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Stainless or Aluminum

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msc
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Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:12 am

Stainless or Aluminum

Postby msc » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:09 am

Good morning,

I am about to get my first paying plasma cur job. Something easy that I am comfortable with? Not a chance! A customer wants a 3 foot square company logo cut out using either aluminum or stainless to put in his business lobby. I did a practice cut on some 16 gauge SS 304 and I am concerned about the discoloring and appearance.

I called a couple local metal polishers and it seems they will make much more on this job than I will. How can I get a good looking finish after the cut and is there an advantage of using Stainless or aluminum?

Thanks, Mark
Mark
Hypertherm PM 45
Delusional Designs 4x4 CNC
Millermatic 211 welder

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ben de lappe
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Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:37 am
Location: North Mississippi

Re: Stainless or Aluminum

Postby ben de lappe » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:49 am

Just me but I would go with the stainless. The edge you get when plasma cut is not that hard to deal with when you know how. When you plasma cut stainless the cut edge is left rough with a hard crunchy remnant called "sugar" and a little discoloration near the cut. This is due to the molten stainless coming into contact with air. Take a scrap piece and cut a square so you have four sides to practice on. Take a 4.5" angle grinder with a 60 grit wheel and gently grind the edge absolutely perpendicular to the cut lightly with a smooth back and forth motion as it won't take much for the sugar to break free leaving you with a crisp clean edge. Get it right and it basically "peels" off. The discoloration you mention should not travel far from the cut edge and will depend on several cut parameters. It can be easily removed with Scotchbrite, the red pad. Go with the grain if present, polish to desired finish.

msc
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:12 am

Re: Stainless or Aluminum

Postby msc » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:48 am

I am going to try that today. Thank you Ben. When you say polish to desired finish, do you mean with the Scotchbrite pad?
Mark
Hypertherm PM 45
Delusional Designs 4x4 CNC
Millermatic 211 welder

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ben de lappe
Posts: 615
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:37 am
Location: North Mississippi

Re: Stainless or Aluminum

Postby ben de lappe » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:12 am

Yes, with the Scotchbrite pad, rub the color out until bright and shiny. They also make it in a wheel, approx. 4.5", with a spindle that fits into a power drill that can speed up the process depending on application. Go with the grain if applicable.

bhamer62
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Re: Stainless or Aluminum

Postby bhamer62 » Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:31 pm

I work with a lot of stainless and agree with Ben. Additionally, educate yourself in the different coarseness of scotchbrite pads. The different colors designate different degrees of coarseness just like sand paper grit does. Steel wool can be used the same way to achieve a higher polish. Also, don't use carbon steel wire wheels, use SS or brass brushes so you don't contaminate your SS...


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