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Raimy
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September 27, 2017, 11:02:38 AM
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So, I decided to try my hand at making one of those open air frames I have seen around. I found a place that sells 1" square aluminium tubing and plastic connectors to make what I want.

My question is how do I cut the dang stuff. I have tried a hack saw, which works but it is hard to get clean square cuts. I have also tried a metal cutting wheel, but it left too many metal burrs to clean up afterwards. I was thinking maybe a band saw with a jig might work well, but I don't have one. Any tips from people who have gone through this, preferably without having to buy expensive shop equipment?

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September 27, 2017, 11:54:18 AM
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So, I decided to try my hand at making one of those open air frames I have seen around. I found a place that sells 1" square aluminium tubing and plastic connectors to make what I want.

My question is how do I cut the dang stuff. I have tried a hack saw, which works but it is hard to get clean square cuts. I have also tried a metal cutting wheel, but it left too many metal burrs to clean up afterwards. I was thinking maybe a band saw with a jig might work well, but I don't have one. Any tips from people who have gone through this, preferably without having to buy expensive shop equipment?

Rent a chop saw. Get a 10 inch - 12 inch with a metal cutting disk.  Makes nice square cuts. You may still have a slight burr at the end of the cut but a file will take care of that nicely.  Good luck with your project.

BR

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September 27, 2017, 12:11:56 PM
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I cut angled aluminum using a 32 tooth hacksaw blade and a Miter box. I hold the aluminum in the miter box with clamps, so it doesn't move. Works well and cheap. You can also use fine grit emery cloth sandpaper to smooth out the ends.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-12-in-Plastic-Miter-Box-121PMB12/204748777
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September 27, 2017, 01:05:23 PM
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So, I decided to try my hand at making one of those open air frames I have seen around. I found a place that sells 1" square aluminium tubing and plastic connectors to make what I want.

My question is how do I cut the dang stuff. I have tried a hack saw, which works but it is hard to get clean square cuts. I have also tried a metal cutting wheel, but it left too many metal burrs to clean up afterwards. I was thinking maybe a band saw with a jig might work well, but I don't have one. Any tips from people who have gone through this, preferably without having to buy expensive shop equipment?

Rent a chop saw. Get a 10 inch - 12 inch with a metal cutting disk.  Makes nice square cuts. You may still have a slight burr at the end of the cut but a file will take care of that nicely.  Good luck with your project.

BR

Yeah, I tried that already, that is what I meant by the metal cutting wheel earlier. It did make the cuts nice and square but the deburring afterwards was a real pain and took more time than using a hacksaw.

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September 27, 2017, 03:55:14 PM
 #5

I cut angled aluminum using a 32 tooth hacksaw blade and a Miter box. I hold the aluminum in the miter box with clamps, so it doesn't move. Works well and cheap. You can also use fine grit emery cloth sandpaper to smooth out the ends.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-12-in-Plastic-Miter-Box-121PMB12/204748777

I was thinking along this line as well. As I mentioned, I have tried a hacksaw and it cuts it pretty well by hand but the angle tends to get off somewhat and over several cuts it starts to get out of hand. While it would be still functional, it makes the frames look rather sloppy. I know this would not affect the mining, but if I am spending the extra $$ for nice aluminum tubing I want it to look nice when finished.

I will try to find a miter box and you linked and see how that works.

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September 27, 2017, 04:19:33 PM
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I cut angled aluminum using a 32 tooth hacksaw blade and a Miter box. I hold the aluminum in the miter box with clamps, so it doesn't move. Works well and cheap. You can also use fine grit emery cloth sandpaper to smooth out the ends.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-12-in-Plastic-Miter-Box-121PMB12/204748777

I was thinking along this line as well. As I mentioned, I have tried a hacksaw and it cuts it pretty well by hand but the angle tends to get off somewhat and over several cuts it starts to get out of hand. While it would be still functional, it makes the frames look rather sloppy. I know this would not affect the mining, but if I am spending the extra $$ for nice aluminum tubing I want it to look nice when finished.

I will try to find a miter box and you linked and see how that works.

The mitre box helps you to keep the blade angle straight while cutting. The clamps keeps the piece from moving. The fine tooth blade will also help smooth out the cuts and you can use an emery cloth to even out any small differences.
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September 28, 2017, 12:26:35 AM
 #7

Hacksaw + miter box.

Circular saw + metal cutting blade.

Table saw + metal cutting blade.

Square tubing is EASY to get square cuts on as compared to round tubing (though the miter box and table saw methods both work well on round tubing, the circular saw method is iffier).



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September 28, 2017, 12:57:09 AM
 #8

I used a cheap electric Mitre Saw with a metal cutting blade to do mine, I think it was AU$150 all up.

http://www.supercheapauto.com.au/Product/Rockwell-ShopSeries-Mitre-Saw-210mm-1200-Watt/523342

https://www.bunnings.com.au/irwin-210mm-60t-aluminium-circular-saw-blade_p6371512

Totally worth it, as I was building 4x rigs up! It saved a lot of manual sawing  Smiley

TIP: Wrap the area you're cutting with insulation tape! This leaves the ends really clean so you don't have to file them afterwards  Grin

Cheers,
Matt
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September 28, 2017, 06:31:10 AM
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A proper circular saw blade cuts aluminum profile like butter. I used this one with great results: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Diablo-10-in-x-84-Tooth-Laminate-Non-Ferrous-Metal-Cutting-Saw-Blade-D1084L/100660707
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October 05, 2017, 02:18:14 PM
 #10

Thanks for the suggestions so far!

I will report back that I did pick up one of those cheap plastic miter boxes from Home Depot (thanks Vann) and it does work a lot better then the free hand method I was trying before. However, since the hack saw blade is fairly narrow and cuts into the miter box, I think the box will only survive maybe one or two rigs worth of cutting before it needs to be replaced. While it was less than $5 so no big deal I think I would like to explore some other options as well.



A proper circular saw blade cuts aluminum profile like butter. I used this one with great results: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Diablo-10-in-x-84-Tooth-Laminate-Non-Ferrous-Metal-Cutting-Saw-Blade-D1084L/100660707

This looks like a good idea. I do have a cheap Craftsman 10" powered miter saw I could try out the Diablo blade with. It is a bit expensive though, how is the cleanup afterwards? I tried a chop saw type saw blade before and it left a lot of burrs around the cuts that required extensive cleanup with a file afterwards.




TIP: Wrap the area you're cutting with insulation tape! This leaves the ends really clean so you don't have to file them afterwards  Grin

Cheers,
Matt

Thanks Matt! Another great tip, I will try it if I buy the Diablo blade.

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October 06, 2017, 03:00:58 AM
 #11

Yep, the "Many toothed" blade (Like the Diablo) in a miter saw is the correct answer for a perfect cut.  I've installed a hundred shower doors and the threshold piece and header piece (made of aluminum) always need to be cut to fit.  Always used a miter saw with a wood blade that has a lot of teeth (finish Blade).  Just slow and easy ......
 
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October 06, 2017, 03:12:20 AM
 #12

So, I decided to try my hand at making one of those open air frames I have seen around. I found a place that sells 1" square aluminium tubing and plastic connectors to make what I want.

My question is how do I cut the dang stuff. I have tried a hack saw, which works but it is hard to get clean square cuts. I have also tried a metal cutting wheel, but it left too many metal burrs to clean up afterwards. I was thinking maybe a band saw with a jig might work well, but I don't have one. Any tips from people who have gone through this, preferably without having to buy expensive shop equipment?

Rent a chop saw. Get a 10 inch - 12 inch with a metal cutting disk.  Makes nice square cuts. You may still have a slight burr at the end of the cut but a file will take care of that nicely.  Good luck with your project.

BR

Yeah, I tried that already, that is what I meant by the metal cutting wheel earlier. It did make the cuts nice and square but the deburring afterwards was a real pain and took more time than using a hacksaw.

Do you have a dremal tool?
It removes the burrs fast.

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October 06, 2017, 11:19:04 AM
 #13

Yep, the "Many toothed" blade (Like the Diablo) in a miter saw is the correct answer for a perfect cut.  I've installed a hundred shower doors and the threshold piece and header piece (made of aluminum) always need to be cut to fit.  Always used a miter saw with a wood blade that has a lot of teeth (finish Blade).  Just slow and easy ......
 

Ok, so will any fine toothed wood saw blade work as well? I might want to try with a cheap fine toothed wood saw blade before spending $60 on the Diablo.

For example, here is a half priced one $30 at Home Depot but it really only says it cuts wood in the description.  http://www.homedepot.com/p/Makita-10-in-x-5-8-in-80-Teeth-Micro-Polished-Miter-Saw-Blade-A-93681/203429772


Do you have a dremal tool?
It removes the burrs fast.


Yes I do have a Dremel and did use that for bur cleanup, but those coarse stone type cutting wheels really, really leave a mess. A cleaner initial cuts seems to be the ticket. Plus now that I have discovered the joys of aluminum tubing, I have some other non-mining related projects in mind. That is why I am interested in clean square cuts, as if just for one or two rigs I could tough it out, but for a larger project deburring will take up a lot of time.

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October 06, 2017, 12:10:30 PM
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without having shop equipment you will have to remove burrs on one side of any cut.  Just the way it is.  I have a horizontal bandsaw, high end one that does well but it still leaves a tiny burr.  That thing was 3K.  The mfg shops have what I have, but super high speed and of course much better.
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October 06, 2017, 03:42:42 PM
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The Diablo 10" 84 tooth blade I mentioned above does not leave any burrs to clean up. Lasts forever too. I had it for like 8 years and it's still going strong. Recently loaned it to a friend for this exact purpose and he was super happy with the results after building 4 rigs.

I mounted it on a cheap ass Hitachi miter saw which costs like $100 or less. Originally I was using it to cut some large 8020 alu profiles a few years ago: https://www.8020.net and it went through 2"x4" stuff like it was wood.

Later I bought another blade like that for my cheap table saw to cut plastics. It's a night and day compared to the stock free blade that comes with a $100 saw. Good investment in my opinion.

The key difference is carbide teeth welded onto that Diablo blade. They stay sharp 10x longer than any hardened steel you can find on cheaper tools. Titanium Carbide is the way to go when it comes to cutting. They are much sharper out of the gate and stay sharp literally forever unless you run them into some real hard material like steel or carbon fiber and such. And of course sharpness and high speed is the key to burr-free cuts. You can use cutting oil or even WD-40 spray to make perfect cuts even better and prolong the tool life.

Final Edit: WEAR EYE PROTECTION!
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October 06, 2017, 07:05:19 PM
 #16

The Diablo 10" 84 tooth blade I mentioned above does not leave any burrs to clean up. Lasts forever too. I had it for like 8 years and it's still going strong. Recently loaned it to a friend for this exact purpose and he was super happy with the results after building 4 rigs.

I mounted it on a cheap ass Hitachi miter saw which costs like $100 or less. Originally I was using it to cut some large 8020 alu profiles a few years ago: https://www.8020.net and it went through 2"x4" stuff like it was wood.

Later I bought another blade like that for my cheap table saw to cut plastics. It's a night and day compared to the stock free blade that comes with a $100 saw. Good investment in my opinion.

The key difference is carbide teeth welded onto that Diablo blade. They stay sharp 10x longer than any hardened steel you can find on cheaper tools. Titanium Carbide is the way to go when it comes to cutting. They are much sharper out of the gate and stay sharp literally forever unless you run them into some real hard material like steel or carbon fiber and such. And of course sharpness and high speed is the key to burr-free cuts. You can use cutting oil or even WD-40 spray to make perfect cuts even better and prolong the tool life.

Final Edit: WEAR EYE PROTECTION!

Thanks for the additional information. I think you may have talked me into getting the Diablo blade. I plan to use it in a cheap Craftsman miter saw I have had for a few years already. I may dedicate that saw to metal purposes and then for wood I have had my eye on a nice Dewalt sliding miter saw for awhile and maybe this will give me an excuse to get one for Christmas. Smiley

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October 06, 2017, 07:10:24 PM
 #17

without having shop equipment you will have to remove burrs on one side of any cut.  Just the way it is.  I have a horizontal bandsaw, high end one that does well but it still leaves a tiny burr.  That thing was 3K.  The mfg shops have what I have, but super high speed and of course much better.

Yeah, a tiny burr I would be fine with as I could run a quick couple of stokes with a file or a quick buzz with the Dremel. The cutting wheel I was talking about left burrs on all 4 sides of the square tubing and rugged ones at that. I spent maybe 5 minutes per cut afterward with a Dremel and filing them out. Maybe I just had a junk wheel but I know aluminium must be must easier to cut. Thanks to everyone's responses, I think I now have some good ideas to try.

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October 09, 2017, 04:46:39 PM
 #18

The Diablo 10" 84 tooth blade I mentioned above does not leave any burrs to clean up. Lasts forever too. I had it for like 8 years and it's still going strong. Recently loaned it to a friend for this exact purpose and he was super happy with the results after building 4 rigs.

I mounted it on a cheap ass Hitachi miter saw which costs like $100 or less. Originally I was using it to cut some large 8020 alu profiles a few years ago: https://www.8020.net and it went through 2"x4" stuff like it was wood.

Later I bought another blade like that for my cheap table saw to cut plastics. It's a night and day compared to the stock free blade that comes with a $100 saw. Good investment in my opinion.

The key difference is carbide teeth welded onto that Diablo blade. They stay sharp 10x longer than any hardened steel you can find on cheaper tools. Titanium Carbide is the way to go when it comes to cutting. They are much sharper out of the gate and stay sharp literally forever unless you run them into some real hard material like steel or carbon fiber and such. And of course sharpness and high speed is the key to burr-free cuts. You can use cutting oil or even WD-40 spray to make perfect cuts even better and prolong the tool life.

Final Edit: WEAR EYE PROTECTION!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

I was at Home Depot this morning and figured what the heck I'll buy it (the Diablo) and give it a go. It is exactly like you said, it cuts the square tubes like a hot knife through butter. All of my cuts are now perfectly square and burr free, I think I have made like 50 cuts already it is so great.

The only drawback, and not really a huge deal, is the small aluminum shavings everywhere. I went ahead and moved my sawhorses outside and set up a wood plank to mount my miter saw on. I am also using a vacuum attachment to the back of the miter saw (instead of the dust bag that was on there) but there are still plenty of those small shavings floating around on the breeze. Just a warning to anyone else who buy this, it cuts slick but there will be small metal particles everywhere so plan on using it outside.

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October 09, 2017, 05:18:42 PM
 #19

Glad to hear it works as advertised  Wink

Just make sure you don't cut steel with it and it will last forever.

It works wonders on plastics too, especially the ones prone to melting or cracking. Indispensable for cutting acrylic, polycarbonate, ABS, PVC and such. I also used it to cut rubber, which is usually a very difficult material. Try to cut a shoe sole made of polyurethane with a regular saw blade (or any other tool) and you will see what I mean. Sharpest tools rule!
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