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  #1  
Old Sun 20 November 2011, 16:00
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
Cutting 6061-T6

I am interested in building a Mechmate for cutting sheets of 6061-T6.
I have been working on building a homebuilt aircraft and I am finding that laying out and cutting aluminum by hand is a real pain. I think I would much rather put my time into something that would help me with this task, rather than doing it all by hand. I have a fairly well equipped machine shop, that includes a lathe and a knee mill.

The metal thickness ranges from .016 to .063. I would also need the machine to be accurate to at least with .5mm and preferably .25mm. For english measurement types that is roughly .01 to .02 inch.

Can this machine handle this kind of accuracy. I am also guessing I would need to build a vacuum hold down as well because of the thinness of the aluminum.

There would also be a need to cut 3/4 plywood for making making rib forms. The machine size would need to be at least 4x4. To handle full length sheets, I would need to go up to 4x12.
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  #2  
Old Sun 20 November 2011, 17:25
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
DB,

You will not have any problems cutting Aluminum in the thickness. I cut 0.05" regularly for one of my customers and it cuts fine and I don't use a vacuum table thought that would be very helpful. I also cut 0.75" plywood easily. I just finished cutting a 69 sheet job with the same bit.

My machine is 5'x10' table size.

Good luck with you build and it will make building your aircraft go faster.
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  #3  
Old Sun 20 November 2011, 18:12
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
DB,
....even .120 is easy. I haven't done heavier than 3/16 with a 3.5HP machine, but I am sure it wouldn't be an issue for your application.
Good luck.
Sean
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  #4  
Old Mon 21 November 2011, 05:23
Jayson
Just call me: Jayson #18
 
Horsham
Australia
Hi DB,

as already stated, what you require should be no problem for the Mechmate.
I had the same thoughts as you when I built my machine. I still have not started building an aircraft but have had plenty of practice with the machine.

I cut a full sheet of .032 2024-T3 not too long ago. I was not pushing the machine at all as I was not on a short turnaround time

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efFix1Cuuwo

I would suggest that you can get away with not using a vacuum table by careful placement of clamps/ screws and using the correct cutter. Downcut bits work very well. I can post a picture of one if you like.

Good luck with your build.

Regards,

Jayson.
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  #5  
Old Mon 21 November 2011, 08:28
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
Thanks for all the information. I have ordered the plans, downloaded them and will be looking them over.
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