Cutting 4130 sheet on a Table Saw

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wltrmtty

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Kenosha, WI
When I look at EAA's Hints for Homebuilders video channel, I don't see anything about making steel fittings and these are some of the most important structural members on the airplane. I thought it must be because they are just no-brainers (not so!). Here's the blade a 52 tooth, titanium tipped. I also used Boelube, which I highly recommend. I was really surprised at how easy it was to file the 4130. I expected to take hours, but it really went fairly well.
 

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tlcasey100

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Jan 19, 2011
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Hominy, Oklahoma 74035
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.
THAT WILL HELP ME SINCE I HAVE TO CUT SOME PARTS FOR MY RAGWING 5 AND THANKS!
 

Armilite

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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.
=============================

You can use a Cheap Air Nibbler or a cheap 40amp/50amp Plasma Cutter. Clamp a Yard Stick, 1x2, or any Object Jar Lid, that has an Edge you can follow. There are some Templates out there also.
 

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dwalker

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I have a metal cutting saw that looks like a overly built Skil Saw, that cuts sheet and tubing like butter. One of the few tools I did not sell or give away from the fab shop when I retired. Leaves the edges cool to the touch with very little burr. Long cuts are a snap with an edge guide, although cutting 4x8 sheet into 2x8 into 2x4 sheet can be a slight adventure.
Best part for me is it easily cuts round and square tubing without heating the edge or throwing abrasive all over the shop.
 

rv7charlie

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Two pages of posts, and no one mentioned just using a 4.5" angle grinder with a cutoff wheel? The steel cutting table saw blades look great, and I may well add one to my blade 'collection', but I've done almost all fab of small steel parts using the cutoff wheel. Good clamping of the work to a stable work surface (vice, clamps to table top, etc) is essential, but other than that, it's just getting a comfortable stance & both hands on the grinder. Once you get comfortable with it, you can even do shaping work.
 

dwalker

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Two pages of posts, and no one mentioned just using a 4.5" angle grinder with a cutoff wheel? The steel cutting table saw blades look great, and I may well add one to my blade 'collection', but I've done almost all fab of small steel parts using the cutoff wheel. Good clamping of the work to a stable work surface (vice, clamps to table top, etc) is essential, but other than that, it's just getting a comfortable stance & both hands on the grinder. Once you get comfortable with it, you can even do shaping work.
I think the op was against cutoff wheels because of the spark, heat, and mess.

I have a buddy with a cnc plasma table and some other cool stuff, so a lot of the things that need high precision cuts I take over there.
 

PMD

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Martensville SK
hard to beat a good plasma torch for a lot of this kind of stuff. Especially nice if you are doing Al or SS. If you want low temps, a normal 4 x 7 horizontal bandsaw turned up with a small DIY table added can handle small cuts once you plasma off a chunk. I can do 0.090 6061, 5052, 2024 with my larger Makita hand shear, but no way I would try 0.090 4130 with it! I would be shyte scared to do much of this on a table saw (but I DO cut a lot of aluminum that way and with a fine tooth carbide blade on circular saw).
 

Armilite

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Since most things you Cut Out of metal fit's on a fairly cheap 2ft x 3ft CNC Hobby Router/Plasma Table and if mounted on wheels, it can be even rolled outside if needed. There are kits and even cheap Plans to build your own.
 

billyvray

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I am surprised at how versatile my clamp mounted portaband is. The throat is not real deep but there are few fitting that are that large.
I attached a picture of one that is readily available to buy - complete with foot switch.
My personal version is just a steel plate (I had a piece of 3/16). I drilled holes to mount it via the screws that normally hold the cutting guide.
Clamp the handle in a vise, and I use a large spring clamp to hold the trigger...
The little baby eats metal so nice....highly recommended. Once you have one (if you don't have a metal bandsaw) you'll wonder how you got by without one.



1627555866908.png
 

Armilite

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I am surprised at how versatile my clamp mounted portaband is. The throat is not real deep but there are few fitting that are that large.
I attached a picture of one that is readily available to buy - complete with foot switch.
My personal version is just a steel plate (I had a piece of 3/16). I drilled holes to mount it via the screws that normally hold the cutting guide.
Clamp the handle in a vise, and I use a large spring clamp to hold the trigger...
The little baby eats metal so nice....highly recommended. Once you have one (if you don't have a metal bandsaw) you'll wonder how you got by without one.



View attachment 113604
===========================

I'm lucky, my local Welding Shop has a CNC Water Jet 3ft x 5ft and cuts parts fairly cheap. There is a Shop in the next town about 7 miles from me that has a 5ft x 20ft Water Jet. Never had to use him. My CUT50 Plasma Cutter Cuts about anything up to1/2".
 

Pops

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I am surprised at how versatile my clamp mounted portaband is. The throat is not real deep but there are few fitting that are that large.
I attached a picture of one that is readily available to buy - complete with foot switch.
My personal version is just a steel plate (I had a piece of 3/16). I drilled holes to mount it via the screws that normally hold the cutting guide.
Clamp the handle in a vise, and I use a large spring clamp to hold the trigger...
The little baby eats metal so nice....highly recommended. Once you have one (if you don't have a metal bandsaw) you'll wonder how you got by without one.



View attachment 113604
Just hard to beat that, for the cost and the how good it works.
 

Mflyer

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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
I've been making steel wing strut fittings using my bandsaw in the horizontal position for straight cuts both vertical and horizontal. I used a small portable vice clamping it in place. The strut fittings are only 2" long by1 1/4" steel rod. Works good with careful measuring.
 

Little Scrapper

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Use what you have. It all works, just find a way, that’s the best way.

1.) Porta-band clamped in a vice. Myself and other tradesmen have done this for decades with success in the construction field and it works excellent for home building too. I have a bigger bandsaw but my favorite is to just clamp my porta-band in my vice. The slow speeds are excellent for 4130.

2.) I have a 40” Sears bandsaw from the 1940’s I found in a junk pile that works great with a metal blade.

3.) Angle grinder with a abrasive blade works good but it heats up considerably so put a heat sink on it. A heavy chunk of steel works good to control heat.

4.) A jig saw works surprisingly well with the right blade at the right speed. Just be sure and tape the material and jig saw sole to protect the metal from scratching.

5.) Good old fashioned hack saw can work well too! This has worked for many builders for many many years with success. Slow but definitely works.
 
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billyvray

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Re: hacksaw
I read about a guy building a Corby Starlet in a Sport Aviation years ago. His task was cutting out the gear legs. He worked himself to death trying to hacksaw them fast.
He figured out he could go slow and steady and make the same or better progress - figuring he was locally hardening the material by heating it up trying to cut fast. It still took a while, but he wasn't killing himself either.

5.) Good old fashioned hack saw can work well too! This has worked for many builders for many many years with success. Slow but definitely works.
 

Pops

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Re: hacksaw
I read about a guy building a Corby Starlet in a Sport Aviation years ago. His task was cutting out the gear legs. He worked himself to death trying to hacksaw them fast.
He figured out he could go slow and steady and make the same or better progress - figuring he was locally hardening the material by heating it up trying to cut fast. It still took a while, but he wasn't killing himself either.
If I was cutting steel with a hacksaw and my father-in-law saw me going faster than 14 strokes a minute I would be told to slow down.
 
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