Circular saws can cut through pretty much anything and everything. Having said that, there are certain methods and techniques one needs to know about before getting their hands on the task.
Especially when the material is tricky, like aluminum. I mean, cutting through hard materials like steel is easy because it only requires strength and stability.
But aluminum is softer and tends to melt with heat and bend easily. So, a lot goes behind mastering the art of cutting aluminum with a circular saw.
That is what we will guide you through, step by step, in this article.
- What Type of Circular Saw Cuts Through Aluminum?
- How To Choose the Right Circular Saw for Cutting Aluminum
- Things To Remember Before Cutting Aluminum with A Circular Saw?
- Tips And Tricks
- The Final Finish
What Type of Circular Saw Cuts Through Aluminum?
Okay, first thing’s first, you need to pick a saw that will cut aluminum. Obviously, only some types of circular saws are designed for every task. That’s why there are different varieties of it in the market.
When it comes to cutting anything, the blade makes a huge impact on the final work. Selecting the right kind of blade will not only reduce the risk of damaging the aluminum and/or the blade. Still, it will also increase the quality of your work.
Which type of circular saw is best for cutting aluminum? You’ll find out as you read on.
Some factors determine the most suitable circular saw for a task. Such as:
Circular saws typically come with two power options: corded and cordless. The corded ones require a continuous power supply to be plugged in to function.
The cordless ones, on the other hand, are powered by batteries. For cutting aluminum, it is recommended that you use a circular saw that has a corded power supply. The corded ones are lighter and give better control over the piece you are working on.
Aluminum is a non-ferrous metal, meaning it is not iron-based, unlike steel. When it comes to cutting a non-ferrous metal with your circular saw, you need to put a safety guard on the saw.
This will ensure that the metal debris does not shoot at your eyes and face and injure you while cutting the metal. These safety guards include a fixed upper guard and a waste collector attached to the saw.
Another major thing you must consider while choosing a circular saw for cutting aluminum is the motor power. For cutting aluminum, your circular saw must have enough power to reach the proper RPM required for a smooth finish. A 7.25 circular saw with a 3900 RPM is ideal for this task.
How To Choose the Right Circular Saw for Cutting Aluminum
Yes, you can cut aluminum with a regular non-ferrous metal cutting saw blade. But to get the best results, we recommend using an aluminum-cutting one.
As the name suggests, these blades are specifically designed for cutting aluminum. They have their own unique set of specifications that enable them to add that satisfying final finish.
It gets even better if you do a little homework and learn about these specifications. Then, you can select the perfect circular saw for cutting aluminum.
The width of the cutting outline of the materials, which is the same as that of the blade, is called a kerf. In an aluminum cutting blade, the kerf of the blade is equal to the width or thickness of the blade.
Since aluminum is such an expensive metal, it’s better to use thin kerf blades to reduce any wastage of it. But then again, regular thin kerf blades tend to heat up when cutting with them for a long time at a stretch.
That’s why carbide-tipped thin kerf blades are the most suited for cutting aluminum.
The simple math about teeth on a circular saw blade is the more the teeth, the finer cut you will get. But the number of teeth on a blade also impacts its cutting speed.
The more teeth your blade has, the more time it will take to cut through any material. If the sheet of aluminum you’re working on is thick, it takes even more time. But if you’re cutting a thin sheet of aluminum, then a blade with high TPD (teeth count) will work fine and give you smooth cuts.
The gap between teeth on a circular saw blade is called a gullet. Gullet space determines how much waste you will have between teeth while cutting and how often you need to stop and clean it.
If your blade has a high teeth count, then naturally, the gullet space will be less, and you will have less waste clearance area than usual. A blade with a high teeth count, and less gullet space works just fine for cutting aluminum sheets.
The teeth on a circular saw blade are often bent to an angle to give you different cuts. If you’re new at this, it is recommended that you use a negative or zero hook angle blade to get the most control and precision while you work.
The size or diameter of a circular saw blade has to do with the depth of its cuts. A blade with a bigger diameter will cut deeper than one with a smaller diameter.
The diameter of the blade also impacts its cutting speed. This works the same way a monster truck with bigger wheels goes faster than a bicycle with smaller ones.
The diameter of the blade also determines the kerf of it. Basically, a blade with a high teeth count, wider kerf, more gullet space, and a bigger diameter will cut faster and will work best for cutting aluminum.
Aluminum cutting blades are typically made of reinforced carbide-tipped metal.
When buying a blade for your circular saw, try to look for ones with a protective coating over the metal. This coating prevents the blade from getting damaged or bent while doing heavy-duty tasks like cutting metal.
Teeth Profiles and Arrangement
The blade you use for cutting a nonferrous metal like aluminum must be durable.
The teeth pattern of a blade determines that. The circular saw blades designed for cutting aluminum have a TCG (Triple Chip Grade) teeth pattern. This is the ideal pattern for cutting metals such as aluminum as it prevents the blade’s surface from chipping, minimizing the risk of damage.
Things To Remember Before Cutting Aluminum with A Circular Saw?
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you start working on your aluminum sheet with a circular saw:
Pick The Right Blade
As mentioned before, not all blades are designed for cutting everything. So it’s vital to pick the ones specifically designed for cutting aluminum.
Pick A High-Quality Blade
Choosing the right blade not only means selecting the right kind of blade, but also picking the one that is made from high-quality materials.
Low-quality blade will lose its sharpness quickly, might even break, and will not give you an end result as expected. A blade made of high-quality materials, on the other hand, will give you a smooth and professional finish.
Lubricate The Blade
I cannot stress enough that lubricating the blade before cutting anything is crucial.
Not only because it gives you a better end result but also because it will ensure the blade’s and its user’s safety. The biggest risk of using a circular saw is that the blade will the metal that it is cutting.
This happens because the friction causes a magnetic effect on both the saw and the metal, making them stick together. This causes you to lose control over the saw, possibly leading to injuries.
Using a lubricant on your blade before using it prevents the blade from sticking to the metal, ensuring safety. You can use wax lubricants that you’ll find in hardware stores. Or, if you want to go the quick and easy way, you can try using an oil sprayer.
Clamp The Material
Some circular saws come with a clamp that you can use to secure the material you are cutting. You can also buy them separately at hardware stores or online.
Clamps make it easier to hold the metal in position and cut through it with precision.
Experts recommend using at least a pair of C-clamps to keep the material stably stuck and prevent it from slipping away while you are cutting it. Iron clamps work the best for this task.
Tips And Tricks
Let’s discuss some of my tips and tricks which will help you in making the process easier for you.
Use A Guide for Cutting Straight
It’s always a good idea to use a guide for cutting to ensure you are making a straight cut. You can clamp the material to a flat bar and push the circular saw against the edge. A straight piece of wood works just fine as a guide.
Tape The Areas You Do Not Want to Scratch
If you want to keep your surface nice and clean, use masking tape to cover the areas you’re not working on. This will prevent the residue chips from flying off and chipping the surface.
Cut With the Blade’s Pattern Side Down
Suppose you’re using a diamond-tipped saw blade. The task becomes much easier if you keep the saw shoe on a flat surface instead of the bumpy diamond pattern side.
The Final Finish
Cutting aluminum with a circular saw might seem difficult at first, but with a little practice, it gets easier. Remember to use the right blade and take all necessary safety precautions.