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Hints, Tips and Solutions (Do NOT post requests for help here) If you have any useful general hints and tips for vintage technology repair and restoration, please share them here. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 15th Jan 2018, 10:55 pm   #1
JHGibson
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Default Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

I sometimes need to cut small pieces, sometimes with a straight edge, sometimes curved, from a large sheet of one sixteenth thick aluminium.Not having a guillotine I must use what the average home workshop has.
My main cutting tool is a jig saw with a fine tooth blade, but making a cut with half the sheet hanging over the work bench edge does not do a good job.
I found that if I place a piece of 2 inch thick rigid styrofoam on the floor and place my work piece on it then I obtain very good control of the jig saw and can cut a good edge with practice. The cut edge can be smoothed with a file.
John.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 11:34 pm   #2
Bazz4CQJ
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

I just wanted to double check; styrofoam is 'expanded polystyrene' . Now, do all Canadians talk about aluminium, or are you a Brit who has escaped John?

Guess this would work on other sheet material. I recently had to take a few mm off the edge of a large, thin plastic panel and I used a mini-drill with a burr. Did a fair job but took very long time.

B
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 11:55 pm   #3
JHGibson
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

Hi Bazz, Yes I escaped! Expanded polystyrene is called styrofoam in this neck of the woods.
John.
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 12:46 am   #4
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

Interesting method. I’m using a set of left right and straight cut aviation shears. Clean cut every time. Only big problem is that you end up with blisters very quickly. Suggest wrapping the handles in insulation tape several times. Seems to keep the skin on!

Now folding it without a brake is where I come unstuck.
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 7:57 am   #5
Bobdger
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

Hi Bazz

Styrofoam is an extruded polystyrene and is uniquely identified by its blue colour. It was first developed and produced in the 1940's by Dow Chemical in the USA. Rapid Electronics list it.

Bob
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 8:43 am   #6
kellys_eye
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

I still use the sharp blade, scoring and bending method to cut sheet aluminium.
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 8:58 am   #7
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

A relevant topic, I'm currently thinking of buying an electric 'nibbling' cutter - does anyone have experience of these tools?

Andy
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 9:25 am   #8
barrymagrec
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

I had an attachment type some years ago - it was O.K. for a while but soon started to create large burrs and jam up. - I suspect some are much better than others.
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 9:53 am   #9
MrBungle
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

Same experience. Mine was from Machine Mart. I'm using a hand nibbler now and keeping things for very small apertures in enclosures, mainly because it's hard work and I'm lazy
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 9:59 am   #10
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

I not thinking of an attachment type, I've always found attachments to be rather unbalanced and clumsy.
I'm thinking of a tool which will cope with up to 1.5mm mild steel. The trouble is there are so many, at all sorts of prices, and I guess you get what you pay for, as always.
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 10:06 am   #11
Craig Sawyers
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

I'm lucky in the I own a bandsaw with an accurately set adjustable fence; with the right blade it makes short work of cutting aluminium sheet. If I need a curved piece, I cut a rectangular piece first, then mark the curved line and cut freehand.

I realise that this is luxury, but my main hobby is amateur cabinet making and a good bandsaw is an essential piece of kit.
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 10:09 am   #12
Rod H
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

I still use a simple and very effective little tool callled a Goscut Eclipse 2000, purchased around 1972 and so named after its inventor Tony Goss. It works a bit like a hand-gripped guillotine Unfortunately they're no longer available, but used ones seem to be available on eBay.
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 10:51 am   #13
John M0GLN
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

For deburring a straight cut in aluminium a woodworkers plane with a cast iron sole will give a perfect edge.

John
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 11:00 am   #14
Craig Sawyers
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

Just don't expect it to be much use for wood afterwards
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 11:30 am   #15
John M0GLN
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

If there is any dulling of the blade it takes just a few seconds to touch it up, I've never really noticed it and I use mine mainly for hard woods.

John
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 12:26 pm   #16
TrevorG3VLF
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

I bought a nibbler attachment at a car boot sale and was told that it needed a powerful dril to operate. I dimantled it with difficulty and found a bearing slightly over half inch. I contacted the makers to find the correct size and was told the firm has moved to Australia. After pictures were exchanged, I was sent new parts free of charge from Australia so I now have a spare cutter and anvil. I find it difficult to accurately follow a line but it works well on aluminium.

I have also got a hand driven double shear which cuts out a narrow strip which curls up. The pieces left are not distorted as with shears.

My work for REMAP has now stopped so have not used either tool recently.
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 1:50 pm   #17
Nickthedentist
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod H View Post
I still use a simple and very effective little tool callled a Goscut Eclipse 2000, purchased around 1972 and so named after its inventor Tony Goss. It works a bit like a hand-gripped guillotine Unfortunately they're no longer available, but used ones seem to be available on eBay.
https://vads.ac.uk/diad/bres/pub/COID/241/62.jpg
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 4:27 pm   #18
Herald1360
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazz4CQJ View Post
Now, do all Canadians talk about aluminium, or are you a Brit who has escaped John?
Canada uses aluminium anyway.

(And has "limited" companies not "incorporated" ones, too.)
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Old 19th Jan 2018, 3:09 pm   #19
BigClick
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

This video shows how determination can get the job done without a brake press

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p--jwtsT-M

watch from 5.30 for the bendy metal bit
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 12:23 am   #20
Oliver35
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Default Re: Cutting Aluminium Sheet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBungle View Post
Now folding it without a brake is where I come unstuck.
I once formed a couple of aluminium chassis for a project by bending them up in a Workmate, with two lengths of steel angle lining the clamping edges. Pushing over the tail of the sheet with a sizeable block of wood to avoid distortion resulted in a pretty reasonable fold. Wouldn't care to do it with anything stiffer, though.

Regards,

Oliver
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