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Old 07-27-2005, 09:16 PM
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cutting diamond plate

Im thinking about making some boxes out of diamond plate to go in the bed of my truck to lock my toolboxes up. They will fit against the sides of the bed and have tabs with locks around the bottom. There will be no welding, I will instead bend the metal, drill holes, and bolt the pieces together. My main concern about cutting the diamond plate is overheating it and discoloring it. What should I do, and or what tools do I need for this project?



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Adam

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Old 07-28-2005, 02:29 PM
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Diamond Plate comes in many different thicknesses and materials.....

Which are you planning to use........? ?

as a general rule, I prefer a plasma cutter......

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Old 07-28-2005, 04:05 PM
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The aluminum is soft and easy to cut with a skilsaw with a carbide tipped blade. Mark your lines on the back side of the diamond plate (the smooth side) and cut from that side. The secret is to adjust the depth of cut on the skill saw just about a 32nd of an inch more than the thickness of your diamond plate and go slow. It makes a nice clean cut. This is for aluminum only not steel.
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Old 07-28-2005, 04:38 PM
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As HH suggested you can use a skill saw, you could also use a table saw. There are blades available for cutting non-ferrous metals, the carbide teeth have a slightly backward set to them compared to a wood cutting blade.
Be sure to wear your safety glasses, the tiny bits of aluminium will fly everywhere.
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Old 07-28-2005, 06:16 PM
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Use at least 3/16" thick aluminum. It will be strong enough to build a toolbox out of, and it will work with you when it comes time to cut! I would use the plasma cutter too. Just clamp a piece of long angle iron next to where you want to cut. Run the cutter up against the angle iron and you'll get a perfectly straight and clean cut! Gloves and a face mask with at least a #5 shade!
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Old 07-29-2005, 08:52 AM
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Just did some custom pieces for my kids' Jeep. No plasma cutter (I wish) but use the table saw on the long cuts and the skil saw on the short and curved ones, then a die grinder to clean it up a little, then finish with a file. Looks professional, and there are no others like it.
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Old 07-29-2005, 06:05 PM
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If you can find a metal shop(yellow pages)then I would suggest laying out the pieces and take the plate to the shop and have it sheared. Most shops won't charge much just to shear some thin aluminum and the edges will be VERY crisp and clean so if you are concerned about appearance this is the way to go as it will look really nice with out any additional clean-up or grinding of the edges.
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Old 07-30-2005, 07:59 AM
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Thanks for the info fellas. One more question, how easy is this stuff to make sharp bends in it? Instead of welding it together, I want to mate the edges then drill holes and put bolts through for a neater appearance.




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Adam
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Old 07-30-2005, 08:49 AM
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It will bend like regular flat metal, but the diamonds will be stretched out around the bend. Won't look to good.
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Old 07-30-2005, 09:17 AM
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Chevelle-Take a look at an aluminum tool box made from diamond plate and you will see that the bends are really neat and look great but in order to achieve this neat appearance you will need to use a sheetmetal brake(bender). If you want to perfectly mate the edges then shearing will be by far the best way to go since no matter how you saw it you can never get an edge as smooth and straight as a sheared cut. Most any shop that works with sheet metal can both shear and bend this for you so you will get a real professional look.
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Old 07-30-2005, 11:54 AM
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cutting diamond plate aluminum

Use a course tooth sawblade, somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-7 teeth per inch, and run at a very low speed to reduce heating and melting the aluminum to your blade. Also use a lot of lubricant. Aluminum is easy to cut, and Ive cut it on a band saw with a wood band blade, with very satisfactory results.
As for bending, that depends on the tensile strength of the aluminum. A rule of thumb, if the aluminum is shiny with a polished appearance, you can bend it. If it has a dull finish, you dont want to try, as it may break on you.
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:49 PM
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Better plan on adding plenty of silicone sealer or everthing will get wet. Even with welded seams there is still leakage.

bentwings
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Old 07-30-2005, 06:41 PM
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Leaks where the lid meats the body of the toolbox! No leaks at the seams unless the welds really suck!
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