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What is best saw for shortening bt3k aluminum rails?

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  • What is best saw for shortening bt3k aluminum rails?

    I am trying to determine the safest way (also cleanest) to cut bt3k rails in half to repurpose them into half length wide rails. For a small shop a 20 extension makes more sense to me If you have to deal with miter saw on stand, shop smith, band saw and large dust collector and future cyclone. Im tempted to try it with my hitachi 10 miter saw as I have seen how easy my bt3k has made partial clean cuts in the aluminum rip fence (even thru the screws holding the saw gauges- oops). If I use the miter saw should I do it with with a Forrest chop master or one of the other (cheaper?) carbide blades that I have?

  • #2
    You can cut aluminum with any high tooth count carbide tipped blade. You do need to cut more slowly and clean up the sharp edges with a file or sandpaper. I've cut quite a bit of aluminum on my miter saw with no issues.
    An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
    A moral man does it.


    • #3
      The stock blade does a neat job of cutting aluminum. Just ask anyone who has "joined the club" and trimmed their miter fence.
      just another brick in the wall...


      • #4
        Ive cut a fair amount of aluminum with my Hitachi 10 sliding miter saw, as well as my Craftsman version of the BT3. My largest piece was 3/4 thick plate x 8 wide. It takes longer to clean up the mess than to cut it. Clamp it down, put on safety glasses, grit your teeth and cut slowly.


        • #5
          Any miter saw will cut aluminum nicely and cleanly and of course squarely.. I prefer to use a blade made for cutting non ferrous metals but any G.P. woodworking blade will work OK without significant damage as aluminum is fairly soft.
          There will be a lot of aluminum chips/shavings around when you are done,. Wear eye protection and vacuum up after if not during.

          The BT3 or any table saw will also cut aluminum quite easily and neatly. Again a non-ferrous metal cutting blade is good but a GP woodworking blade will cut it... just ask any BT3 owner who's inadvertantly trimmed his aluminum miter fence. Of course use your miter fecne to cross cut as you would a long piece of wood.
          Last edited by LCHIEN; 03-02-2018, 01:59 AM.
          Loring in Katy, TX USA
          If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
          BT3 FAQ -


          • #6
            And wear hearing protection! It is a loud operation.


            • #7
              Thanks guys,

              i picked up a 100 tooth blade for non ferrous metals on eBay - about $25.00 at the door. It cut awesome and was relatively quite, especially with my shooting ear muffs. I also had eye protection. Didnt make too much of a mess in my driveway - are aluminum flakes good for growing shrubs and flowers?

              a little bit of cleanup and the rails will look like they were made that way.

              if I do it again I may try my dust collection system but it hasnt worked real well for wood chips and sawdust on the chop saw. I need to design, find, fabricate a better method to collect sawdust.