Last updated on April 23, 2021 by qualified builder Aaron Barnett
Can you cut aluminum with a circular saw? Absolutely. While you can technically cut anything with a circular saw, the real thing doing the cutting is not the saw itself, but your technique, and the blade choice.
In this guide, you’ll be learning how to cut aluminum vs wood. If you’re eager to learn, good. Let’s cut to the chase!
What types of blades can cut aluminum?
When cutting material the likes of aluminum with your favorite lightweight circular saw, you’ll want to go with blades that are specifically designed to cut non-ferrous metals. Aluminum-cutting saw blades have a and can have teeth counts of anywhere between 60 – 200, depending on how thick the material is and how smooth you want your cuts to be.
I use lower teeth counts for thicker material; 8 teeth per diameter inch (TPD) up to ¼” thick aluminum sheets and a blade with 6TPD for even thicker aluminum.
How to choose the right blade for cutting aluminum?
Aluminum metal-cutting circular saw blades are made differently than standard wood cutting blades. They have distinct specifications that allow them to easily cut through aluminum while minimizing damage and the risk of causing accidents.
Kerf is usually referred to as the width of the material that’s removed. When cutting aluminum, kerf refers to the thickness of the blade. In general, you’d want to go with thinner kerfs for higher accuracy and minimal wastage.
More teeth lead to finer cuts. If you’re working with relatively thin aluminum sheets, then you can go for blades with higher TPD. Otherwise, use blades with lower teeth count to get through thicker material faster. Make sure the saw has reached full speed before making a cut.
The gullet is the rounded . Gullets are designed to carry away waste and prevent the blade from clogging. Blades with more teeth usually have smaller gullets and those with fewer teeth have larger ones.
This is basically where and how much each tooth leans. To cut aluminum, you’d want a blade with either a zero or even a negative hook angle as those are the ones that offer greater control and precision.
Things to look for in a circular saw for cutting aluminum
What are the challenges when cutting aluminum?
How to prepare cutting aluminum safely with a circular saw?
Always wear protective equipment, especially when cutting metals. Prioritize guarding your hands, ears, and eyes. Securely clamp down the piece you’ll be working on and be sure to use the appropriate blade.
Use a lubricating agent to prevent loading and overheating, as well as a guide to get perfectly straight cuts.
Final note you can cut aluminum with both a corded or cordless circular saw.
How to cut thin aluminum sheets?
Since aluminum is a softer metal, outside of using a circular saw, you can also use tools such as nibblers, tin snips, and electric metal shears to easily and efficiently cut thinner aluminum sheets.
Across the 3 tools, you basically pick a starting side and work your way across until you have a cut you’re happy with. You can use lubricant on all of them, except for the tin snips.
How to cut aluminum extrusion with a circular saw?
While you can’t extrude aluminum with a circular saw, you can use one to cut an already-extruded piece. Since aluminum has a tendency to grab onto blades, it’s recommended not to cut extrusion free-hand.
Along with the proper carbide blade, consider using or making a jig that can hold both the saw and the workpiece steady in such a way that it allows you to slow-feed either the blade or the aluminum. Doing a setup this way makes for cleaner cuts.
If you need cut angles find out when to use a miter saw.
How to cut aluminum soffit with a circular saw?
Cutting aluminum soffit can be easily done at home. All you’ll need is your saw and a simple jig. The jig just has to be able to allow you to slide the soffit in and hold your saw so that you can run it across the workpiece. Place the blade backward and quickly slide it across the soffit for a nice, quick cut.
How to cut an aluminum tube with a circular saw?
You can be straightforward here and just clamp the aluminum tube down on a table with the area you want to cut extending beyond the table’s edge. Line up your circular saw where you want to make the cut and simply run it through.
Alternatively, you can also make a jig and cut the tube similar to how you’d cut aluminum extrusion.
Dos and don’ts when cutting aluminum sheets with a circular saw
Other ways to cut aluminum sheets
The best way to cut aluminum is with the use of expensive bench tools such as a band saw or bench mounted shears. They are powerful and efficient, able to cleanly cut even larger and thicker aluminum sheets. One major drawback, however, is that they’re significantly more expensive to get and maintain as opposed to hand and power tools.
If you don’t know how to cut thin aluminum sheets with a power saw and all you can manage are hand tools, then tin snips and hacksaws do a decent job for small cuts. Going with power tools, you’d want either electric shears a power saw, or a nibbler for their flexibility.
You can pretty much cut costs and most metals with a circular saw. With the right blade and technique, you can easily and quickly work with more advanced metals like aluminum. The key to cutting aluminum with a circular saw lies in getting the correct kind of blade – specialized carbide blades with the right set of teeth and blade features will do away with worries that come with aluminum cutting.
And if you have other metal and non-metal cutting projects to do, here’s a list on what saw types to use.
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