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A place where restoration project-type threads can go to avoid falling off the main page in the WIX hangar. Feel free to start threads on Restoration projects and/or warbird maintenance here. Named in memoriam for Gary Austin, a good friend of the site and known as RetroAviation here. He will be sorely missed.
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Cutting aircraft aluminum

Wed Dec 02, 2015 7:30 pm

What are the best/quickest tools to use to cut aircraft aluminum. Any suggestions on tools? Specifically what blade types should I use? If I needed to cut wing from wrecked plane in the field, what should I use? gas powered tools or electric with generator? How about cutting wing when electric power is available? I'm trying to save a piece of history, but I can't save it all.

Re: Cutting aircraft aluminum

Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:13 am

A reciprocating saw (ie. Sawzall) is probably your most versatile option. You can get fine tooth hacksaw blades in various lengths and shapes that will make short work of cutting up anything. One note. get at least three times as many blades as you think you'll need, and be ready to change them often, a bent or dull blade is less than safe or controllable, and generally frustrating. A couple of GP demo blades will come in handy in the field for clearing brush, cutting supports et cetera.

Re: Cutting aircraft aluminum

Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:31 pm

I just did this two weeks ago on a DC-3 wing tip: viewtopic.php?f=26&t=56964

Definitely borrow a generator for the job as electric tools are ideal for the job (don't forget the extensions cords). As mentioned by ALOHADAVE, a recip saw with plenty of replacement blades is good but also an angle grinder with a metal cutting blade will make short work of the task. It cuts through the aluminum like a hot knife going through butter! A couple of replacement blade wheels would also be a good idea. If you haven't used one before be very careful with an angle grinder though. They spin at over 1000 rpm so if a blade lets go it will throw the bits everywhere at high speed which is why they come with a protective guard. Also, don't place it down until it stops spinning. Learn how to use it safely and then go have some fun!

Re: Cutting aircraft aluminum

Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:34 am

Hi Dave,

What airplane are you working?

Re: Cutting aircraft aluminum

Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:36 pm

When using metal cutting blades, have at least two or three teeth in the metal thickness while cutting, it will make the cut more effective and clean.
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