Cutting Aluminum with a Miter Saw (incl. Step-by-Step Instruction)

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The blade of a miter saw touches an aluminum work piece to cut it

Aluminum is one of the most versatile metals that you can use and one of the most durable ones too. Though it may not be the strongest of all, it may get quite challenging to cut aluminum because handling aluminum can get very difficult.

Cutting aluminum can get a very tedious job because too much impact can spoil the cutting and too little of it won’t cut it at all. So, what’s the right way to cut aluminum? There are many tools available to cut aluminum but in this article, we will discover how you can cut aluminum with a Miter saw.

Let us find out in detail.



Example of a miter saw: the Dewalt 12″ single-bevel compound miter saw.

Can You Cut Aluminum with a Miter Saw?

Yes, you can cut aluminum with a miter saw. Although there are a lot of tools that you can use to cut aluminum, a Miter Saw is good, if not one of the best tools for cutting aluminum. Thanks to its design, it allows to clamp the aluminum and perform precise cuts using the handle that holds the rotating blade. Thus, a miter saw enables you to cut aluminum accurately while it is safe and comparatively convenient to operate.

In fact, you can cut not only aluminum but also other metals such as Steel with Miter saw. But you must keep in mind certain things such as the volume of the metal you want to cut as well as the project needs. You will also need to take care of the kind of blades you use. So, let us find out which blades you need to use.

Which Blades Do You Need to Cut Aluminum?

There are many blade types that would work best with Miter saws and these blade types are as follows:

  • Circular Blades – These blades work best while working with tilting angles to cut aluminum in the desired shapes.
  • Sharp Cut Blades – Used to make sharp cuts to the metal to make it the perfectly cut metal piece.
  • Razor Blades – These blades are the best if you want high-precision cuts with the metal.
  • Coarse and very coarse cut blades – These blades lend some abrasive cutting to aluminum so that the finishing is fine.

How Do You Cut Aluminum with a Miter Saw?

Now comes the main and the most important part of aluminum cutting and that is the exact process of aluminum cutting. The process depends on the shape of the metal you are cutting.

In order to cut aluminum, you will obviously need a miter saw and the right blades. You will want to use a lubricant as well. The duration varies depending on the size and complexity of the project, it can range from a few minutes for simple cuts up to several hours or days for complex projects.

Let’s look at how it is to be done.

1) Select the Right Blade

Firstly, you will need to ensure that you need to pick up the correct tooth count of the blades. Also, find out the thickness of the aluminum you are cutting. An hss blade with 200 teeth is apt for cutting really thin aluminum.

Then make sure you use the specially designed blades for cutting aluminum (such as these blades, for example). These blades are made from special grade carbide aluminum.

2) Mount the Blades

To mount the new blade, you need to remove the mounted blade first. Open the blade guard, take out the old blade and insert the new one.

3) Clamp the Aluminum

The first thing is to clamp the metal so that it does not move so much that’s because the blade might grab the material and damage it completely. So, make sure the aluminum material, bar or metal piece is clamped properly and so make sure you always wear safety glasses while cutting.

4) Cut the Aluminum with the Miter Saw

Once you make sure of all these things, then continue with the cutting process.

To do so, you need to align the workpiece and the blades in accordance with the intended cut or the measure marks. Normally, one hand is kept on the aluminum. You then lower the handle of the miter saw with the other hand until it touches and cuts the material.

When you start cutting, use a lubricant to make the cutting easier.

Continue the cuts as per the project requirements, cut the large pieces into medium ones and then give them the required finishing.

If you need more detailed guidance on how to operate a miter saw, read this step-by-step instruction:

5 Expert Tips to Cut Aluminum

Now that you are aware of the entire process, here are a few tips to cut aluminum better and faster:

  1. Always put your safety gear when you start cutting metal.
    Safety goggles and work gloves are the minimum requirements to protect yourself from small pieces of aluminum that could be hurled into the air during the cutting process.
  2. Always use the right set of blades.
    Follow the recommendations in the previous section and make sure you use the correct types of blades. Also, avoid using blunt blades and replace old blades in time.
  3. Clamp your metals properly.
    This will help you make a perfect cut and prevents failures and waste of material.
  4. Use a wood backer to trap the aluminum.
    Using a backer board (like this) will enhance the quality and accuracy of your work and ensure safe working.
  5. Make use of a good lubricant when cutting the aluminum.
    This will help you make the cuts smooth.

Conclusion

Cutting aluminum by making use of a Miter saw needs to be done in a stepwise manner – ensure you have the right blade – clamp the material properly – use some lubrication and start cutting your materials to the highest precision. Do not forget to wear protective gear while starting any cutting job.

There are many other options and tools of cutting aluminum but Miter saw is the tool that cuts the metal to a precision that cannot be achieved by any other tool. That is the reason why Miter saw is preferred over other tools. Use this article as a guide to cut aluminum with a Miter saw and check out our guide to miter saws and how to use them if you are new to this type of saw.

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