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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't have a lot of tools but I've heard that I can cut aluminum tubing with my mitre saw and a carbide blade. I'm planning on making a few 3 SSCP4 lights. So what I'm planning is to take 3 pieces about a 6 inches long and jb-weld them together. Then use the mitre saw to cut them to 7/8 of an inch length to match the depth of the front pieces. This should make it easy to get good square cuts.

I'll then just jb weld the sides made of 1" X 1/16 to the pieces. I'll also put a piece of 1" X 1/16 across the top and bottom. That will create a bit of an overlap for the crossways piece that contains the drivers. That should about do it. No need to do any major filing and all cuts can be done with the mitre saw except for the small pieces for the bolts to hold the back on.

I don't have an easy way to do a drawing right now so I hope my description is clear. I'm going to give this a shot and go. Opinions?
 

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Not a bad idea VaughnA. The light will be a little bulkier but at the same time the extra aluminum will add to the heat sinking. My triple can get pretty hot at times... Must...ride......faster.

The hardest part about the achesalot housing is getting the squares and tabs cut straight.

Here's something to consider to streamline your build even more. With the overlaps you create you do not need to use the tabs with the bolts to hold the back on. Just use some silicone to attach the back onto the front using your overhangs when you are ready for final assembly. I only used silicone on mine (without the bolts) and it has held up for a year so far.
 

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Woodworking saws and Al

gmcttr said:
A fine tooth blade (high tooth count) is best. Watch your fingers and definitely wear safety glasses.
Yeah. What he said!

Cutting Al with woodworking tools is possible and won't harm the tool... BUT:

1) Your workpiece will get very HOT
2) The little flakes of Al that will go flying as you cut are like tiny razors. Wear a face shield if you can.
3) The saw will really grab the Al. Cut slow, and use hold downs or clamps to make absolutely positively sure there is no way your hand will get into the blade if your workpiece is suddenly thrown by the saw. Your using a miter, so this should be easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
bwilli said:
Yeah. What he said!

Cutting Al with woodworking tools is possible and won't harm the tool... BUT:

1) Your workpiece will get very HOT
2) The little flakes of Al that will go flying as you cut are like tiny razors. Wear a face shield if you can.
3) The saw will really grab the Al. Cut slow, and use hold downs or clamps to make absolutely positively sure there is no way your hand will get into the blade if your workpiece is suddenly thrown by the saw. Your using a miter, so this should be easy.
I got that warning from a lot of folks, long sleeves, face shield and gloves were a constant theme. I've got the main pieces glued up so I should be able to cut them this evening if it isn't raining since I need to cut outside. Stay tuned.
 

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Sounds like a plan Mr. Vaughn... but as others have said: be careful and take all the precautions. Cutting with a bandsaw is much safer (even though you might not get as square of a cut). I've found that the bandsaw and bench belt/disc sander are the best two tools to have for this type of project. The strips on the side should work fine and it's easier than cutting three sides off of the two end pieces.

Also, your idea about JB-welding the parts together in advance is good, but be aware that if the saw gets the aluminum too hot, the JB will let go. I've had it happen while belt sanding.

Also, regarding the brackets that allow attaching the front to the main body. I've gone to using these threaded aluminum risers. Much easier and they seem to wick some heat away from the back of the LEDs to the sides. I AAA them in as shown below and it leaves plenty of room for a buckpuck:


I ordered the risers from a robotics supply website, but you might find them locally. You can get them in several lengths. Two one inchers should work fine.

Good luck...and there's always filing/sanding to do :)
- A
 

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table saw sled works great for the cross cuts.

I have been using my table saw with a table saw sled and I am able to get perfect accurate square cuts without any problems. I picked up a cheap 40 tooth carbide blade for this. Leaves some burs but am able to file them off with minimal effort.

If you have a table saw and build one of these you will never want to use your miter again.

http://www.runnerduck.com/tablesaw_sled.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
achesalot said:
Also, your idea about JB-welding the parts together in advance is good, but be aware that if the saw gets the aluminum too hot, the JB will let go. I've had it happen while belt sanding.

Also, regarding the brackets that allow attaching the front to the main body. I've gone to using these threaded aluminum risers. Much easier and they seem to wick some heat away from the back of the LEDs to the sides. I AAA them in as shown below and it leaves plenty of room for a buckpuck:

I ordered the risers from a robotics supply website, but you might find them locally. You can get them in several lengths. Two one inchers should work fine.

Good luck...and there's always filing/sanding to do :)
- A
Thanks, I just did the cuts on my mitre saw. Worked like a charm, but the JB did let go like you said. And there was aluminum 'sawdust' everywhere. But otherwise worked great. I will leave one piece much longer than the others next time to use as a handle to make holding it easier. The last cut left so little material I had to use pliers to hold it. I

And thanks for the tip about the risers. I work in a R&D center and we have plenty of the standoffs like you show. I'll have to see if I can grab a few. And there will still be a lot of filing to get it clean but this should be much easier. I'll try to post a few photos as I move along.
 

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bwilli said:
I didn't wear sleeves, but I *really* wouldn't want to get one of those flakes in my eye.

Ouch.

The Al flakes get everywhere.

Looking forward to pics!
Yes, you MUST wear safety glasses at the minimum. Face shield preferred. I took a very small sliver of aluminum in the left eye when I was 17 while working on a drill press. Funny thing about it was it only hurt in daylight. Actually hurt a lot in daylight and resulted in constant tearing. At night or in a dark room it was hardly noticeable. Surgery was simple. Doc put a few drops of anesthesia in an plucked the thing out with a pair of tweezers. I didn't suffer any immediate vision loss but around 20 yrs later the left eye had measureable difference in far and near vision compared to the right eye - just as the doc predicted. Today, at 55, both eyes suck anyway so it doesn't matter.

So wear glasses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
il2mb said:
Yes, you MUST wear safety glasses at the minimum. Face shield preferred. I took a very small sliver of aluminum in the left eye when I was 17 while working on a drill press. Funny thing about it was it only hurt in daylight. Actually hurt a lot in daylight and resulted in constant tearing. At night or in a dark room it was hardly noticeable. Surgery was simple. Doc put a few drops of anesthesia in an plucked the thing out with a pair of tweezers. I didn't suffer any immediate vision loss but around 20 yrs later the left eye had measureable difference in far and near vision compared to the right eye - just as the doc predicted. Today, at 55, both eyes suck anyway so it doesn't matter.

So wear glasses.
I wear safety glasses for almost anything I do that has a remote chance of eye damage. I NEVER ride without them. I've got too much invested in them, lasik and all. You only have one set of eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Looks good so far

I've got the pieces cut and glued up for the sides and 3 tubes for the front. I'm ready to put on the top and bottom tonight and I'll almost be done with the case. I'd say total time including filing and cutting is less than 30 minutes. So far, I think this is the way to go for those of us that are 'tool challenged'. The only tools I've used are a hacksaw, a file and my power mitre saw with carbide blade.

Here are a few photos. I didn't get any pictures until after I'd cut the slices so there is a photo of the remains, the parts and the case so far with sides glued. I've got it filed smooth, I'll rough it up a bit for better purchase with the JB weld and glue on the top and bottom tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
mrbubbles said:
My mod design is easier and with more aluminum contact for heat dissipation. Used thermal glue to attach tubing.

Ok, that's a lot of information. :rolleyes:

Where is a description of your light? I'm always looking for simple.
 

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VaughnA said:
Ok, that's a lot of information. :rolleyes:

Where is a description of your light? I'm always looking for simple.
Fatman with pot. 3x Seoul P4s. 7.2 volt 6 AAs. I'm using 6V 4A battery now.

2 alu tube of equal length, chop one side for one of them, and glue it together. Then glue the side with single side aluminum pieces.

Don't have access to any tools beside hacksaw, files, and drill, so I want to make my life easier by not messing up cutting squares of achesalot's design.

The driver is simple, no UI to setup or to understand, just a turn knob for adjustment.


 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Cool, looks like a good simple design. I had thought of something similar. But I like the ability of the achesalot to be taken apart for repairs or modifications. I'm using P4's and DX 3256 drivers, one for each LED. And a 7.4 Lion pack. I'm still waiting on the drivers ordered almost a month ago.
 

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VaughnA said:
Cool, looks like a good simple design. I had thought of something similar. But I like the ability of the achesalot to be taken apart for repairs or modifications. I'm using P4's and DX 3256 drivers, one for each LED. And a 7.4 Lion pack. I'm still waiting on the drivers ordered almost a month ago.
Taking it apart just means prying off the one of the side and glue it back on with a drop of JB-Weld. Once the assembly is complete, you'll never need to take it apart, at least I haven't, my DIY is over a year old.
 
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