Can I Cut Aluminium With a Scroll Saw? - Our Guide To Scroll Saw Metal Cutting
Scroll saws are primarily used for cutting woodworking materials such as pieces of plywood, but this doesn't mean you can't use it to cut metalworking projects too with a few adjustments.
A scroll saw can indeed cut aluminium as well as other metals as long as it is fitted with the right type of blade and not a wood blade. You would also need to adjust some settings such as the speed of your saw and make sure the metal is of the right thickness.
To guide you through cutting metal with a scroll saw we have put together a guide below which will take you through what kinds of metal a scroll saw can cut, the type of blade you can use for a metal project as well as some essential tips to ensure you can cut through metal materials with ease.
What Type Of Metals Can I Cut With a Scroll Saw?
First off, let's briefly discuss the kinds of metal that a scroll saw can cut through and the type of metal it can't make sure you get the best finish without damaging your saw.
A scroll saw can cut through a huge variety of metals, but they do have to be softer metal types, harder metal types are not recommended for cutting with a scroll saw. In addition to this, you should also ensure that your metal pieces are no thicker than 1/8-inch so that the entire project can be cut.
We will list the range of materials you can cut with your scroll saw when it comes to metal down below.
Lighter metals such as aluminium and brass tend to be most suitable for cutting with your scroll saw, we would avoid cutting the thicker metal such as steel when you can as it will wear out metal-cutting blades fast.
Which Blade Do I Need For Cutting Aluminium?
To be able to cut aluminium with your scroll saw you have to install the right metal cutting blade on your saw. Typically, most of the time you need to look for a proper blade with smaller teeth for cutting metal, it should also have hardened teeth for durability when cutting.
We have bullet-pointed the three main types of scroll saw blades you can use for cutting metal down below.
- Jeweller's blades - These are the correct blades for cutting metal thanks to their smaller tooth blades which are hardened for durability. The blade types do cut metal quite quickly however so need replacing often due to their design despite being hardened.
- Spiral blades - Spiral blades have teeth in all kinds of directions, they are least recommended as they are quite hard to control due to their design but might prove helpful if you need to slow down your cutting time because of the friction created by all the teeth. A spiral blade would be best suited for cutting metal materials such as aluminium as they have a wider kerf.
- Skip-tooth blades - Skip tooth blades have a gap in between each tooth which makes them great for cutting metal as they get rid of the metal shavings build-up through the gaps as you cut material, these blades do not have bigger teeth, just more space.
Important Tips For Cutting Aluminium With a Scroll Saw
If you are going to be cutting aluminium with your scroll saw for the first time then you need to make sure you know how to do so properly.
To help you out we have listed some of the essential tips for cutting metal with your scroll saw down below.
- Wear safety glasses - You never know how much metal pieces are going to fly off during cutting, protecting your eyes with goggles is a must for this type of task, as well as hearing protection since cutting metal is not a quiet task!
- Have spare blades - Even with the best blade quality, metal cutting blades still wear down quickly, so have a good range of blade selection on hand in case one gets damaged or dull quickly.
- Lubricate your blade - For cutting metal you need to make sure that you are using a lubricant such as WD-40 on your blade to prevent it from overheating during use from the blade friction.
- Use the sandwich metal method - One way to cut aluminium well with your scroll saw is by sandwiching it between two pieces of plywood. All you need to do is use a light adhesive for sticking plywood on either side of the material, attach your pattern and use packing tape to secure it all.
- Have a handsaw on hand - Using a handsaw for tight corners and patterns can help rather than a scroll saw.
- Go slow - If your scroll saw has variable speed use it on the lowest setting, you want the best control possible when cutting metal and you also want to avoid the blade overheating during use.
- Watch your fingers - Be careful where your fingers are on the material as your push metal through the saw, avoid having them close to the blade.
- Keep the metal flat - When metal is being pushed through the machine make sure it stays flat to avoid it pinching or kicking back while being cut which could turn into a safety hazard.
- Check the blade - Always check the condition of your metal cutting blade before starting a cut, make sure the teeth are sharp and nothing is bent as a dull blade will give a poor cutting finish to your material.
- Never force thick materials - As we mentioned above, it's best to stick with the 1/8-inch rule when cutting metal, if you try and force thicker metal through then it could damage your machine and blade.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cutting Aluminium With a Scroll Saw
Is cutting metal with a scroll saw safe?
Cutting metal with a scroll saw is not as safe as cutting wood but as long as you take the right safety precautions such as by wearing goggles you can protect yourself.
Can I use a regular blade for cutting aluminium with a scroll saw?
No, a regular blade will likely snap or overheat quickly when being used to cut metal, it is potentially dangerous if it breaks during the cutting process at speed.
What type of lubricant should I use on my metal cutting blade?
Any lubricant such as WD-40 or wax can help to prevent your blade from overheating during use.
How much do metal cutting blades for scroll saws cost?
Depending on the quality and size most cost anything between £10-£20.
To conclude, a scroll saw can be used for cutting a variety of soft metals as long as you equip your saw with the appropriate metal cutting blade such as a jewellers blade or a skip tooth blade. Always make sure you are taking the right safety precautions when cutting metal and going at a slow speed.