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Good evening everyone....
As I progress to cutting out my larger parts from aluminum sheet, I've read a ton of information about deburring the edges.
Other than the $107CAD 3M wheels offered by Aircraft Spruce, does anyone have a cheaper source or perhaps cheaper alternative that does the same thing?
I see tons of cheaper Silicon Carbide type deburring wheels available, but I've yet to find any information on whether SC is an acceptable abrasive to use on 6061T6 aluminum. Everything I've been taught is Aluminum Oxide is the preferred abrasive type because it doesn't cause contamination of the aluminum surface or lead to future corrosion.
On another note, how far up or down the hardness scale can you travel comfortably and do the same job? Don't see many matching the Aircraft Spruce 7AM model. Lots of 8's and 6's.
Would I be smarter to get a hold of the right ScotchBrite Roloc wheels and chuck them into a die grinder? Or would this be a good addition to the bench wheel?
Thanks in advance
Hi Jason, The high price of the 3M wheels steered me to use an alternative method. I used a three step process, I knock off all the really rough edges with a vixen file, followed by a few passes with a smooth cut file including a few 45 degree passes top and bottom to get rid of the sharp burr that forms. The final step was to use a purple 3m scotchbrite pad on all the edges. These pads leave a very smooth finish with just a little work. The pads are available at just about any autoparts store, 2 or three pads ($3/each when i bought them) should last for your entire project. For lightening holes I used an aluminum oxide sand paper followed by the purple pads.
The wheels are a very nice item to have around, and looking back at my project I feel the time saved by using one would have been worth the investment. Jon Croke had a video on how to use one, they seems to last a long time if properly maintained. I'd mount the wheel to a bench grinder, on some parts it would be easier to anchor the wheel instead of the part.
Hope this helps and good luck with your project!
I have had decent luck finding the wheels on ebay and amazon. I'm about 1100 hours into building a Cruzer from the kit and am on my 2nd wheel in the grinder and probably my 4th smaller one for the drill. I have found them to be very useful throughout the build for deburring and rounding edges, removing powder coating, etc.
I know they are not cheap, but my favorite deburring and smoothing tool is the Makita 9032 file sander. Not only does it work well for deburring, it works very well for fine tuning part fitups. For me it has been money well spent.
Clearly the 3M wheels work and are popular. Just wish they weren't so darn expensive.
Norton Abrasives makes something similar called a Series 1000 wheel for a fair amount less per wheel, wonder how it might compare.
Thanks everyone for the input. Not trying to re-invent the wheel here, just looking for more economical alternatives that are just as capable of doing the job in the same time. Sure I could go real cheap and hand sand everything. No thanks, I'd like to at least have some time to fly!