Aluminum Composite Panels are considered as the most modern materials for buildings cladding and they are the most recommended type of product, which bring extreme benefits. They are many methods and procedures for fabricating and installing these materials. One of the most common and useful fabrication system is cutting these panels for both residential and commercial purposes. Cutting procedure is not always as easy as it seems and it often becomes a challenge for homeowners or builders when exterior renovation is required. This process is considered as the initial stage of the installation procedure. ACM panels cutting require specific tools and equipment. Circular milling cutters and saws are known as hand-held equipment used for cutting purpose. They are other industrial tools, which have vast usability; such as CNC router, laser cut, shears and cold chisels. With these tools, fabricating thin and thick longboards is possible and cutting aluminum composite panels will be done with precision.
Aluminum Laser Cut
Cutting reflective materials like aluminum can be done with fiber laser system. High powered laser have the ability to penetrate aluminum easily without creating any tooling wear. When it comes to marking ACP, CO2 lasers can also do perfect job. A laser marking spray leaves a dark, durable mark on the surface of the material after it is applied. This technology is unique with its ability of not leaving any shadings on the product after processing. The laser beam has a small diameter compared to other tooling such as router bits and die cutters. In addition, these machines are capable of doing complex cutting work and allowing more freedom than the casual CNC router. Aluminum composite panels having high yield point can be cut into pieces easily when utilizing laser cut, resulting in optimal sheet usage and reduction of material waste.
Shearing is one of the oldest machinery methods for cutting metals. Cutting aluminum composite panels with this machine is very much like using scissors to cut cardboard. In order to fracture the material in desired blank sizes, the blades of the machine come together at a minimum offset, which is described as “blade gap”. The harder or thicker the panel, the wider the gap between the blades must be, in order to decrease the amount of tonnage require fracturing the material, up to the rating of the machine. The components of a shear are included with mainframe, bed, square arm, hold-downs, blades, gaging and control. They are two types of shear available in industry, which are guillotine and swing bear that are hydraulic or mechanical.
CNC router is one of the most used machines in industry for cutting many materials. This machine is also applicable for cutting and fabricating ACPs. While cutting an aluminum with router it is important to remember removing materials precisely, which is a tricky procedure due to the stickiness of the product. This effect can be reduced by using lubricants. Using a feed rate calculator is highly recommended in this method. This is because of the tighter windows for the feed and speed when cutting aluminum composite panel. It is good to vacuum the machine regularly in order to clean the remaining chips, which can be annoying while working.
Cutting ACP Using Circular Saw
Circular saw is commonly used to make straight line cuts on ACM panels and Sidings. The procedure can be learnt easily by anyone willing to do the process in home. However, due to its dangers, noticing the safety protocols is essential. The tool must be evaluated before beginning of the process. Circular saw must never be turned on when the blade faces the material, which needs to be cut. Wearing safety glasses is highly recommended for protecting eyes from dust or flying debris during the procedure.
Before beginning cutting aluminum composite panels, a fine toothed blade must be selected and the panel must not be cut with a wall thickness of more than ¼ inch. It is better to have a blade, which can create narrow kerfs. In order to prevent spillage and sparks, applying cutting lubricants on the blades is necessary. In order to have better result, reducing diameter of the cutting blade is recommended. C-clamps are approvable for securing the ACM panels on the worktable. For additional safety measure, using a push stick for holding and moving the panel into the saw can be very handy. The saw need to be hold firmly with the dominant hand and then a downward pressure needs to be applied as the blade moves along the panel. It is important to remember keep fingers away from the saw blade.
Use Jigsaw to Cut Aluminum Composite Panel
Cutting aluminum composite panels with jigsaw is one of the most common methods in fabrication industry. Jigsaw is a very versatile tool and it is capable of making straight cuts through any thickness. This tool can also create angles and curves. For aluminum cutting, a special blade is required for the jigsaw in order to make accurate and smooth cuts. A 24-toothed blade or greater is approvable for this purpose. The higher the teeth count on the blade, the smoother the cut will be.
First, cutting marks must be defined on the material with a straightedge or a marker. Several drops of oil or lubricant must be dripped on the cutting point. This will make the cutting of the ACP easier and it will keep the blade cool and extend its lifetime. The jigsaw must be fixed at the point where the cutting will begin. The blade should be about ½ inch away from the panel. Positioning the base-plate of the saw on the surface, which will be cut, is necessary. After activating the tool, the blade must be slowly but firmly moved into the panel. While cutting aluminum composite panel, the jigsaw should not be forced into the material in order to prevent the blade from breaking.
Cold Chisels for Cutting
For cutting aluminum, the cold chisel must be 1 inch wider than the material. After choosing an appropriate chisel, the tool must be sharpen to a 60-70 degree bevel with a honing guide. Then the composite panel should be placed into the center of the vice and being tightened firmly. The alignment of the chisel should be done with vice’s screw and hammering the material. It is important to notice that using a claw hammer is forbidden. This cutting method can be done in 30 second. Anything longer than the time expected means the chisel is not chosen correctly for the sheet.