Last Updated on January 2021
Aluminum diamond plate is used as a platform for loading docks, as a traction surface on truck boards, as beds in pick-up trucks, utility boxes, or kick trays. In all these applications, this metal is cut to meet specific requirements. Metal shears come in handy when you want to perform this task by hand. However, many other methods, including machines and hand, can be used to cut this slip-resistant metal.
The recurring pattern of raised diamonds stamped on this metal makes it rather intricate to cut aluminum diamond plate sheets. However, if you get a project to cut aluminum diamond plate and you are sure how to do it, you are in the right place. Below we highlight some of the most common and effective methods of cutting this metal.
Cutting Aluminum Diamond Plate
If you have a small project at hand that requires you to cut this metal, you can opt to do so by hand. The process is simple and requires minima tools. Following the simple steps highlighted below will help you cut your diamond plate with ease and convenience.
Step 1: Assemble all the requirements
You’ll need the following tools to carry out this task effectively:
This tool will help you draw the lines to guide you as you cut your aluminum diamond plate. If you don’t have such marks, you might easily veer off the required edges and dimensions.
Of course, this is what you’ll use to make accurate measurements of the dimensions you want to shear off.
You don’t want aluminum dust and specks getting into your eyes. Welding masks or eye protection offer you that protection.
Cutting aluminum involves handling tools in the process. Gloves offer protection against cuts and provide you with a comfortable grip on the metal shear or cutting tool you intend to use.
2 sawhorses a beam with 4 legs
You need somewhere to place the aluminum plates s you cut. Two sawhorses will do the trick, or a legit welding table.
Any of the following tools: Metal shear cutter or a power jigsaw metal cutting blade
It would help if the cutting blade were fine-tuned with about 48 teeth per inch (more about the edges later).
Step 2: Prepare the Diamond plate on the Sawhorse
Even before you start handling the patterned aluminum sheet, put on the gloves to ensure that the plate’s sharp edges don’t harm you.
Then, place the aluminum diamond plate on the Sawhorse so that one end of the scale hangs out. Make sure that only a small part of the plate hangs out. If a large portion of the plate hangs out, then it would be challenging to maintain a balance while cutting it.
Ensure the smooth face looking outwards. The two sides of the aluminum diamond plate are very different; whereas there are bumps on one side, the other side is smooth. It is certainly easier to cut from the soft side. Hence, while placing the plate on the Sawhorse, take care that the smooth side faces you.
Step 3: Clamp the plate
Clamping the plate ensures the plate’s dead-end remains straight so that the cut comes out clean. When you attach the scale, it minimizes the possibility of the plate binding or bucking.
Step 4: Draft the pattern
With the help of a lead pencil and other common hand tools, draw the shape to be cut on the aluminum sheet. Use the ruler to ensure that all lines are straight and the measurements are accurate. Before moving to the next step, double-check the shape and size of the mold, as once cut, it is challenging to reassemble the pieces.
Step 5 – Use Jigsaw or circular saw (or any other appropriate cutting tool discussed below)
If the cutting involves circular patterns, the jigsaw is your best option. In this case, you will use a power jigsaw metal cutting plate. You need to wear your safety goggles. The fine-toothed blade will cut through slowly but evenly.
In case you are making straight cuts, the circular saw will do an excellent job. In either case, do not use excessive pressure, just enough to help the blade progress. If the desired shape does not come out, replace the plate and start cutting again.
Identifying the Best Cutting Tool for Aluminum Diamond Plate
As mentioned earlier, there are several cutting blades you can use to cut this type of metal. Each of these tools is ideal for unique circumstances. Below are some insights into some of the cutting tools and when best to use each.
i. Band Saw
This is the best cutting tool for thicker plates, about half an inch or so thick. The good thing about band saw is that it can work well for very thick plates.
When you cut the aluminum diamond plate using a band saw, reduce the blade speed to 250 feet per minute. If your view has a variable rate, look at the chart. Usually, it is a matter of moving a belt to a different size pulley.
As for the blades, make sure there is plenty of space between the teeth. This spacing is abbreviated as TPI or Teeth per Inch in full.
The best TPI for cutting thick aluminum diamond plate is 10-14. Technically anything will get through the plate, but this is where you will find the best performance.
If the tooth pitch is good, there is a high risk of aluminum chips clogging the plate. If the angle is too rough, fewer teeth will be involved, so the cutting will be slower.
For more information on our the best metal band saws for 2021 [Read Our Full Guide]
ii. Circular Saw
This is a favorite way to cut aluminum. It is super-fast and leaves a nice and clean cut if you can keep the saw steady.
There are additional safety concerns with this, so these can be addressed first. It’s always good to keep your face and fingers more or less how they should be. But with this tool, you can easily mess both.
For beginners, always clamp the plate if you can. Having aluminum secure on a table with a C-clamp is a great way to keep things smooth. You may want to place some wooden blocks between the table and the tray so that you do not cut your table.
iii. Jig Saw or Reciprocating Saw
The circular saw is best for straight cuts. Not so much for curves.
Depending on the curves’ tightness, a reciprocal saw or jigsaw could be the tool for the job.
There are pros and cons to both. The reciprocal saw has a longer stroke and more power, so it will cut faster. The jigsaw is a better choice for tighter turns.
Cutting aluminum diamond plate is pretty easy as long as you have the necessary tools and skills. Remember to use the appropriate safety gear when you are fabricating any metal, whether hard or softer metal like aluminum diamond plate.