Cutting 4130 sheet on a Table Saw

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

wltrmtty

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2013
Messages
78
Location
Kenosha, WI
I see a lot of information on making parts from wood and tubing, and forming and assemby of aluminum sheet, but VERY little about making steel fittings - why isn't there a Steel Fittings Section?. The best I've found is in Tony Bingelis's Sport Plane Builder series.

I needed to cut out some fittings from 0.090 4130 and was really nervous about how to do it. CNC LASER & plasma are out, I don't have a shear and no desire (or $$) to buy or build one, and using a cut off wheel really didn't excite me for some reason. I bought a Black Bull band saw, but the throat is too narrow for the cut. So, that left me with the table saw....ugh. I'd read some posts about the sparks, smell, and noise associated with cutting steel with a table saw, so was not really excited about the 'possibilities.'

I bought a good quality steel-cutting titanium tipped Lenox blade for my old Craftsman contractors table saw. Safety glasses on and ear plugs in, I took a deep breathe and let-er-rip. Amazingly, it cut almost like the proverbial hot knife through butter. No scream from the blade and minimal sparks - what smell? I could see the titanium inserts getting red, so I slowed down a bit. I also used Boelube on the blade - not sure if that helped. I had very little burr and the steel was only warm to the touch - no heat affected zone.

Anyway, I thought I would share. I hope this will be a help to someone.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
15,639
Location
Memphis, TN
Interesting. Are all the parts straight cuts or will you have to shape some? Boelube does work. Hard to tell unless you have two setups going at once. Probably add 50% life to the blade.
 

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
15,288
Location
Port Townsend WA
It can kick back badly if a tooth catches.
That's why Sears sells a counter rotating dual carbide, hand held circular saw, less kickback.
 

wltrmtty

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2013
Messages
78
Location
Kenosha, WI
TFF, I used the table saw to cut out the blanks. The, I'll drill holes in the radius tangents and rough cut with my Black Bull horizontal/vertical band saw, clean up with a bench grinder and final dimension/edge finish with a right angle die grinder and file.

To form the parts, I'm using Tony Bingelis's recommendation and bought two pieces of 1/4" x 4" x 8" 6061 Aluminum, routed one edge to a 1/8" radius for a 90 degree forming tool.
 

Dan Thomas

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
6,241
I've cut 4130 sheet on a table saw using an abrasive cutoff blade, the same sort you see on smaller chop saws. Noise and smell and sparks, but it beats hacksawing endlessly and is cheaper, too.

Dan
 

cheapracer

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2013
Messages
6,402
Location
Australian
Jigsaw with good quality blades is my choice of weapon. It's the blade quality and a bit of patience that makes all the difference.
 

Brian Clayton

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2012
Messages
1,042
Location
Ivey, Ga and Centerville,Tn
I have used carbide tipped blades for the last 20+ years to cut steel and aluminum. I agree, they work great. Of course,as of a year ago, now I can only count to 9 1/2. In hindsight, not a good idea. The purpose built saws turn very slow, like a metal bandsaw vs a wood bandsaw. When I lost my thumb, my hand was a foot from the blade.... the metal hung and pulled my hand into the saw. Happened so fast, I jerked my hand back and had thought that the metal had just banged it when it hung....till I looked at it. Bad plan....very bad plan.
 

proppastie

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2012
Messages
5,259
Location
NJ
I have used cut off wheel on a 3600 rpm motor with arbor adapter (like for polish cloth wheel). Did not have a table saw at the time, yes it smells, and use safety glasses a mask because of the fiber-glass in the air, do it on the porch if you can. I just held it maybe with a vice grip, and stood to the side, Now that I have a table saw I might load the blade there, I would be afraid of the carbide tip catching though so I will stick with the abrasive cutoff. Thanks for the tip and the heads up on that missing finger.
 

dcstrng

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2010
Messages
913
Location
VA or NoDak
Wood saws work well with a cutoff wheel of some sort… my wife is a wood worker hobbyist and when she upgraded her miter saw a few years ago, her old one became my metal cutting saw… not perfect, is noisy and safety glasses are a must cuz sparks fly everywhere, but generally precise and works…
 

akwrencher

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
1,388
Location
Gustavus, AK
Abrasive wheels and carbide blades both work, both have pro's and cons. For thinner metel, carbide is nice. Not cheep for the blades, but a better finish an less work. Type of saw and blade that works best is determined by the material you need to cut. Really thick stuff is better with abrasive cuttoff blade. I've cut half inch steel with regular makita skill saw with abrasive blade.. Used carbide blades on skill saw to cut stack's of metel roofing, worked well. YMMV
 

wltrmtty

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2013
Messages
78
Location
Kenosha, WI
For this original post, I was cutting blanks for my aileron control hinge. I did the rough profile cut on a Black Bull (Taiwan) band saw, ground to the lone with a bench grinder, then finish filed to the final size + on the internal profiles I couldn't reach on the grinder. I was surprised by how much progress I could make with a file. I expected the first part would be practice scrap, but I think I'll be able to use it.

A friend told me he uses a rotary file. I'll probably try that. I'll check them out at OSH.
 

hogheadv2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2010
Messages
127
Location
Booger finger of Michigan
Run into fitting my house door. 10 blocks x 8" left the rough opening a tad short. [Block cabin on the river is so worth it ] Used my circular saw :) Perfect edge of both top and bottom aluminum skin. Very easy to control... Never touching snips for hardly anything with sheet metal again.... Used a cheap diamond sharpening block to touch up old carbide blades that had lost there edge for nice work... (Looking at a 8 or 10" miter saw for structure metal,,, May run a dripper to cool the cut)
 

FritzW

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
3,896
Location
Las Cruces, NM
Thanks Terry,

I need to cut 8 fittings out of .090, I'm torn between being too lazy to use a hacksaw and too scared to use a tablesaw. So this is good information.

I see Lowes has a LENOX titanium carbide tipped, 40 tooth, 7 1/4" steel cutting blade. I don't want to show my ignorance but is that the right blade? ie... number of teeth. My math skills aren't good enough that I can afford to loose a finger. My speling an gramer ain't much gooder.

Lowes also has an Evolution steel cutting blade with a magic "Anti-Kickback System". It's only $18 which makes me think it's probably junk. I wonder if it works?

Fritz
 

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2009
Messages
7,984
Location
Rocky Mountains
Thanks Terry,

I need to cut 8 fittings out of .090, I'm torn between being too lazy to use a hacksaw and too scared to use a tablesaw.
A low buck and relatively safe alternative is a hand held jig saw. Clamp it upside down in a vise, lock the trigger down, and start cutting. The only real problem with this is that it tends to scratch the material if the "table" isn't smooth enough. A couple layers of masking tape that can be changed often eliminated the problem for me when cutting aluminum sheet. I've not had any problems with the 4130. I still use this method when I don't have access to better tools.
 

Topaz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
14,752
Location
Orange County, California
I've cut 4130 sheet on a table saw using an abrasive cutoff blade, the same sort you see on smaller chop saws. Noise and smell and sparks, but it beats hacksawing endlessly and is cheaper, too.
I tried one of those. Yeah, it's better than a hacksaw but... The titanium carbide(?)-tipped blades wltrmtty is talking about are worth every penny, IMHO. Just as he says, compared to the abrasive cutoff blades, it's like a hot knife through butter. Couldn't believe the difference. It's all I use now, cutting mild steel for various projects.
 

Pops

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
9,752
Location
USA.
I have a large beverly shear that will do the job. If you could find someone with one of these to do the cutting of the steel. Dan
 

Attachments

Brian Clayton

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2012
Messages
1,042
Location
Ivey, Ga and Centerville,Tn
Porta-bands make nice cheap little bandsaws with a little work. Seems like every pawn shop has half a dozen of them. If you are handy, one can be made into a nice compact vertical bandsaw. I will try to get some pictures of a friends conversion. Its one of those things I wish I had thought of a long time ago....
 

Latest posts

Top