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     Filing Aluminum

I'm having a heck of a time with my files "gumming up" with aluminum. When I file a casting, it keeps going "rasp, rasp, rasp, rasp, HACK";  little globs of aluminum stick in the teeth of the files

The Tinman Respondeth:

Well, do not give up. Try the Supershear file, or the aluminum cut file, and save money and time over abrasives, unless you have big jobs and big machinery to mow down that aluminum. I use many ways to "cut my aluminum working". One is by hand, with the Supershear or Aluminum cut file.

I find the Supershear to be the fastest handfile. It was developed in the early 1950's, is shaped like a Vixen, but the tooth pattern is tilted to one side, and it has a second cut running diagonally to the length of the file. It may need chalk or lube for some people, but I never lube that file.

The Aluminum cut file is fast, and leaves a smoother cut than the Super Shear. It may need a dab of chalk or lube, but the trick is to push hard on the cutting stroke, and ease up as you pull back -to rattle the pins free. The finer files, and those not specifically designed for aluminum -or lead, or etc... need lubes, chalk, and techniques. Start with a clean file with clean bright gullets before applying chalks or lubes.

But the best pinner-outer is a sharp point of the same material, and for lead use brass or copper. Next, and less accurate, but very much faster is the air or electric die grinder fit with a single-cut burr and lubed with beeswax. Watch out, because it will climb through 1/2" of solid stock in 10 seconds. The next step up is 6", 8", and 12" grinding discs, belt sanders, and whatnot, fit with 24 or 36 grit aluminum oxide...and yes, they load up, too. BUT... lube them with a wipe of beeswax and they free right up.  Kent

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