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Cutting tools for aluminum

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Blue One, May 17, 2011.

  1. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 11,147

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    Anyone have any tips on carbide burr tooth design for working with aluminum ?

    Just curious as most of the ones I have get plugged up with the soft material when cutting.

    I suppose a small stone designed for aluminum would work better.

    Just wondered what you may have had success with using with a die grinder.
  2. Any true Non-ferrous cutting tool should work well in your die grinder. Example a 1/2" diam cutter would only have 5 or 6 flutes. A true spiral design works best for me. I like the TiN coated ones myself, cost a little more but last longer. You must constantly lube the cutter, anything from WD-40 to a true cutting oil like Kool-Tool. Should have no problems.
  3. RichG
    Joined: Dec 8, 2008
    Posts: 3,919


    I've had good look using just a standard carbide tipped blade (rough cut) in an old skilsaw I have, just use some oil for lube and cut away (be sure to wear eye protection, it flings chips like mad!)
  4. J. Clear
    Joined: Mar 16, 2006
    Posts: 50

    J. Clear

    You can try rubbing the cutter with soap or chalk, that helps keep it from clogging up.


  5. nofin
    Joined: Jan 7, 2010
    Posts: 321

    from australia

    x2 on the lube, and use the most open tooth pattern you can.

    Don't use a stone, they will plug up the same but you can't clean them out.
  6. Blueone, I have in my hand one of my CHAMPION brand cutters. Made in U.S.A., TiN coated, and must be 20 plus years old. It has helped with more cylinder heads and intakes than I care to remember, and its still in perfect condition. I'm sure I purchased them through MSC or Grainger. Hope that helps. TR
  7. TiN burrs or cutters, and I keep a container of ATF right at hand to dip the cutter...constantly.

    Some other sources are Goodson, Cylinder Head Abrasives, Cylinder Head Supply, and Carbide Select.
  8. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    from MI

    There are burrs, end mills, and assorted other tools made especially for cutting aluminum. You really need aluminum burrs for aluminum. Some alloys load the burr more than others. People use paste car wax, paraffin, oil, or abrasive belt lube to reduce loading-up of the burr. All those work, but the best I have found is a wax that is intended for lubing bandsaw blades.
    Last edited: May 17, 2011
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,249


    X2 on the wax. Awesome for keeping cutters clean. I even use it on cutoff wheels and grinding discs when I'm playin with aluminum. Bar soap is a close second. It gives off that fresh scent of a cool Irish spring...
  10. Harry Bergeron
    Joined: Feb 10, 2009
    Posts: 345

    Harry Bergeron
    from SoCal

    X3 for waxes in general. There's one made for disk sanders, applied before working aluminum, keeps it from loading up.
    There's also "chain wax" spray for motorcycle chains, neat stuff.
  11. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 11,147

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    Thanks guys, all good info. Gonna port match my y block manifold eventually here.
  12. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,985

    Member Emeritus

    Go to Lowe's (any hardware) and get a wax toilet sealing ring. Whenyou shut off the grinder, just before it stops dip it into the wax. Repeat often to keep the carbide clean.
  13. Jungle Jalopy
    Joined: Mar 31, 2010
    Posts: 272

    Jungle Jalopy

    ......SURF WAX ! When I clean the wax off a board I save the blob. It works great for cutting/milling/drilling aluminum (ss,bronze,steel) and especially for GRINDING aluminum. Waxing up keeps your abrasives from loading up. I also keep a chunk near my band saw. It's nice to be able to hold the wax directly against the blade. Also, it smells nice!
  14. You can buy cutting wax, or surfboard wax. Keep it near the part you're working on and give it a little swipe across the wax every few minutes. When I did aluminum fab work, we had tubes of wax on at all the saws and grinders. It also keeps the hot shards of aluminum from flying around so much. I've also used Dove soap here at my own shop.
  15. budd
    Joined: Oct 31, 2006
    Posts: 3,478


    what about bees wax, any bee keeper has dirty wax they will give away for free.
  16. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    from MI

    Can't hurt to try. Based on how they feel and smell I suspect that both the abrasive belt grease and the bandsaw saw blade wax I like contain some beeswax.
  17. tig master
    Joined: Apr 9, 2009
    Posts: 416

    tig master
    from up north

    Floor wax like granny used Johnson's in the tin is also a good ticket.To get good results you must use a burr specifically for aluminum nothing else.You can get them at any industrial tool supply house. They work great.

  18. Blacksmith54
    Joined: Aug 27, 2006
    Posts: 84

    from Phoenix AZ

    for porting work I like to use an eliptical style long shank solid carbide I get mine from where ever I can find them normally the tool guys at the swap meets around five dollar's. My favorite anti stickem is engine degreaser the non foaming kind Walmart about $1.50 a can the nice thing is, it is kerosene based and has soap in it so when you wash it off with water it comes clean. otherwise I use wax the bandsaw kind also used burnout wax works also, but, it is kind of sticky.:cool:
  19. Solidaxel
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 217


    I have had good luck using anti-freese

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