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Machinists / metalworkers / enginerds -- please step inside >>>

Discussion in 'Garage / Workshop' started by BenWA, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Sep 6, 2011 at 2:50 PM
    #1
    BenWA

    BenWA [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I need to mill some aluminum stock but I don't have access to a milling machine. I basically have a piece of 3/8" thick Al that is 1"W x 10"L and I need to remove 1/8" of the thickness on part of the piece (don't know what you call it in metalworking, but it is the equivalent of a dado in cabinetmaking).

    Is there a "poor man's" way to mill aluminum (such as using a carbide spiral router bit in a drill press)? i don't care if the procedure takes a long time, i just don't want it to look like a hack job.

    I asked a machine shop how much it would cost and they quoted me something absurd like $200 and they required a CAD drawing and everything. What I had in mind was more like a 5 minute job done by eyeball that shouldn't cost more than a few dollars.

    Any ideas??
     
  2. Sep 6, 2011 at 7:47 PM
    #2
    ME87

    ME87 New Member

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    This could potentially get you killed so take it with a grain of salt, but....

    I have cut 3 and 4" thick AL with a circular saw. It works pretty well actually. that's the safe part.

    Knowing that you may be able to do the same operation on a table saw multiple times to get the job done, but table saws and circular saws are different animals. I've never tried this and cannot say if it will work or if it safe.

    You can mail your part to me with a rough drawing and a enough money to get it back to you and I'll do it on a mill if you'd like. Good luck
     
  3. Sep 6, 2011 at 7:52 PM
    #3
    OZ-T

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    Router with a straight cutting bit and a straight edge clamped to both side of the base , light passes and lube
     
  4. Sep 6, 2011 at 7:54 PM
    #4
    tinker_troy

    tinker_troy Wo die weißen Frauen an?

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    ^this

    google "router" and "aluminum" and you should be able to find some tips and a whole lot of discussion on whether it is safe or not.
     
  5. Sep 6, 2011 at 8:07 PM
    #5
    tinker_troy

    tinker_troy Wo die weißen Frauen an?

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  6. Sep 7, 2011 at 6:31 AM
    #6
    skytower

    skytower Well-Known Member

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    Hitch and wiring, aux back-up light, rear strobe lights, radio and underseat sub.
    Router, belt sander, grinder with sanding disc attached, band saw... Take your time and any of those ways will work. The router has the best possibility to lose a finger, the rest are more time consuming.
    Measure twice, take small amounts of material off at a time, and test fit often.
     
  7. Sep 7, 2011 at 6:41 AM
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    Bloodhound

    Bloodhound Space For Rent

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    Could just drop it off at a machine shop in your area that uses manual machines, not CNC. The charge you were quoted was most likely for a "set-up/programming" fee.

    How soon do you need it? I could do that at work if you could get me some kind of drawing or take a picture of what you have, marking what you want cut with black marker and giving me some measurements I've got plenty of scrap aluminum lying around at work. You would need to pay shipping though.
     
  8. Sep 7, 2011 at 11:51 AM
    #8
    BenWA

    BenWA [OP] Well-Known Member

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    What kind of RPM's are typical for a milling machine that cuts aluminum? My concern about a router is that they are way to high of an RPM. That's why I thought a drill press may be better.
     
  9. Sep 7, 2011 at 11:54 AM
    #9
    OZ-T

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    You can use woodworking bits and tools on aluminum , not a big deal , aluminum boat building shops do it here all the time .

    As for specific RPM , I can't remember what I had mine set at when I milled my RelentlessFab bumper foglight wells .

    I think around 12000
     
  10. Sep 7, 2011 at 11:57 AM
    #10
    BenWA

    BenWA [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yeah exactly, I couldn't find a machine shop nearby that isn't some high-tech aerospace parts production shop that has a $200-$1000 CNC set up fee. I was considering trying to find a local technical college with a machine shop and ask the shop keeper if he could do small machining jobs.


    Well I'm trying to figure out a way to produce some parts for my rear sliding window mod kit, so it's more of an ongoing goal than just a one-time deal. If you check out my window mod thread, there's one window bracket part that I've been making by bending a strip of aluminum. I would rather make a machined part because it would be quicker, more reproducible, and way cleaner looking.
     
  11. Sep 7, 2011 at 12:02 PM
    #11
    OZ-T

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    Ok , I though you meant a one off , if you want a consistently manufactured repetitve piece , machine shop is the way to go .
     
  12. Sep 7, 2011 at 12:24 PM
    #12
    Andres

    Andres Well-Known Member Vendor

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    I have access to some machines. Send me a sketch/print and I'll see what I can do.

    -Andres
     
  13. Sep 7, 2011 at 6:34 PM
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    Bloodhound

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    Well....once you have a working, functional part that you are happy with, they can blueprint from there and mass-produce from CNC. We do that all the time at work, more often than not though with the cost of setting up a CNC, programming, initial investment the work gets done by hand. Kinda depends on how many you plan to have made in at a time...
     
  14. Sep 7, 2011 at 6:38 PM
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    Bloodhound

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    FAST!, about the only thing you cut faster is delrin, UHMW, ABS (plastics which can obviously melt) and brass.

    There's a formula/calculator located here:
    http://www.littlemachineshop.com/Reference/CuttingSpeeds.php
     
  15. Sep 7, 2011 at 6:52 PM
    #15
    KenLyns

    KenLyns Lord of War

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    Never had luck with any tool that can substitute a mill. The endmill cutter tends to grab onto the piece and butcher it.

    You need high lateral stiffness in the endmill chuck and high stiffness in the workholding vise. That's why a wood router or drill press with X-Y vise won't work.

    You could get one of these. Note for milling, the drill chuck comes out and a standard R8 collet goes in to hold the endmill.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Sep 7, 2011 at 6:59 PM
    #16
    OZ-T

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    You mean for this application or in general ?
     
  17. Sep 7, 2011 at 7:00 PM
    #17
    KenLyns

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    For milling aluminum or steel in general.
     
  18. Sep 7, 2011 at 7:02 PM
    #18
    OZ-T

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    Lots of aluminum boat building shops here seem to make it work . I've had some decent luck the few times I've done it .
     
  19. Sep 7, 2011 at 7:05 PM
    #19
    KenLyns

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    If you are making through-cuts on a 2D piece like tinker_troy had in his photo, a router will work. Then again you can even send the design to a laser-cutting shop for cheap. Removing a portion of the piece's thickness (i.e. cutting a step into the piece) is another story.
     
  20. Sep 7, 2011 at 7:06 PM
    #20
    OZ-T

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    I got ya , so for the OP's application , not in general .
     
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