Cutting plate or sheet aluminium can be a highly dangerous task, especially if you do not have access to the proper metal cutting machinery. If you improperly cut the aluminium or do not follow the proper safety precautions, you may find yourself sans an important body part and with a ruined piece of metal. Use the following tips to ensure you cut your aluminium safely:
One way to effectively cut aluminium is with a jig saw and a file (that you use to clean up the edges once you have finished). A wood saw that can use a hack saw blade (with 18 teeth per inch, not 32 teeth) could also work. Otherwise, you may find a fine saw blade or a drop saw suitable.
Try to avoid using a grinder to cut through aluminium, as it tends to roughen up the edges and has even been known to tear the metal. The disc on your grinder is also known to become clogged up (making cutting difficult) and could even explode, as aluminium can cause it to heat up much quicker than other metals.
Wherever possible, you should try to use tungsten carbide tipped blades, as these tend to cut through aluminium much better than other materials and cause less dangerous issues. You should also clamp a straight edge to the aluminium to ensure that you are cutting it in a straight line.
For larger blades, it is recommended that you have an experienced helper with you while you cut, as they will be able to spray the blade and surrounding aluminium with oil to prevent it from getting too hot. If the blade does get too hot, it is likely that small shards of aluminium will begin sticking to it, which can cause the saw to kickback and cut your legs or torso.
Make sure that you wear proper safety gear whenever you are cutting aluminium, especially thick work gloves and eye goggles or a full-face mask. If even a small shard of aluminium were to fly out and hit you, it could cause serious damage. It is also a good idea to wear earmuffs, as some of the equipment used to cut through aluminium can be quite noisy.
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