Rotary tools, such as Dremel tools, can be used for a number of purposes on a variety of materials. They are a must for any complete tool collection because of their versatility and their ability to cut with precision and detail. As long as you have the proper protection and the right cutting discs, you can use a Dremel tool to cut just about anything, including aluminium.
Outline the cuts that you want to make with a permanent marker directly on the aluminium. The aluminium should be reasonably thin or the Dremel may not make a thorough division. Consider the type of cut you'll be making, such as a cut-out or a cut-through. Determine exactly where the cut should be made if you intend to make a precise cut on either side of the marked line.
Mount the cutting disc by removing the small screw from the tip of the Dremel and placing the disc on the spindle. Put the screw back on the spindle and tighten it to secure the disc. Tighten down the bit chuck by holding the bit spindle in one hand and the Dremel lock button.
Don all protective gear. It is very important to wear eye protection and a respirator mask. Bits of aluminium dust will disperse during cutting and could severely damage your lungs and skin if the proper precautions are not taken.
Hold the Dremel over the line you wish to cut. Turn the tool on high and lower it on the line. Cut on the side that will not be displayed as this tends to be the surface to receive the messiest edge. Do not cut all the way through the surface on the first run. Imagine that the cutting disc is a precise sanding tool and you are gradually working your way through the material layer by layer. Make a pass along your line once all the way through. Don't rush. If the motor slows, pull back so that your disc does not endure too much strain and break. If the disc breaks, replace it before trying again.
Continue to make passes over your cutting line until the tool reaches the other side of the aluminium. Mount a smaller disc to make a more precise cut. Be careful not to let any shards fly away where they might stick in you or someone else. Do not touch any edges directly after cutting aluminium with a Dremel.
Mount a grinding stone bit to soften the edges of the cut. Do not use too much force when running a grinding stone along the edges. Steady your hands, and with the flat side of the grinding stone perpendicular to the blunt edge of the cut, turn the Dremel up to full speed and slowly guide it along the edge. Follow up with a sanding bit to smooth the edge further.
If you have sensitive skin, wear gloves to protect your hands and arms from aluminium shards.
Always wear protective gear. Metal shards are hard to see and can easily be breathed in or slip into your eyes, causing serious lung or eye damage. Charge the battery of your tool fully before use. This will prevent the motor from slowing and catching on uncut metal.
Things you need
- Dremel rotary tool
- Reinforced cutting disc bit
- Grinding stone bit
- Eye protection
- Respirator mask
- Ear plugs
- Flathead screwdriver
- Permanent marker