View Full Version : Am I asking for trouble with this? (manual milling?)

12-02-2013, 09:50 PM
Hello folks.

The Z Axis of my CNC router is made, now looking at the Y Axis. I took some inspiration from a design that Jazz put up a while back and am keen to see if I can get to the point where I have a slot in the front plate of my Y Axis plate as per diagram. I donít have many tools but I do have an 1100W Black and Decker hand router. The plate will probably be 1100mm by 200mm by 15mm. The slot is around 55mm wide.

*IF* I was to set up the plate in my workmate, secure it and set the router guides up correctly is it feasible that I could use the hand held router to cut this hole into say 15mm Aluminium (Eco cast) plate? I canít face all the chain drilling (and filing :dread:) that I'd need to do using my drill press and I got a quote from a local engineering company to do this for around 70 pounds which is more than I want to spend. Plus although it feels a bit mad to attempt it by hand, I think it might be fun.:friendly_wink:

Any thoughts?

Finally, if it is feasible, can anyone recommend the type of cutter I'd need? Thanks for looking. Tony.


Web Goblin
12-02-2013, 10:11 PM
I would doubt that your B&D router would be up to the job to start with. The only way i could see you doing this would be to rough it out first with maybe a jig saw then clean up the edges with the router but it aint going to be easy and to be honest I dont think you would get any where near a decent finish.
Try posting an RFQ on here and see if you get any offers.

12-02-2013, 11:16 PM
Very easy to do using a hand held circular saw and guide. Or table saw if you have one.

First drill the large holes at either end using hole cutter. Align guides and slowly plunge into material, saw will at first try to jump slightly until at depth, after that then just slowly feed.
You'll be surprised how easy it cuts.! I cut 20mm plate single pass on my table saw but with hand held saw I'd do it in 2 pass's.

Like Web goblin says rough out slightly under size, say 1mm, then clean up with router. I'd make a template and use bearing guided cutter to make this easier.
I made my first gantry sides using this MDF template and router method and while very scary at first it did a very good job. Took ages has I used very shallow depth cuts but it worked fine but I was cutting mostly full slot into plate and not just cleaning up edges like you would be doing with this method.

Jig saw would work but won't give has nice clean straight cut like circular saw does and take much longer.
Don't be afraid of using circular saw on Ali it works fine and I rough cut to size all my plate on table saw with a blade that is so knackered it struggles to cut hard wood but yet is fine with Ali.?? . . .Don't make sense but it works and has cut hundreds of meters of Ali plate. Thin curf helps.

You MUST wear FULL FACE protection not just eye protection and cover arms etc has the chips are red hot and will burn you.

13-02-2013, 12:02 AM
We used to cut sheet steel using a tipped blade in circular (10" skillsaw I seem to remember) and had no problems. we did however use a wax/gease stick to lubricate the blade and the cutting line on the material. Jazz's comments about safety are really important. G.

13-02-2013, 12:16 AM
What hole cutter would go thorugh 15mm alu plate Jazz? The ones I have in my kit are clearly designed for wood and will no doubt blunt very quickly on a job like this.

13-02-2013, 12:41 AM
What hole cutter would go thorugh 15mm alu plate Jazz? The ones I have in my kit are clearly designed for wood and will no doubt blunt very quickly on a job like this.

This set is what I use but You can buy them individually at B&Q.
Bosch 13 Piece Progressor Holesaw Set : Tooled-Up.com (http://www.tooled-up.com/product/bosch-13-piece-progressor-holesaw-set/119433/)

13-02-2013, 12:52 AM
Oh forgot to say while these Hole cutters can be used in hand held drill they really need to be used in a drill press for hard materials like Ali or steel because the torque forces are high and will rip hand drill out your hands in harder materials. They also need slow spindle speeds and most drills are too fast.!

13-02-2013, 12:21 PM
Thanks Guys. The hole saw approach looks interesting but I dont have any and assuming I get the spindle and machine working they will be a one-off purchase. I'll experiment with some Ali plate off-cut I have to see how the router and circular saw perform. Presumably I'd be better off using the side action of the bit in the router through an existing hole than attempting to use an end-mill and 'drill/mill' down? Thanks. Tony.

14-02-2013, 06:18 AM
OK, I've bottled it, the circular saw might be up to it but my nerves arent. Time for an RFQ. Thanks again.

14-02-2013, 09:15 AM
maybe a bit late but I did something very similar on my machine but I used a jigsaw with a aluminium cutting blade. I just set up a guide to follow and went at it. didn't take long and was fairly painless other than the jigsaw tends to vibrate a bit.