Facing small aluminum parts using tape/super glue holddown

As I meander up the aluminum cutting learning curve I discover things that may be old news to others but new to me, so, to any other aspiring aluminum carvers out there, something I learned today.

First off, I’ve become quite enamoured of the masking tape and super glue technique for holding your workpiece securely.

Secondly, when using this technique, a spoilboard with holes drilled parallel to the x and y axis for dowel pins, enables quick, accurate setup as well as reference for two sided machining. Dowel pins in, lay tape and taped part down, wait 45 seconds, remove pins, cut.

With, I admit, some trepidation, I decided to attempt to face a part about 1 1/2” x 2 1/2” with an Amana 1 1/2 inch facing mill. Stuck the part down, waited a minute then ran the g-code in CM. DOC 0.15mm, feedrate 300mm/min. Started at feedrate reduced all the way to 10%, eventually bumped it up to 130 mm/min. Worked quite well. I did several cuts to reduce the part to my desired thickness of 15 mm.

When finished, the part was too hot to hold but still stuck firmly to the spoilboard. Don’t know if I was just lucky, but I will continue to use the technique until I learn different. FYI, my machine is in an enclosure with 1/4 inch safety glass.


Be aware that “safety glass” means it breaks in little tiny pieces instead of sharding, not “it’s less likely to break.” If it’s “laminated glass” like in a car windshield, that’ll hang together.

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