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  • Hole saw on aluminum ?

    I've got about 20) 1 1/4" holes I need to drill in some 1/8" aluminum plate and was curious how a good bi-metal hole saw would hold up verse buying a high dollar drill bit ? Wish I'd hit the lotto and I'd spring for a Ironworker but...... Thanks
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  • #2
    hey i think a holesaw should work great on aluminum, we use them on carbon and stainless at work with no problems,usually get several holes out of one bit on 1/4-1/2" carbon steel, id say do it.
    [FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Just weld it!!! Miller big 40 diesel, Miller bluestar 180k,Maxus Pro-140 mig, Gas powered air compressor, and alot of tools the lady dont need to know about. all portable for on site work,15 year Structural welder,Ironworker, Millwright.

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    • #3
      Showdog
      holesaw will be fine, if you use a sharp new cutter(buy a high quality american made one .. they are cheap enough) and LOW rpm on the drillpress.. and a few squirts of wd40 as you drill ... you will be surprised at the quality of the holes...
      hope this helps
      Heiti

      KEY= NEW BLADE
      LOW RPM
      WD40
      Last edited by H80N; 01-12-2010, 12:15 AM. Reason: clarity
      .

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      • #4
        I cut a bunch of 1" finger holes with a hole saw (on a cordless drill) in 1/8" aluminum plate. The best thing is to clean up with a de-burring tool after the hole.
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        • #5
          Aluminum cuts well. Can be gummy depending on the grade. Plenty of cutting fluid to try and maintain surface finish.

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          • #6
            Just to reemphasize what I said about using a NEW blade.... if you use one that has cut steel... it will have dulled it... and you will likely end up with a raggedy hole
            hope this helps
            Heiti
            .

            *******************************************
            The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

            “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

            Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

            My Blue Stuff:
            Dynasty 350DX Tigrunner
            Dynasty 200DX
            Millermatic 350P w/25ft Alumapro & 30A
            Millermatic 200

            TONS of Non-Blue Equip, plus CNC Mill, Lathes & a Plasmacam w/ PowerMax-1000

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            • #7
              I've found heat is a problem with Alum.
              If you run a saw or even a drill too fast and without oil, the cutting surface sort of gums up or galls.
              It'll often gum up anyway, but letting a cutting tool get hot- does it real fast.
              The mess on the bits can be cleaned with a power wire brush, but its a hassle.
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              • #8
                I’d use a little kerosene for cutting oil on the hole saw.
                Wonder about renting a Greenlee electrician’s punch?
                Caution!
                These are "my" views based only on “my” experiences in “my” little bitty world.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sonora Iron View Post
                  Wonder about renting a Greenlee electrician’s punch?
                  Depending on the grade of aluminum, it will deform as punched, and bind the two die halves together pretty well. I had a bit of a challenge getting the 3/4 dies apart... And the resulting hole was pretty badly deformed as well.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kbraby View Post
                    Depending on the grade of aluminum, it will deform as punched, and bind the two die halves together pretty well. I had a bit of a challenge getting the 3/4 dies apart... And the resulting hole was pretty badly deformed as well.
                    Really?
                    Good to know, thanks for posting that information! Personally I’ve never tried it, now I wont.
                    Caution!
                    These are "my" views based only on “my” experiences in “my” little bitty world.

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                    • #11
                      In all fairness, it was whatever gumball grade of aluminum that the home centers sell. So it was worst case for deformation and poor cutting, but you would think it would have also been the best case for getting the dies back apart after the deformation happened. Even unscrewing the stud out of the dies was a pain, as the cutout had bent (and clamped) further around the stud than I expected from using it on steel. And having the stud out did not appear to make the die separation any easier.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Showdog75 View Post
                        I've got about 20) 1 1/4" holes I need to drill in some 1/8" aluminum plate and was curious how a good bi-metal hole saw would hold up verse buying a high dollar drill bit ? Wish I'd hit the lotto and I'd spring for a Ironworker but...... Thanks
                        I took a regular wood hole saw for door knobs, heated it cherry red, quenched it in a can of oil and cut some great looking holes in 1/8 aluminum. Seemed to stay sharp with twelve cuts.

                        I only needed it for this one project.

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                        • #13
                          I'd layout your holes on 1 1/2'' centers and drill with 1/4'' drill bit, then put a 1/4'' shaft in the hole saw and start cutting giving the teeth a kiss with a candle once or twice for each hole. Almost forgot lay the aluminum on a peice of plywood.

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                          • #14
                            hole saw works good

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                            • #15
                              Aluminum holes.

                              Using a sharp hole saw like a milwaukee or similar will work well. I use an aluminum specific cutting fluid called Alumi-tap. This process works well if you use a slower speed on you drill or drill press. A wise poster has also noted to place the piece on a block of wood. I usually use a piece of 3/4 plywood. This will give your pilot bit something to bite into to keep it traveling straight as it guides the hole saw through the material being cut as wel as preventing the hole saw from cutting into something you shouldn't cut or don't want to cut. 1/8 material will not give you any problems but be sure to remove the cutout disk from the hole saw each time or it can jam and be a real bear to remove later after several other disks have been forced in behind it.

                              Use a new pilot bit and center mark each hole to be drilled with a center punch to keep the pilot from wandering and offsetting you hole.

                              Also another very good method outside of a cnc machine is using an annular cutter attached to a magnetic drill.
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