View Full Version : Need to cut .5 Aluminium Sheet - Set-up Needed

12-08-2010, 08:39 PM
Hi all,

Just starting looking into my options for cutting 0.5 mm sheet aluminium and found this forum and hoping for any pointers.

I have been looking at a Mechanical option rather than laser as I believe that's what is required with a work base of 600mm x 400mm which is about right for me. I don't really require the engraving option as it is just fine(ish) detail cutting of various shapes I require.

Any toughts or advice appreciated.



12-08-2010, 09:10 PM
Welcome Andrew

Are you looking to build or buy?

The first obvious problem is that you will need to cut all the way through in one go so a sacrificial bed will be needed and probably double sided tape to stop it moving once its cut.

I guess you'll need small high speed bits to stop the sheet tearing, with a fairly low run out on the spindle so you dont break them. get that sorted and you should be good to go.

This is just my opinion and there will be those who have used an mdf machine with a dremel and got results.:whistling:

Robin Hewitt
12-08-2010, 09:28 PM
Holding it is your problem, it's too light.

You could use left hand helix to stop it burring up but you'd have to change the backing about once a sheet.

Have you been put off by a laser quote?

If I had to cut all different shapes, I'd probably start by looking for the smallest available plasma head.

If I had to cut a few shapes repeated, I'd probably get quotes for cutting a stack of 10 or more with abrasive water jet. Don't want to weld it :naughty:

12-08-2010, 10:43 PM
Thanks for the initial advice.

As I know hardly anything about this type of thing but it could very well become a key part of our business I was looking at the Vision 1624. Building doesn't even cross my mind unless it is a realistic option. The reason I am looking at mechanical is due to the aluminium being coated with a laquer and didn't want to damage it with laser. If other realistic alternatives are available happy to look. I'd prefer not to spend the amount needed for the above model and even decent second hand would do to get us up and running.

Thanks again.


John S
12-08-2010, 11:19 PM
A laser is that quick it wouldn't damage the coating, we have it cut in 4mm thick and it still leaves the clear plastic sheet intact.
cutting alloy, especially in thin sections with a router is slow, messy and prone to building up on the cutters if not lubricated and that in turn will rip the material out of position.

The sheet thickness you specify is usually in dead soft form which is real gummy for mechanical cutting. the harder grades usually don't come in this thickness.


12-08-2010, 11:27 PM
Thanks John.

I had a few samples cut out and it came up well on the mechanical engraver. I asked a local trade engraver to do the aluminium and they said the couldn't. Also, Identify in Bristol said no laser. Your making me doubt myself now as I was also talking about cutting frp plastic as well. Hmmmm?

I am looking to get a fair bit of daily use out of the machine so happy to look at any method that you guys think might work.

Peter Griffin
12-08-2010, 11:33 PM
Depending on quantity, what about water jet cutting?

12-08-2010, 11:36 PM
I know nothing about water jet cutting but open to any options. Quantities will range from one per design possibly upto 1000. A bit unknown yet. Some designs are simple whilst others will have more detail cutout.

Robin Hewitt
13-08-2010, 12:14 AM
Abrasive water jet is a very high velocity squirt of water mixed with grit. It will cut through most anything, without heat.

13-08-2010, 08:41 AM
Thanks again for the help and advice.

An thoughts on what makes or models for what might suit the job? Like I said, the Vision 1624 I was looking at or similar but would prefer to pay less and buy a second one if things go well.

13-08-2010, 09:23 AM
One extra bit of info that might scupper the Waterjet and very possibly, slightly key to it functioning well........ we don't have a water supply to the premises we work out of.

Robin Hewitt
13-08-2010, 12:07 PM
An thoughts on what makes or models for what might suit the job? Like I said, the Vision 1624 I was looking at or similar but would prefer to pay less and buy a second one if things go well.

You don't buy an abrasive water jet cutter, you rent time on it.

If you still think a rotary cutter is a possibility, get someone to try cutting your material first and see if you can live with the result :heehee:

13-08-2010, 12:22 PM
I have had samples cut on the model I mentioned and they look good and worked well to my untrained eye. I didn't see the process take place though so there might have been faulty ones before it. Renting time sounds a little inconvenient for what we need with sampling and quick turnaround etc.

13-08-2010, 02:28 PM
Hi Andrew,

Not sure on the shapes you are thinking of, but wondered if it would be possible to use a press and stamp them out. You need to make the tool, or have it made, but then you could make parts fairly quickly and at a reasonable volume. For low volume though this might not be cost effective.

13-08-2010, 02:44 PM
There would be various shapes and quantities and changing all the time. We brand various merchandise for lots of different customers so we could be doing a small company logo for a fridge magnet to a football player shape or even just clock faces branded up. I would think a tool press to not be cost effective for quite a few of the runs but as I have previously said.... I am new to all this so don't know the best options. I could have a run for 20 8" clock faces then straight after 1000 shaped fridge magnets.

15-08-2010, 04:12 PM
Is this type of machine okay or cheap rubbish? http://www.prototools.co.uk/Heiz_S720_CNC_Machine_with_5Channel_Controller_p_1 8502.html Would it cut .5mm alu or not the right type of thing?