buffing wheel and pressure.
    For that matter, if you have a drill press, you can get a cross slide vise and use it as a milling machine.
     
  5. jddurst

    jddurst Active Member

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    Try a search for "Silicon Carbide" at McMaster-Carr. Also a google search for "Silicon Carbide Sanding Belts" will produce results. :thumbsup --jdd
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  6. Rook 3

    Rook 3 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I do have a "cheap" drill press. It's a bit sloppy at times, but it does work overall.

    Thanks for the suggestions/help everyone.

    Russ
     
  7. Rook 3

    Rook 3 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Do you think the Silicon Carbide bits would be suitable to make surface grooves such as these in AL plate?

    [​IMG]

    Russ
     
  8. Jedi Dade

    Jedi Dade Sr Member

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    That looks like a regular router set up would work to make thouse grooves. Routers are primarily used in wood working and use a modified drill bit and have a vraiablwe dept guage to stop the tool from drilling all the way though. It looks like a standard round bit and a router set to the correct depth would cut those type of grooves. I've never used a router on Aluminum but the bits are kind of self cleaning spitting the cut material aout as they cut. I've seem smaller set ups that do a similar thing with a dremel but I've never used it.

    Good luck,
    Jedi Dade
     
  9. Bobster

    Bobster Active Member

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    Those do not really look like surface grooves. If you look closely it looks like there are 2 sheets. The top sheet is cut all the way through. For that a solid dril bit or hole saw depending on the diameter could be used on each end. I would then use a saber saw or circular saw to cut the slot material out. If you wanted true slots on one part of aluminum a circular saw could also be used to “mill” a shallow slot if you were careful enough. I like the 2 sheet idea for slots as it allows milling effects without an actual milling machine. If you follow the 2 sheet approach you could also drill multiple holes along a length. It would be much faster than attempting to grind it out and much lower cost than a router bit.

    Regards,

    Bobby
     
  10. Rook 3

    Rook 3 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I did some reading up on the page I got the image from and you're correct, those are two sheets of AL, with one of them completely cut through.

    I need to decide how I'm going to proceed. I could drill a series of holes along a line, but I wonder how that will turn out in the end. Will it be all smooth, or will I be forced to use a grinder/dremmel to make it all even after all the drilling. I'd have to center punch all the "holes" because my drill press wanders a little if you don't.

    I've been looking at cross movement vises on ebay, and the prices are at times a bit high.

    Decisions, decisions. I wish the sheet metal place was open on the weekends. :)

    Russ
     
  11. Bobster

    Bobster Active Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>(Rook 3 @ Jul 8 2006, 07:52 PM) [snapback]1276944[/snapback]</div>
    Hi Russ, I have used 2 methods with the drill. 1. Drill holes that touch. Then use a course file to knock off the corners. Like most things it comes down to taking time. The more you take the better the end result. Best for small slots 2. Drill holes that overlap. Then use a course file to clean it up a bit. Best for large slots. If your drill press wanders like that it will not turn out that good. I suspect upgrading your drill press would be the best. A good old one can be had for not much money. Another option would be to get a good end mill. You could then mill it with the drill press but use the drill bit method. I have done the punch/drill/file with a hand drill before and it came out ok for usable slots. I would upgrade the drill press before buying a cross vice.

    Bobby
     
  12. Jedi Dade

    Jedi Dade Sr Member

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    That peice is definitely 2 peices. You can see in the pic that its "raised" by the plate backing the slots.

    Jedi Dade
     

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