Dust collection when cutting Aluminum?

I haven’t found anything in this forums talking about do’s or don’ts for dust collection when cutting metal.

I have seen elsewhere that its not a good idea if not grounded properly for the same reasons as wood dust.

For insight, I do use a dust collector with 4" tube into a dust separator then that attaches to the system that goes on to saws / cnc. Since I am wanting to cut some 6061 aluminum, I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be putting me, my shop, or tools at risk for something I was oblivious to.

If anyone has input I’d love to hear it! - Thanks in advance.

It is a best practice for all material to ground the dust collection hose right next to the dust shoe. This wire should go directly to an AC ground, the screw on an outlet cover is the easiest way to secure a ground wire since this screw is grounded on AC outlets…

Failing to ground the hose properly can (and often does) lead to static buildup and then a high voltage discharge often through the CNC frame which causes the CNC power supply to trip off for a milisecond and then it comes back on, this causes the motion of the cnc to stop and with an X-Carve and some others, causes the USB connection to drop out and then the Router stays running ,the Z axis slowly lowers until the bit hits the wood and then the cnc acts like its going rogue due to the spinning bit cutting the wood and within moments the workpiece is ruined and if left for too long a fire could start… so yeah, ground the dust collection, and don’t leave carves unattended either…


@SethCNC, you are always on top of these! It’s incredible how engaged in the community you are. Thanks again for the thorough explanation.

I had to do a little more homework on my plug since its a GFCI. But I can run the wire to the ground on that. I just need to pull it out of the box in the wall to do so.

I’ll need to see how much the aluminum shavings clog anything. Putting a little cutting fluid on the surface makes the shavings clump up, but maybe thats because i haven’t tried to use dust collection with aluminum yet.

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one thing I’ve seen used successfully, especially with a MDF wasteboard where flooding with coolant isn’t practical, Is an air nozzle similar to diode laser cutting, using the compressed air to help keep the bit and material cool and blow shavings, combined with dust collection.

I was thinking of doing something like that a while back and forgot. Thanks for bringing that back to my attention. I’ve noticed the cutting fluid does soak into the mdf a bit. Thanks again!

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