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how to "quickly" shape aluminum?


Brandon Buford

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I started working on a set of aluminum shrimp deveiners/peelers. I have used files and my little 4in X 36 sander as well as a spindle sander. All remove the soooo slow. I can grind my metal much faster.

 

Is there a better way to shape aluminum? I am still in the process of working on my 2X72 GIB. I am hoping that will work.

 

 

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One thing I rarely ever do is grind aluminum. Primarily, it is because Al clogs the pores of abrasive grit like it's nobody's business. You might find that files have a similar effect. The metal is so soft it just mushes around instead of forming clean chips like ferrous metals under a file.
​Whenever I work aluminum, I start with a piece as close to the starting size as possible and shape it with either a hammer or jewler's saw. Or cast it, if you can. If you want to file it, the size, sharpness, and cut of the file will probably effect it a great deal. Needle files (which are all that I have used on it) are slow but clean.

 

John

Not all those who wander are lost. -J.R.R. Tolkien

-Shards of the Dark Age- my blog
-Nine Worlds Workshop-
-Last Apocalypse Forge-

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You need to use Lubrication be it burs, Abrasives, or Files. Specialty files for aluminum have a tooth pitch up to 1/8 of a inch to eliminated loading or at least make the file easily cleanable, Mcmaster sells them. I used to make Jian out of 6061 bar stock. I settled on 24 grit Zirconium belts and slower belt speeds with lubrication. WD40 worked well enough, but there are all sorts of commercial lubricants for belts and tools.

Patrick B)

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when hammering it? do you heat it or does it hammer at room temp.

 

I will have post a picture to show what I am doing. If I had it to do over, I would have turned it on a lathe and then bent it into the hook shape. Oh well, live and learn.

depending upon alloy (6061,6060) heat to 700F and forge. A bit of cold working once at room temp with work harden it a bit.

It is simple to tell temp with a standard pine paint stir stick..heat and rub with stick...when the stick leaves a black smudge it is hot enough.

You can cold forge as you have it...if it splits then jump back in time a bit and anneal with the above heating procedure.

 

I have forge tons of aluminum way back when. Forge large jobs we sent it out to be annealed and did quite a bit of the work cold.

 

If you have a life/limb job then the above does not apply as final structure will be very important. If it must be a certain temper then other means must be employed.

 

Ric

Richard Furrer

Door County Forgeworks

Sturgeon Bay, WI

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Buy a wax stick. I think macMaster sells them. I used them on angle grinder discs when grinding aluminum you won't belive how much better you can grind AL with a little wax keeping the grit from being packed the aluminum. Never tried it on a belt grinder but should work.....the wax will probably fly all over the place though.

 

Matt

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just whatever you do don't use a bench grinder!!! Exploding grinding wheels are not my idea of a good time.

My life is like shaving with a razor sharp machete. It's a bit awkward and I feel a sting every now and then, but in the end I'm happy with the results.

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  • 8 years later...
On 2/8/2013 at 2:21 PM, Brandon Buford said:

I started working on a set of aluminum shrimp deveiners/peelers. I have used files and my little 4in X 36 sander as well as a spindle sander. All remove the soooo slow. I can grind my metal much faster.

 

Is there a better way to shape aluminum? I am still in the process of working on my 2X72 GIB. I am hoping that will work.

 

 

I do some heavy duty grinding on aluminum and no matter whether it is a carbide burr, sanding belt either hand held or heavy duty upright or surface grinder, Roloc disc, or 6” high speed pneumatic disc sanders, bees wax is the secret ingredient. You want the part hot which it will get no matter what you sand it with, and the aluminum will just melt right off. It is almost magical. I get the rather pure bees wax beads in bags from Amazon and melt them in a throw away aluminum pan in the oven, let it harden and cut or break off pieces. They use it at Aero Space plants for working with aluminum, steel and stainless steel. It also keeps the rather unhealthy aluminum dust down completely. It does get in your equipment but so far never has it caused damage. I have had to clean out some of the equipment after years of use. 

 

 

 

Sincerely, 

 

William McCormick

PostHingeMount.jpg

Hinge.jpg

beigegates1.jpg

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18 minutes ago, William McCormick said:

I do some heavy duty grinding on aluminum and no matter whether it is a carbide burr, sanding belt either hand held or heavy duty upright or surface grinder, Roloc disc, or 6” high speed pneumatic disc sanders, bees wax is the secret ingredient. You want the part hot which it will get no matter what you sand it with, and the aluminum will just melt right off. It is almost magical. I get the rather pure bees wax beads in bags from Amazon and melt them in a throw away aluminum pan in the oven, let it harden and cut or break off pieces. They use it at Aero Space plants for working with aluminum, steel and stainless steel. It also keeps the rather unhealthy aluminum dust down completely. It does get in your equipment but so far never has it caused damage. I have had to clean out some of the equipment after years of use. 

 

 

 

Sincerely, 

 

William McCormick

PostHingeMount.jpg

Hinge.jpg

beigegates1.jpg

If you are working with high speed disc sanders you may also want to wear an apron as it will leave bees wax on your cloths. It washes out but for the rest of the day you have a bees wax streak on them. 

 

Bees wax is also great for cutting large holes with a hole saw in steel, or aluminum. 

 

 

 

 

Pintlehook mount.png

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