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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
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Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way
      #6229552 - 12/02/13 04:12 PM Attachment (101 downloads)

I often have to have an ultra long dovetail plate for my scopes to reach the balance point because I eschew tubes and rings for my scope designs. To have one custom made can be pricey.

Here's what I do. Buy a piece of aluminum from your local Metal Supermarket, I went today for a 3"x20"x0.5" piece and they had an offcut piece lying around for which they charged me $15 cash. I angled my table saw blade to 30 degrees and cut on the right hand side of the blade to end up with 60 degree bevels. To prevent kickback I screwed a piece of wood on the fence to trap the piece of aluminum and fed it with a long dowel. Kinda dangerous but short of the blade shattering I can't think of anymore precautions I could take. Oh and do it outside on your driveway and wear a hoodie since the amount of metal shavings is unbelievable. I'm lucky that it is December and I can still do ATM on my snow free driveway in Toronto.

Don't forget to sand and file down the razor sharp edges and corners.

Edited by Jim Chung (12/03/13 12:05 PM)


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Jim Chung
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #6229553 - 12/02/13 04:13 PM Attachment (97 downloads)

Finished product ...

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Noisykids
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Loc: ma
Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #6229571 - 12/02/13 04:20 PM

i know it's possible to machine aluminum with woodworking tools, but, jeez, the idea of doing it scares the pants off me. if i were going to do that i think i'd be more comfortable using a carbide bit in a 1/2 router. or bring it to my friend bob's machine shop and beg him to do it on the sport b3.

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mark cowan
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Noisykids]
      #6229608 - 12/02/13 04:34 PM

Definitely better with a router and carbide bit, I've done a lot of aluminum work that way. Oil helps too.

But looks good!

Best,
Mark


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Geo31
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #6229636 - 12/02/13 04:44 PM

Quote:

Kinda dangerous but short of the blade shattering I can't think of anymore precautions I could take.




More risk than I would undertake...

Many years ago when I first took up woodworking, I had a similar bench saw and ran a piece through the tiled blade. The cut-off jammed between the blade and the throat plate (which was on the other side on mine) and both the throat plate and two carbide teeth went zinging past my ear. Had I been standing directly behind the work I may not be alive today.

In your case, with a longer piece sliding through the saw, it's probably a bit safer than what I was working with, but my experience makes me look long and hard at any set-up that could jam and kick back.

I'd also say a router table would be a better solution. I applaud your craftiness however.

Oh, and lastly, please tell me you normally work with the guards in place....


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MKV
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #6229665 - 12/02/13 04:59 PM

I think this is really dangerous. I've been a woodworker for many, many years and even I would readily look for alternative ways to make my dovetail. One that comes to mind that is much, much safer is using a bandsaw with a carbide tipped blade, and lots of cutting oil. Tilt the table to 30 degrees. No possibiity of kickback. Just let the blade cut at its own speed and don't force it.

I would definitely not recommend using tablesaw for tis at all. It's playing with fire.

regards,
Mladen


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HunterofPhotons
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #6229686 - 12/02/13 05:04 PM

Quote:

..... To prevent kickback I screwed a piece of wood on the fence to trap the piece of aluminum and fed it with a long dowel.....




Jim,
Lest someone copy this technique as the safest way to do this, let me offer two improvements.
One, ditch the piece of plywood next to the blade. That actually increases your chance of a kickback by trapping the cutoff between the blade and plywood. A much safer way to do this is to position a featherboard below the blade. This prevents kickback of the metal piece as it enters the blade. The offcut naturally falls away from the saw blade in this arrangement. It's good practice not to stand behind the blade anyway just to sure.
A fancy featherboard
If you make your featherboard longer you don't need the stuff that rides in the miter slot, you can just clamp it to the table saw top.
Secondly, your push stick can be made much safer. A good push stick allows one to push a piece through but also allows one to exert downward pressure to hold the piece tight to the table, something your dowel won't do. Here is a safer design.
I, too, agree with the other posters that this is a dangerous activity at best. I'd let a metal worker do this. The cost would be minimal.

dan k.

Edited by HunterofPhotons (12/02/13 05:07 PM)


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Jim Chung
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: HunterofPhotons]
      #6229763 - 12/02/13 05:37 PM

I have to agree with the thoughtful responses. This is the second time I've done this and likely the last time. If you guys knew what I do for a living you would be horrified that I would risk so much. I guess I'm just a sucker for finding a new way of doing something.

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Pinbout
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #6229834 - 12/02/13 06:04 PM

the only thing I hate about cutting alum on a table saw is the blade getting the alum chips sticking on the carbide tips. I cut it on the table saw also, I use a triple tip blade.

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Noisykids
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Pinbout]
      #6229865 - 12/02/13 06:16 PM

just try making those surgeon's knots, deep in someone's abdomen, by feel, gloves slippery with human fat. ain't easy with only three fingers on one hand.

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Norm Meyer
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Noisykids]
      #6229932 - 12/02/13 06:49 PM

I cut most of my aluminum with my woodworking band saw. It's
a lot safer no kick back. If you have a bandsaw with a tilting table all the better. If the table doesn't tilt you
could make a jig of with the proper angle to hold the stock.
I usually spray the blade (blade running) with WD40 before I start the cut. When the shipyard was building ships with an aluminum deck house I saw the mechanics cutting up to 2"
AL plate using Skil saws. They put the blades in backwards
and cut the AL almost like they were cutting wood.

Regards Norm


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StarStuff1
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Noisykids]
      #6229948 - 12/02/13 07:01 PM Attachment (36 downloads)

For a few years I have been making dovetails out of red oak and faily thick aluminum flat bar stock. Everything is glued and screwed together with decking screws. So far no failures. This scope weighs something like 18 or so pounds.

The wood is cut on a table saw but the aluminum is cut on a band saw. Relatively safe compared to cutting thick aluminum on a table saw.


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piaras
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: StarStuff1]
      #6230175 - 12/02/13 08:38 PM

We cut Al with saws any time. Go to a metal supply shop, they might be using a cold saw, or metal band saw. Table saw blade with carbide teeth not an issue. Check the blade information for non ferrous usage. Naturally Eye/Hearing protection is required even more than when cutting wood. Should be used all times at table saw anyways.

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piaras
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Reged: 01/26/09

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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #6230182 - 12/02/13 08:40 PM

By the way, nice write up in S & T on that folded refractor that you talked about this summer at Starfest!
Pierre


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roscoe
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: piaras]
      #6230499 - 12/02/13 10:54 PM

I cut a bunch of aluminum last summer on my tablesaw, It is a 10", but after doing a bunch of research, changed the blade for a 32-tooth carbide 7-1/4" skilsaw blade, put in regular direction (not backwards) The thinner kerf and lower tip speed keep the blade and stock from overheating, and aside from the noise and shrapnel, cuts 1/4" aluminum as easy as maple. I used good earplugs and wore a full-face clear plastic face shield, and held on firmly.
R


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roscoe
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: roscoe]
      #6230529 - 12/02/13 11:18 PM

Also, I am a big believer in the use of 'sleds' on a table saw - sleds are wood boxes or trays with strips on the bottom that run in the slots on a saw table, so instead of moving a piece against the table, you secure the piece in the sled and move the whole thing. More to hold on to, much less chance of the workpiece spinning out of control.

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tim53
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: roscoe]
      #6230646 - 12/03/13 01:25 AM

I make my "dovetails" with 1/8" x 3/4" aluminum channel and a stick of 1 by (hardwood or poplar, whatever I have laying around).

Here's the one I mounted my 6" f/10.3 Kludgescope on. I drilled holes in the channel pieces to run binder-head screws into from both sides (staggered so the screws don't run into one another). Takes maybe a half hour to make one of these when you have it laid out on paper or in your head:



Closer view:



-Tim.


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Jim Chung
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: tim53]
      #6230934 - 12/03/13 08:36 AM

Excellent responses, I learned a lot about how to make less dangerous dovetail saddles. Thanks Pierre, glad you enjoyed my talk at Starfest! I was going to say I was a concert pianist but I do perform surgery, just not in the abdomen.

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John Jarosz
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #6230958 - 12/03/13 09:02 AM

Quote:

Check the blade information for non ferrous usage




Cutting thick billets of aluminum on a table saw is pretty much SOP in any machine shop but it is not for the faint of heart.

I posted thisd before but here it is again: There are different grades of carbide. One of the variables in the different grades is toughness (resistance to fracture). For woodworking the shock from the impact of the carbide hitting the wood is much lower than carbide impacting metal.. Blades that are specifically identified as 'for non-ferrous use' are made from grades of carbide that are tougher and can withstand the higher impact loads. The cheapo carbide blades from the homecenter that are always on sale don't 'cut it'. (Pun intended)

I suppose it all depends on what you are familiar with. I've never seen anyone use a router on aluminum and I can't imagine it working well but others apparently do it successfully. Whether it a saw or router, feed rates, cutter speeds and the use of lubricant are important. Follow published guidelines, don't do this stuff alone. You want to have someone nearby who can take you to a hospital if necessary.


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careysub
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: John Jarosz]
      #6231052 - 12/03/13 09:51 AM

Quote:

...
I suppose it all depends on what you are familiar with. I've never seen anyone use a router on aluminum and I can't imagine it working well but others apparently do it successfully.
...




FWIW McMaster-Carr carries carbide router bits specifically for aluminum:
http://www.mcmaster.com/#router-bits/=pnb9ib

Use a small diameter bit, and preferably a variable speed router to keep the cutting edge speed down.

I got one of these bits to try, and chose the smallest (1/8"), but haven't tried it yet. So far I have done all my aluminum shaping with a b@st@rd file and a disk or belt sander, which work very well. Cutting an accurate slope on the edge of a long bar would be difficult this way though.

I NEVER hand-feed anything on my router table, don't even own a feather board. I ALWAYS use a jig/sled of some sort, in fact I built a rail-mounted sliding router table so that I can bolt/screw down the piece holder to a stable platform. When the right project comes along I'll try routing the edge of a piece of aluminum, but expect to take multiple very shallow cuts. I don't want to find out what it takes to break the bit.


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Chuck Hards
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: careysub]
      #6231119 - 12/03/13 10:43 AM

I've been cutting and routing aluminum & plastics with woodworking tools for 30 years without a mishap. This specifically was the gist of my S&T article in March of 99. The tube rings, bridge plates, and other detail parts of those scopes were done like this.
I hesitated to post those methods here because I had years of woodworking experience on shop tools before I ever cut a piece of aluminum on the table saw or took a router to it. I wouldn't advise someone to try it as their first experience with non-ferrous metal fabrication. Much good advice has been posted in this thread already, just be careful and if you are timid about using these tools at all, DON'T DO IT alone. Work with someone with experience until you get the processes down.

Always wear eye protection. With aluminum, I typically wear both safety glasses AND a full face shield.


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lukasik
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Chuck Hards]
      #6231136 - 12/03/13 10:52 AM

Ditto on the safety glasses and face-shield Chuck. I cut a lot of aluminum on my table saw. Make sure there is nothing whatsoever to distract you from the task such as hot chips down your shirt! Button up your collar. WD40 as a lubricant works OK but can smoke a bit. The waxy band saw lubricant can mitigate chip buildup on carbide tips.

Above all be safe. If you're really intimidated by the task, think again before proceeding. I also wouldn't tackle thick stuff before gaining experience on thinner material.


Best Regards,

Bob


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Geo31
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: lukasik]
      #6231244 - 12/03/13 11:46 AM

And once again (CANNOT be stated enough), use guards as much as possible. They are there to save your fingers and maybe even your life.

Don't ever work distracted or tired. Easiest way to remove fingers or worse.

I was on a speaker building mailing list some years ago and chatted with a fellow about his Delta Unisaw (I still really want one of those). He had wanted one for a long time as well. He got it all set up, sans guards, and just HAD to try it out, despite being tired. He described for me how he actually watched himself run 3 fingers through the blade of the saw.

Think twice. Think three times. Don't work distracted. Don't work tired. And DON'T take anything for granted when using power tools - especially when running aluminum.


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woodscavenger
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: careysub]
      #6231254 - 12/03/13 11:53 AM

I like the aluminum channel/wood combo. Nice and clean

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Old Dinosaur
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: woodscavenger]
      #6231261 - 12/03/13 11:57 AM

I've cut a lot of aluminum plate on a table saw, including many dovetails. I use a fine carbide tipped blade.
Go slow, use care like you would with any power tool.


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mark cowan
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: John Jarosz]
      #6231281 - 12/03/13 12:04 PM

Quote:

I've never seen anyone use a router on aluminum and I can't imagine it working well but others apparently do it successfully.




Hard to cut circles or rings with a regular saw...

Best,
Mark


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Gordon Rayner
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: mark cowan]
      #6231431 - 12/03/13 01:19 PM

A 12 inch disc stationary table sander has been used to make bevels, using the tilting table and/or the miter slider and/or a hardwood support-holder with the correct angle sanded on one of its faces.

The length is limited to less than the example shown by the OP, unless one has a very large ( 20"- 30" ?) industrial disc sander. I wear gloves, and keep a water container nearby to occasionally immerse the workpiece.

One-sided or two-sided female dovetails can be made by screwing one or two beveled pieces to a plate. There are several ways to secure the unbeveled mating surfaces of a one-sided arrangement.

One-sided tapered dovetails (ff. WW II Zeiss 10 x 80 x 20 deg. inclined binoc for Kriegsmarine) both male and female, are easier to make than tapered 2- siders . But none of the tapered types allow fore-aft positioning.


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StarStuff1
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: mark cowan]
      #6231529 - 12/03/13 02:04 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I've never seen anyone use a router on aluminum and I can't imagine it working well but others apparently do it successfully.




Hard to cut circles or rings with a regular saw...

Best,
Mark




I cut circles 6-in or larger in hardwood very frequently with my 10-in Craftsman table saw.


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mark cowan
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: StarStuff1]
      #6231570 - 12/03/13 02:25 PM Attachment (19 downloads)

But can you cut a perfectly smooth 20" ring 3/4" wide from 1/2" aluminum sheet??

FWIW, I use a 1/8" straight solid carbide bit to make the initial cuts (in the waste area), then a 1/4" spiral carbide bit to do to the final shaping. Don't forget the oil!

Best,
Mark

Edited by mark cowan (12/03/13 02:34 PM)


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careysub
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: mark cowan]
      #6231669 - 12/03/13 03:23 PM

Quote:

But can you cut a perfectly smooth 20" ring 3/4" wide from 1/2" aluminum sheet??

FWIW, I use a 1/8" straight solid carbide bit to make the initial cuts (in the waste area), then a 1/4" spiral carbide bit to do to the final shaping. Don't forget the oil!




When doing the initial grooving, how deep a cut do you make?


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mark cowan
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: careysub]
      #6231722 - 12/03/13 04:05 PM

Probably a little less than 1/4". The way it cuts will let you know.

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Chuck Hards
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: mark cowan]
      #6231737 - 12/03/13 04:15 PM

You have to remember that milling machines use essentially the same cutting materials as router bits. With a router, you lack the mechanical stage control so make do with jigs and fixtures. But the physical cut into the material is very similar.

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StarStuff1
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Chuck Hards]
      #6231833 - 12/03/13 05:18 PM Attachment (27 downloads)

Mark, I don't cut aluminum on my tablesaw...well only a couple of times in the past and it was thin stuff and not rings.

Here is an example of UTA rings I made a couple of years ago. The outside cut with the table saw and the inside with a Roto-Zip (or router, I don't remember).


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Geo31
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: mark cowan]
      #6231853 - 12/03/13 05:31 PM

Quote:

Don't forget the oil!




How do you feed the oil? Or do you just apply it before starting the cut and keep going?

So far I've only routed thin (0.040") material.


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roscoe
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Geo31]
      #6231933 - 12/03/13 06:33 PM

I was surprised to discover that thicker aluminium cuts better than thin - if you want to cut sheet-metal, best to clamp it between a couple of pieces of plywood or something, and cut the whole sandwich.

I was also surprised that Aluminium is really no harder to cut than really hard maple or hornbeam..... sure is noisier, though!

R


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John Jarosz
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: mark cowan]
      #6231982 - 12/03/13 07:04 PM

Quote:

But can you cut a perfectly smooth 20" ring 3/4" wide from 1/2" aluminum sheet??

FWIW, I use a 1/8" straight solid carbide bit to make the initial cuts (in the waste area), then a 1/4" spiral carbide bit to do to the final shaping. Don't forget the oil!

Best,
Mark




Mark:
What RPM on the router?

Thanks


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mark cowan
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: John Jarosz]
      #6232113 - 12/03/13 08:19 PM

Whatever it came with... That's probably 25K or so. Variable speed would be helpful, but I haven't got that yet.

As to oil, I just apply it on the top over the direction of the cut and reapply when it runs out.

Best,
Mark


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Geo31
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: roscoe]
      #6232318 - 12/03/13 10:09 PM

Quote:

I was surprised to discover that thicker aluminium cuts better than thin - if you want to cut sheet-metal, best to clamp it between a couple of pieces of plywood or something, and cut the whole sandwich.

I was also surprised that Aluminium is really no harder to cut than really hard maple or hornbeam..... sure is noisier, though!

R




In my case, I rough cut with a jigsaw and finished on the router table with a pattern bit and the pattern double-sided taped to the pattern.


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don clement
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Geo31]
      #6232452 - 12/03/13 11:20 PM

Taking too small a cut can actually dull your tool. http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCChipThinning.htm

Don


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careysub
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: tim53]
      #6232798 - 12/04/13 07:09 AM

This is a good reminder to "think outside the box" a bit.

Instead of copying the profiles of commercial dovetails (a box encouraged by the very term "dovetail"), look at the shoe you are making it for and consider how the clamp/screw engages and make a simple/convenient profile, like a simple step, that works with the target shoe. Stacking two flat bars might work, as well as any number of wood/light aluminum shape combo arrangements.


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tim53
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: careysub]
      #6232893 - 12/04/13 09:05 AM

Quote:

This is a good reminder to "think outside the box" a bit.

Instead of copying the profiles of commercial dovetails (a box encouraged by the very term "dovetail"), look at the shoe you are making it for and consider how the clamp/screw engages and make a simple/convenient profile, like a simple step, that works with the target shoe. Stacking two flat bars might work, as well as any number of wood/light aluminum shape combo arrangements.




That's what I did (pics above).

-Tim.


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don clement
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: careysub]
      #6232954 - 12/04/13 10:03 AM

Quote:

This is a good reminder to "think outside the box" a bit.




I agree. The traditional dovetail is hard (or dangerous) to fabricate without a mill. How about round rod rail components as are used for linear bearing supports. E.g. http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/350679192565?lpid=82

Don


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careysub
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: tim53]
      #6232957 - 12/04/13 10:05 AM

Quote:

Quote:

This is a good reminder to "think outside the box" a bit.

Instead of copying the profiles of commercial dovetails (a box encouraged by the very term "dovetail"), look at the shoe you are making it for and consider how the clamp/screw engages and make a simple/convenient profile, like a simple step, that works with the target shoe. Stacking two flat bars might work, as well as any number of wood/light aluminum shape combo arrangements.




That's what I did (pics above).

-Tim.




And the fact that you did was what reminded me! Sorry of that was not clear!


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tim53
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: careysub]
      #6233060 - 12/04/13 11:12 AM

No worries.

I like the round rod assembly idea too. I've also wondered about aluminum extrusions, like those sold at Rockler for making jigs and fences.

Tim


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don clement
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: tim53]
      #6233121 - 12/04/13 11:42 AM

Quote:

No worries.

I like the round rod assembly idea too. I've also wondered about aluminum extrusions, like those sold at Rockler for making jigs and fences.

Tim




Tim,

I have been thinking of replacing the solid rods with lightweight aluminum tubing in the round rod rails. Two DIY parallel aluminum tubes could replace a solid machined dovetail assembly. Split clamps would be adjustable and rigid mounting. I was thinking already made bike saddle clamps could be modified to work with aluminum tubing.
http://www.amazon.com/XLC-Alloy-Seatpost-Clamp-31-8mm/dp/B000NUEJPO/ref=sr_1_...

Don

Dancing in the shallows of a river
Lovely moonchild
Dreaming in the shadow
Of the willow.


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Geo31
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: don clement]
      #6233168 - 12/04/13 12:13 PM

Quote:

Quote:

No worries.

I like the round rod assembly idea too. I've also wondered about aluminum extrusions, like those sold at Rockler for making jigs and fences.

Tim




Tim,

I have been thinking of replacing the solid rods with lightweight aluminum tubing in the round rod rails. Two DIY parallel aluminum tubes could replace a solid machined dovetail assembly. Split clamps would be adjustable and rigid mounting. I was thinking already made bike saddle clamps could be modified to work with aluminum tubing.
http://www.amazon.com/XLC-Alloy-Seatpost-Clamp-31-8mm/dp/B000NUEJPO/ref=sr_1_...

Don

Dancing in the shallows of a river
Lovely moonchild
Dreaming in the shadow
Of the willow.




Just be sure the ones you buy don't have a lip or you'll just have to remove it. That's what I did. Annoying.


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Geo31
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: don clement]
      #6233174 - 12/04/13 12:15 PM

Quote:

Quote:

This is a good reminder to "think outside the box" a bit.




I agree. The traditional dovetail is hard (or dangerous) to fabricate without a mill. How about round rod rail components as are used for linear bearing supports. E.g. http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/350679192565?lpid=82

Don




Cool idea. How do you clamp it in place though?


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Geo31
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: tim53]
      #6233178 - 12/04/13 12:17 PM

Quote:

No worries.

I like the round rod assembly idea too. I've also wondered about aluminum extrusions, like those sold at Rockler for making jigs and fences.

Tim




I used a t-slot extrusion for the balance weights on my C8. Not hard to make, but also didn't save me enough money to be worth the extra work. By the time I bought the mounting hardware, the SS rod cut-offs (for the weights) and misc bits, I just wish I'd bought a used dovetail weight set-up.


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stmguy
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Geo31]
      #6233191 - 12/04/13 12:23 PM

I used my x-y table on my drill press to mill a dovetail out of aluminum for my LXD55. It came out pretty nice I think

Norm


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don clement
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Geo31]
      #6233260 - 12/04/13 12:45 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

This is a good reminder to "think outside the box" a bit.




I agree. The traditional dovetail is hard (or dangerous) to fabricate without a mill. How about round rod rail components as are used for linear bearing supports. E.g. http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/350679192565?lpid=82

Don




Cool idea. How do you clamp it in place though?




I would clamp it in place with easily made (for me) split clamp blocks using the eccentric cam levers ripped from a bike seat clamp to tighten. But a DIY TN with a drill press and hacksaw could also make a split clamp blocks way easier and safer than using a table saw to fabricate traditional dovetails from solid aluminum. Also aluminum tube rails with split clamps could be made more lightweight than a solid aluminum dove tail plate and just as rigid.

Don


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nosmoke
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: Norm Meyer]
      #6285706 - 01/01/14 02:53 PM

Quote:

When the shipyard was building ships with an aluminum deck house I saw the mechanics cutting up to 2"
AL plate using Skil saws. They put the blades in backwards
and cut the AL almost like they were cutting wood.

Regards Norm




Norm, could you please elaborate a bit on how a backwards blade helps the cutting process.


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StarStuff1
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: nosmoke]
      #6286496 - 01/01/14 09:32 PM

When I was working with a major retailer service dept a tech told me the same thing. I don't remember his explanation...only that I didn't want to try it out.

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nosmoke
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: StarStuff1]
      #6286526 - 01/01/14 09:52 PM

I ask because, lacking metal working tools (beyond a drill press and abrasive chop saw), I would like to try it. I have cut small Al angles & tubing on my radial arm but it's touchy, sounds bad and I'm guessing dulls the carbide fairly quickly(?). A case in point would be cutting the triangles and other parts for a mirror cell.

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piaras
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: nosmoke]
      #6287548 - 01/02/14 12:52 PM

On page 1 there is an explanation of what to look for when buying blades for non ferrous use. I use my tablesaw with a blade rated for non ferrous metals. It is not reversed, just used in the regular way, same as when cutting wood.
Pierre


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don clement
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: piaras]
      #6287684 - 01/02/14 01:53 PM

I use a 10" non-ferrous carbide blade on my chop saw. http://www.wholesalepowertools.com/freud-industrial-10-thin-stock-non-ferrous...
I haven't used the non-ferrous blade on my table saw though as I have a mill with a method of securely clamping aluminum down to the mill table or Vise. Also use soluble flood coolant with the mill. To me it would be pretty dicey cutting aluminum on a table saw. I am glad I have a mill and don't have to risk my life cutting aluminum on a table saw.

Don


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nosmoke
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: don clement]
      #6288002 - 01/02/14 04:12 PM

Don, what does the web site mean by "thin stock"? Could you cut 1/4" AL for instance? Also wondering approx. how many feet of 1/4" cut one could get from the blade b/f it dulls?

Thanks...


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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: nosmoke]
      #6288348 - 01/02/14 07:52 PM

I have used a triple chip blade like the one that Don linked to and a power feed on the tablesaw to cut 1 1/4" AL for a total of about 6' total and it still cuts well.
I would not recomend doing this without a powerfeed and good hold downs however!


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Rustynuts
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: careysub]
      #6296756 - 01/06/14 07:35 PM

As soon as it warms up, I plan to cut some 2 inch aluminum plate.
I will be using my table saw with sled and holddown clamps, Then will finish on my mill, The right blade with the Table saw is much faster than other methods for this thick Aluminum.
Jon


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don clement
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Re: Makin' long dovetail saddles the quick & dirty way new [Re: nosmoke]
      #6296887 - 01/06/14 08:50 PM

Quote:

Don, what does the web site mean by "thin stock"? Could you cut 1/4" AL for instance? Also wondering approx. how many feet of 1/4" cut one could get from the blade b/f it dulls? Thanks...





The chop saw with 10" carbide non-ferrous blade easily cut through 3" solid rounds. The Freud 10" carbide non-ferrous blade lasts a long time before needing re-sharpening. I use a solid wax stick for lubrication. The real problem is holding the aluminum and I rigged my own vise. Even so cutting aluminum with the chopsaw is loud and pretty scary.

Nowdays I use a 7 x 12 bandsaw with Lennox 4-6 tpi bimetal blade using flood coolant for cutting up to 7" aluminum rounds held in the built-in vise. (note the Labjack )I also cut 1/2" aluminum plate freehand in the vertical mode and saw table mounted. In the vertical mode when freehand bandsawing I use a Vortec Model 610 cold air gun for cooling. http://www.vortec.com/c-9-cold-air-guns.aspx 1/2" aluminum plate cuts just like wood in the vertical mode and has no kickback as it would with a table saw. I value my limbs and life too much to cut aluminum plate on a table saw when the bandsaw with 4-6 tpi blade cuts safely and quick. YMMV

Don



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