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Aluminum ZCTP?

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  • Aluminum ZCTP?

    This is probably a crazy idea, but has anyone tried making a ZTCP for the BT3x out of aluminum?

  • #2
    Getting the right thickness would be a problem, but there are ways to shim it up if you get a sheet a bit smaller.
    The next issue is making nice clean cuts, ideally you could use a milling machine but I suppose a non-ferrous blade could make the cuts if you were willing to make the cuts on your saw. If you wanted to make a precise ZCTP slot then you would have to use your favorite Wood cutting blade on aluminum.

    To be honest I don't have a milling machine and I would be hesitant to make that many large cuts on my wood saws.
    I would also worry about the ZCTP slot - if it touches, you get blade on aluminum as opposed to blade on plastic or wood.

    Not sure what the advantage would be to using aluminum.
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-05-2018, 01:35 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 - http://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/dis...sked-questions

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    • #3
      I suppose it's possible, I've cut a lot of aluminum with my carbide tipped saw blades and never had an issue with it. My question would be what would be the advantage of aluminum over other materials?

      I've used MDF and hardboard and the ones I have for my Ridgid saw now are melamine over something that appears to be like Trex decking.
      Chr's
      __________
      An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
      A moral man does it.

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      • #4
        I don't see why it wouldn't be possible, but it seems to me that making it out of something else--like wood--would be a lot easier and probably in the long run more forgiving on your blades.

        It's been a long time since I owned a BT3, but I remember there being a lot of stepped levels on the underside of the ZCTP. I think I remember when I made mine out of red oak, I had to mill away quite a bit of material along the edges. I was concerned there wouldn't be enough meat to support it, but it was fine.

        Now that you've got your handheld CNC, I'm wondering if you could batch out a bunch of these and even shave them down to the correct thickness so minimal shimming would be required.

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        • #5
          As noted above the challenge of a ZTCP on the BT3x is getting something ridgid enough, yet thin enough. The plastic ones from Ryobi are molded in several levels so they can be thick where possible and thin where necessary. But as I was putting away my dado throat plate the other day, it occurred to me that it was just a thin piece of steel. Of course you don't want to cut steel with your table saw, but evidently aluminum is doable (I've never tried it) and would be much more solid than a thin piece of wood.

          Paul- I have toyed with the idea of trying to model something for my Shaper CNC... I just am not that good with CAD yet lol.

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          • #6
            https://www.sawdustzone.org/articles...e-ryobi-bt3000

            I did find this article on here. I don't even remember who this user is, though.

            IIRC, the challenge with the DIY ZCTP is that a 10" blade does not go low enough to allow you to place a DIY ZCTP of reasonable thickness in the hole without it already being in contact with the blade. I don't remember now how I got the slot cut in mine, but I did.

            I think the article mentions using a router table to mill out a deep enough slot from underneath so the blade won't be touching the ZCTP then raising the spinning blade through. My ZCTP was made from red oak. The edges were probably 1/8" thick all around and the center probably 1/2"--I don't remember exactly. It was plenty stiff. I made one for my regular blade as well as for a 1/4" wide dado stack. The dado stack was easier because the 6" blade was far enough away.

            Paul

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            • #7
              Originally posted by atgcpaul View Post
              I don't see why it wouldn't be possible, but it seems to me that making it out of something else--like wood--would be a lot easier and probably in the long run more forgiving on your blades.

              It's been a long time since I owned a BT3, but I remember there being a lot of stepped levels on the underside of the ZCTP. I think I remember when I made mine out of red oak, I had to mill away quite a bit of material along the edges. I was concerned there wouldn't be enough meat to support it, but it was fine.

              Now that you've got your handheld CNC, I'm wondering if you could batch out a bunch of these and even shave them down to the correct thickness so minimal shimming would be required.
              With aluminum, the material would be much stiffer than plastic or wood and not require a thick section in the middle. I believe that a single thickness all the way to the edges would be sufficient and therefore not require milling the edges. The thickness of the steel throat plate that comes with the saw is .091" and I have mine shimmed to .110" to make it perfectly flush.
              So some .093 (approx 3/32") aluminum plate would be right. Aluminum is not as stiff as steel by a long shot for the same thickness but its way, way more stiff than plastic.
              Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-05-2018, 01:46 PM.
              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 - http://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/dis...sked-questions

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              • #8
                Does aluminum spark like steel when being ground? I don't work much aluminum, so not sure - but if it did, I don't like the idea of spark potential in wood dust. I believe most blades have the potential to flex a little, and I would think this would have a grinding effect on the kerf in the ZCTP near the teeth - so if that causes sparking, I can't think that would be a good thing to have in the suspended saw dust.
                Bill in Buena Park

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                • #9
                  Aluminum, brass, copper, and most other common metals do not spark.

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                  • #10
                    Aluminum would not be any worse than other material for a throat plate.
                    We have recently started making throat plates again, but only for Delta saws and clones so far.
                    We use Bamboo flooring with a red Formica top. Very sturdy stuff.
                    Lee

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