working with steel or aluminum

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  #1  
Old 11-14-02, 12:28 PM
raywhitemn
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working with steel or aluminum

Can anyone give a few ideas on this.

I would like to make my own version of an aluminum training knife used in martial arts/police training. As seen hereTrainingblades.com

Typically 1/4'' aluminum is used. What type of powersaw and blade should I use to cut and what is typically used to grind it (round the edges). And where would I find a supplier of 1/4'' aluminum sheets?

Ray White
Minneapolis, MN
 
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  #2  
Old 11-15-02, 07:33 AM
S
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I delayed a bit in answering this post as I want to see others names here besides my own and also because a lot of people are way more familiar with alum than I am. You might stop by a welding shop somewhere that uses it as a supplier usually sells whole sheets or bars. You can often keep your eyes open and find scraps. You can cut it with a saber saw or sawzall. I like Millwaukee blades, for some reason they dont seem to clog on alum as bad. Strange but true. You need a metal cutting blade, 14 to 18 teeth per inch and cut with rather slow blade speeds. Fast makes too much heat and causes the blade to clog. As for grinding almost any kind of grinder will work. Course wheels cut fast and again alum is soft and tends to clog wheels. Then you can buff to get finish. I am not sure about your general tool situation if you dont have a 4 1/2 inch hand grinder its a good time to buy one. Spend 100$ or so on one and get 6 amp or better motor. VERY useful tool! They make thin cut off wheels for cutting steel and grinding wheels. Wire wheels for brushing. Buffing and polishing too. I have even ground wood and plactic,,, works great for grinding off nuts or bolts,,, rivits sharpening garden tools,, I can even sharpen a drill bit with one.
 
  #3  
Old 11-15-02, 09:35 AM
NutAndBoltKing
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Smile To find suppliers ......

...... go to http://www.TheBlueBook.com

Enter your location (city & state) what it is you are looking for (aluminum sheet stock) into their search and you'll be provided with nearly all the suppliers in your area.
 
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Old 11-15-02, 02:48 PM
T
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I've worked with aluminum some and it is very soft and ductile. To remove alot of stock, machining, by far is the fastest way to go. But, in lieu of that there are grinding wheels available with a more coarser structure that cut pretty well. Actually you can take an anglehead grinder as sberry says "a very useful tool" and do a decent job with ordinary wheels designed for steel. One trick I do is to keep a piece of scrap steel handy and when the wheel "loads up" just grind on the steel for a few seconds and your right back in business.As far as the cutting goes a jigsaw or sawzall work well with a coarse toothed blade. One thing I've found is to use some cutting fluid made for aluminum, or kerosene is sometimes used as well, when sawing it. You would be amazed how much better it cuts, keeps the heat down I think..........Good Luck with your project.
 
  #5  
Old 11-16-02, 12:28 PM
raywhitemn
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Cutting/Grinding Aluminum

Has anyone worked with a ROTOZIP? If so what are your oppinions.
 
  #6  
Old 11-29-02, 09:12 PM
suprsnic
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ALUMINUM OR STEEL

I HAVE MACHINED THE BLADES FOR SEVERAL KNIVES, MACHETES, ECT. I HAVE NOTICED THAT IF YOU FIND A STEEL THAT IS SHINNY IN IT'S RAW UNMACHINED, (NON HEAT TREATED STATE) THAT STEEL IS USUALLY HIGH IN CHROMIUM. CHROMIUM IS AN EXCELLENT CHARACTERISTIC FOR A EDGE HOLDING. DURING THE BLACKSMITHING ERA CARBON WAS BEAT DIRECTELY INTO RED GLOWING STEEL TO MAKE A KEEN EDGE TOOL. ROY UNDERHILL OF THE PBS SHOW ON SATURDAY MORNINGS IS A FANTASTIC REFERENCE FOR THIS TYPE OF APPLICATION.
MY PERSONAL CHOICE IS O1(OIL HARD) STEEL. IT IS AVAILABLE THROUGH TOOL AND DIE OR MACHINE SHOP SUPPLIERS. OIL HARD IS THE SAME METAL THAT SPRINGS ARE MADE FROM. AFTER PART IS MACHINED TO SPEC'S, IT IS HEATED WITH A TORCH, TO A LOW CHERRY RED COLOR. IT IS THEN IMMEDIATELY IMMERSED (QUENCHED) IN ANY OIL, OLD OR NEW MOTOR OIL, MACHINE OIL, IT DOESN'T MATTER. KEEP STIRRING THE OBJECT WHILE IMMERSING UNTIL IT COOLS. AFTER IT COOLS THERE WILL BE SCALE OR OTHER SURFACE IMPURITIES IN IT. YOU THEN POLISH THE BLADE WITH ORDINARY SAND PAPER, STARTIND WITH 220>320. AT THIS STATE OIL HARD IS EXTREMELY HARD. IT IS ALSO VERY DANGEROUS TO USE BECAUSE THE STEEL NEED TO BE TEMPERED. THE BLADE IS ONCE AGAIN HEATED WITH A TORCH, THIS TIME IT IS ONLY HEATED TO A LIGHT YELLOW(STRAW COLOR) AND THEN ALLOWED TO COOL SLOWLY TO IT'S NATURAL STATE. ONCE COOLED YOU WILL HAVE A TOOL, KNIFE, BLADE ECT.., THAT WILL BE IN YOUR TOOLBOX FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
NOW FOR ALUMINUM. IF THIS BLADE IS JUST A DO-DA, OR SHOW ITEM, THEN ALUMINUM WILL BE ALRIGHT. THE ONLY CUTTING FLUID FOR ALUMINUM IS KEROSENE, OR DIESEL FUEL. THEY BOTH HAVE COST AND AVAILABILITY JUST ABOUT THE SAME. DIESEL FUEL IS JUST A LITTLE MORE OILY. ALUMINUM OXIDE SANDPAPER WILL CLOG LESS, BUT SILICONE CARBIDE WILL PUT THE KEENEST EDGE ON.
GOOD LUCK
IF YOU DECIDE TO JUST USE ANY ORDINARY STEEL LIKE HOT ROLL FOR THE PROTOTYPE, THEN YOU CAN GO TO ANY METAL SUPPLY HOUSE, MOST HAVE REM RACKS.
 
  #7  
Old 11-30-02, 08:40 PM
scrapiron
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Most aluminum is easy to cut with a band saw or with proper blades a jig or recip. saw. Old roadsigns are usually tempered alum. but most are only 1/8 to3/16 thick. Most welding or fab. shops will have small scraps lying around and if you are real nice might even cut it out for you with their plasma arc. When grinding and cutting alum. wear very good eye protection cause alum. chips in your eyes are a real pain.
 
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