Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sawblade for Cutting Nida-Core Honeycomb Composite Panels

For the past week, I have been wading through the humidity here in North Carolina, trying to find dry pockets so that I could attempt some cuts on some of the first panels.  The humidity consolidated with the heat has been unbearable to say the least.

We have been dealt a blessing, for today and the rest of the week some cooler air has moved in.

So, I tried my hands at cutting some of the first Nida-Core Honeycomb Composite Fiberglass panels this evening.  This stuff cuts really well with a circular saw fitted with a 40-60 teeth carbide blade.  I purchased a sacrificial 7-1/4" circular saw for the job because of all the fiberglass one would have to encounter and had originally tried a steel blade with approximately 100-120 teeth.  The cut went fine with the steel blade but towards the end of the 48" pass, the blade pretty much resembled a butter knife.

If you have to cut any of this stuff, just buy yourself a 40-60 tooth tungsten carbide blade, they work fine and only splinter the fiberglass minimally.  I was pleased with the cuts, no major disturbance of lamination at these new edges, just a little surface frays where the blade comes through.  Really not bad at all, now just a pass with a power sander and all will be well along these new edges.

There are circular saw, 'fiberglass specific' blades made out of tungsten grit, which resemble some of the masonry - diamond cutting blades on the market.  However, they are significantly higher priced than a carbide blade and I am not sure they could do any better than the carbide teeth blades do.

I have the flooring cut and the first vertical sides for the portion of the camper that will fit the bed....(see here)

(update 6 months later) I am still using the same sawblade, the carbide toothed blade, after 6 months of usage it is cutting this stuff just like day one.  "Carbide" is the only way to go when cutting fiberglass.

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Chris