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Motorsport Fabrication Fundamentals: Step 3: Cutting

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Step 3: Cutting


00:00 - When it comes to cutting the aluminium sheet for this fuel tank, we've got a couple of options.
00:04 There's no reason that we couldn't simply cut the parts out by hand using the likes of an angle grinder and a 1 mm cut off wheel.
00:12 In this instance however, we're using a local sheet metal specialist to laser cut the parts based on our Fusion 360 model instead.
00:19 The advantages of having the parts laser cut is threefold.
00:23 Firstly and most importantly, it guarantees the accuracy of the finished parts.
00:27 This should mean there's no surprises when it comes to assembly and the fit up of the various panels will be nice and tight which helps us produce a high quality strong weld.
00:38 While not impossible, it's going to be much harder to achieve the same sort of accuracy with cutting these parts if we relied on the angle grinder.
00:45 The second advantage to having the parts laser cut is the time saving.
00:49 There would have been a good few hours spent on the end of an angle grinder in order to cut and prepare all of these parts by hand whereas having them laser cut is a very quick process that requires no input from us.
01:01 We simply emailed through the file and the parts arrived on a courier soon after.
01:05 If you're fabricating as a job, this time saving also ends up as a cost saving.
01:10 It's time that you can then be working on other paying jobs and ultimately laser cutting is quite cheap with our total cost including the raw material only coming to a few hundred dollars.
01:22 It's these factors we need to weigh up when making the decision on how to approach any specific job.
01:28 The third and final advantage of having the parts laser cut is that there's less issues with contaminants being introduced into the material that could affect the quality of the weld.
01:38 This can be a big issue with aluminium material if you're using an abrasive cutting disc.
01:42 It's not insurmountable however and even the laser cut material will still need some thorough preparation before it can be welded.
01:50 If you are going to use an angle grinder and a cut off disc then simply make sure that you're using a fresh disc that hasn't been used for cutting ferrous materials previously.
01:59 This is going to give you the best chance of success.
02:03 We also need to consider the options for the threaded bolt plate for the Radium surge tank.
02:08 As discussed already, for compatibility when welding, this needs to also be aluminium.
02:13 It would be possible to cut this part out using a band saw before drilling and tapping each hole individually, however this would be a very fiddly job and the bolt pattern in particular needs to be very accurate in order to correctly match the surge tank.
02:27 In this case, the best solution was to have this part cut, drilled and threaded by a CNC machine shop.
02:34 It's also a very simply part to machine and hence the cost to produce it is quite low, making it the obvious option in comparison to making this part by hand.
02:43 With all of our material cut and ready, we can now move onto the assembly and welding.

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