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Old 01-03-2013, 10:06 AM
Terry Williams Terry Williams is offline
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Default Advice on .125" 5052 Aluminum (harder - stronger than 6061)

Hi guys,

I got an email this morning from a sign shop asking about routing 5052 aluminum in .090 and .125 thickness. As I recall, 5052 is harder and stronger than 6061.

I have a couple of questions for those experienced Camasterer's out their who have done this type of work:

How would you go about holding a sheet of aluminum down if you did not have a vacuum system - there must be quite a bit of force trying to move it during the cutting process.

Also, I have an MDF spoil board so I was wondering if the misting was absolutely essential and if it is, what is the best way to handle it?

Is this type of work worth pursuing or is it one of those things where the time and hassle involved make you wish you had never agreed to do the job?

Thanks!
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:41 PM
rcrawford rcrawford is offline
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I have had very good luck holding aluminum with custom vacuum jigs. You just need a cheap venturi vacuum source (something that will go to 20-25"hg, under $100), and then make a little jig out of something non-porous (corian, aluminum, HDPE, plexi, etc) that has a thin plenum and a foam seal around the inside of each part. The aluminum will be held very firmly.

This is only convenient if you are making several of the same part, because making the jigs takes time, and you don't want to make one for just a single part.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:35 PM
Russ Revels Russ Revels is offline
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If I remember correctly 5052 aluminum is primarily used for bending. I got some scraps from a sheet metal shop and tried using it on my Taig cnc mill. I broke a lot of 1/8" bits. It is gummy. It can be cut, but in my experience it requires cutting fluid to keep the bit from clogging. 6061 or 7075 cuts much better.

Russ
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:44 PM
Dan Dan is offline
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Default 5052 Alum

5052 Alum is not harder...or stronger than 6061.

5052 is what is known as "marine grade" ...as in it has certain properties to keep it from corroding. It is the closest grade to 6061 that can be formed without heat or special tooling.

An easy way to remember...the lower the number...the softer it is. 3003 alum is very soft...and very gummy. 5052 is hard...but can be formed. 6061 is heat treated and very brittle...will crack when cold formed. 7000 series is harder than 6061...ect ect.

I don't cut aluminum on the camaster...so i can't answer any of the other questions...

Good Luck...

Dan
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:53 PM
Terry Williams Terry Williams is offline
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Thanks to every one of you guys!

This is one of the best forums on the webernet!

It looks like I just need to get some 5052 and try it - I can try the hand spray method for cooling just to see if it's worth pursuing.

Thanks again for sharing the tribal knowledge!
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