Working with Aluminum (completely new)

Old 08-19-04, 02:41 PM
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Working with Aluminum (completely new)


I am looking to start a project where I will have to be cutting some aluminum. I wanted to know what they best way was without having to spend a lot of money on it or purchasing a milling machine. The cuts would have to be precise as well as being able to cut some holes through it as well. I have absolutely nothing in my possession but a handheld drill, a dremel, and some screwdrivers. The size of the final project should be somewhere in the range of 12"x36" Can anyone help me out? Thanks!
Old 08-19-04, 02:48 PM
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How thick????? what kind of aluminum , how hard????

INFO INFO and some one can help here.

Old 08-19-04, 02:51 PM
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I'm not sure exaclty what I want to use just yet... I want something that would be easy to work with, yet still keep its form and not easily bent. I guess it would be just basic sheet metal aluminum, thinkcness.. hmm probably no thicker than 1/4"
Old 08-20-04, 11:44 AM
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If the cuts have to be precise, and you have a hand drill and a dremel...hmm .

Well, how long are the cuts? How precise are you talking? (.0001 inches?...1/8"...1/32")

BTW, what is this for (unless it's secret stuff or new invention related), someone may have another idea that would work for what you need it for.
Old 08-20-04, 11:47 AM
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I want to make a sign for my garage. I own a Mazda6 car and wanted to cut the Mazda logo and the 6 logo from aluminum and hang it in my garage since I seem to be in there quite a bit. I would like it to be a fairly good size.. 12x36 seems reasonable for the Mazda portion.. and the 6 part would have to be to scale -- probably a 12x12 cut.
Old 08-23-04, 10:44 AM
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how are you gonna cut the logo? band saw?
Old 08-23-04, 07:57 PM
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Impossible is not a word I like to use, so I would have to say it is not feasable with the tools you own.
Plus, in addition to the tools you will have to gain some skill in working with metal before you begin cutting up a piece of aluminum which is fairly costly.

A milling machine would do what you are proposing, maybe you could find a good used one.
Old 10-07-04, 06:10 AM
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Greg - You can say it. It's impossible with the tools he has. You're going to get results similar to what a 5 year old can do with a crayon.

You need access to at least an NC milling machine (CNC is better). It's going to be tough on a manual milling machine because you have to move in the X and Y direction at the same time. And to make smooth arcs for logo, that's very difficult. Also, you need a software, such as SmartCAM or MasterCAM, to generate the program. Programming it on the machine is going to be a nightmare. It's take about 20 minutes to generate the program with the software and about an hour to cut it.

I work in a machine shop and we cut logos all the time. It's easy but you need the right tools. Good luck.
Old 10-07-04, 08:34 PM
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Note before you try something with the dremel.Aluminum tends to melt/clog cutting and grinding bits.
Recently did a little port work to a cylinder head for a four wheeler.High speed diamond bits worked best,but where slow going.Cutting bits where fast but clogged quickly.

Anyway not sure about cutting aluminum.Can it be cut with a plasma cutter?
If so draw out what you want on what you want and take it to a welding shop,they will be glad to cut it out for you.If the guy is feeling artistic that day he may not charge you much!

I did a name and logo on 3/16 steel with plasma, painted it,and then painted another solid piece and welded it behind the first piece with a space between the two (spaced with nuts).Looked cool!
Old 10-23-04, 11:32 PM
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Plasma cutters don't cut aluminum very clean. For said project I'd save yourself time and money and look up a laser or water jet cutting shop. They'll charge you a programming fee then by the length of cut. I'd think you'll still be looking at 60-100 bucks to get it done. Laser or water cutting will do a professional job and come out looking like you got the sign from a store. I'd use 1/8 alum. in a 5000 series to save cost. You could get it polished at a professional shop for 20 bucks when its done also.

Good luck,


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