Cutting aluminum, or to be more specific cutting an aluminum profile at home, or even cutting a wooden strip may seem complicated if we do not have the necessary tools. And even more if we live in an apartment and do not have a workshop to be able to work in conditions. So, in this post we are going to see how we can cut an aluminum profile at home if we have neither a workshop nor even a worktable or a workbench.
To cut the aluminum profile I’m going to use a hacksaw and the cheapest miter box I could find in the DIY store. Yes, I know that there are special tools, and there are even circular saws to which you can attach a special disc for cutting metal, but I want to try to cut these aluminum profiles with the minimum tools.
And since I don’t have a work table here (it’s a friend’s apartment, far away from my workshop), I’m going to cut the aluminum profile on the floor. So, the first thing I’m going to do is to put a piece of cardboard to protect the floor.
Now I use the miter box to cut a thin strip of wood. I cut it to a length equal to the length of the miter box.
And I have to screw the wood strip on the edge at the back of the miter box. Like this now the miter box has a lid that will help to hold the miter box when we cut anything.
I also need a shelf from a closet. I put it on the cardboard and against the baseboard on the wall. And I put the miter box on the shelf with the lid I screwed underneath it against the edge of the board. This way, when cutting the aluminum profile the miter box will not move forward, as the lid against the edge of the board will prevent the miter box from moving forward.
So, now I have to put masking tape more or less in the area where I am going to cut the profiles.
And I measure and mark on the masking tape the length to which I want to cut the aluminum profiles. The masking tape makes it easier to make the mark where to cut the aluminum, and also helps to prevent the paint of the aluminum profile from being damaged around the cut.
And now I can cut the aluminum profiles. I place the aluminum profile on the miter box, align the mark with the corresponding slots on the miter box, and keep the profile pressed forward against the miter box.
In addition, I also have to press the miter box in such a way that it will keep the lid against the edge of the shelf board. And I have to cut decisively, but without putting the weight of my body against the saw, because if something goes wrong I can be thrown forward. Also, when cutting with the metal saw, it tends to get stuck in the metal, so if this happens it is better to lift the saw, bring it backwards and continue the cut by cutting decisively forward.
The result should be a near perfect 90 degrees cut in the aluminum porfile. But we can see that, as expected after cutting aluminum or any other metal, the cuts have quite a few metal burrs.
So I’m going to remove the masking tape and sand off the burrs with very fine grit metal sandpaper. It is usually sufficient to rub the sandpaper at an angle, gently against the cut. But sometimes, depending on the intended use of the profiles, we may also need to remove the metallic burrs inside the aluminum profile. This is a bit more complicated, and a small metal file must be used to get it right.