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18

Technical Services

Do

Do Not

Use carbide bits and blades

Use lubricants (cut dry)

Use higher speeds for cutting and prepping

Use oxy-fuel to cut aluminum

Use band saws with 3 to 4 teeth/in.

Carbon arc gouge

Remove plasma and laser cuts (1/8 in.)

Use power wire brushes with excessive pressure (smears aluminum)

Clean surfaces before wire brushing

Direct air tool exhaust toward weld joint

Aluminum can be alloyed with several other elements such as copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and silicon.

Each of these can be added alone or in combinations for various considerations such as strength, fluidity, corrosion

resistance, and ductility.

Working with aluminum is much like working with wood. Most power tools using carbide blades are suitable for cutting and

prepping joints for welding. These will remove metal quickly and will not leave a residue behind like grinding pads and stone

cutting wheels. The chips left behind contain most of the heat from the cut, and therefore, coolants or other lubricants are

not needed.

Once the cut is made, the surface should be as clean as possible. Carbide router bits also work well for joint preparation

where rounded edges are preferred as they take heat better than sharp edges, which can result in oxides.

Aluminum Alloys

Avoid Plasma/Laser Cut Micro Cracks in Welds

For heat treatable aluminum alloys, 1/8 in. (3 mm) of material shall be removed by machining from plasma arc and laser

cut edges that will be welded. - AWS D1.2

Micro-cracks

are potential crack starters in aluminum welds.