Aluminum is a much softer metal than iron and hence tools used to work with iron cannot be used for working with aluminum. However, hand tools used to work on wood can be used for aluminum too. Tools usually required for working with aluminum are cutting tools, drilling tools, polishing tools and fusing tools.
Saws for Aluminum
Hand-held saws used for wood or hacksaws used for iron are quite adaptable to work on aluminum with a little tweaking in the choice of blades. The blades used when working with aluminum have to be wide-mouthed and made of high carbide, like with wood. This helps to keep the saw clear of burs and to give precise cuts.
A center punch is a sharp-pointed rod made of iron and used for making marks on metal. It is usually used on aluminum to etch cutting edges. Another more important use of a center punch is to mark positions for drilling holes. in this case, the center punch is hammered in deep using a mallet to form a dent; this dent helps to keep the drill bit in place and to avoid slipping when drilling.
Drills for Aluminum
Hand-held drills, the kinds in which you can change the drill bit manually, both electric and manual, are great to work with on aluminum. Since aluminum is a softer metal, it has the tendency to clog the drill bit. So the drill bit used when working with aluminum has to be the type with wide spirals. Generally the package that a drill bit comes in will tell you what materials it can be used for.
Hammers cannot be used on aluminum, as they would create dents. Wooden mallets, the kind used for tin smithing, are appropriate to use on aluminum, either for shaping a sheet or fixing it in place. Mallets are also useful in hammering in aluminum rivets on aluminum work.
No special screwdriver is needed for aluminum. Aluminum screws are generally slotted with either Philips O, Philips Square, Philips O Hex, Cheese or Rounded head.
Buffing and Polishing Tools
A range of buffing and polishing tools can be used for aluminum work. Buffing wheels and polishing cones can be easily used with a normal hand-held electric drill. These buffing wheels and cones can just be clamped on to the driller using an adapter. Using a buffing or polishing compound, buffing and polishing can be done to the the point of attaining a mirrorlike finish.
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