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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm finally starting my own DIY side skirt project and cutting .09 aluminum sheet with my recip saw. My blades cut fine for the first 12 inches or so and then they seem to go bad.

(I attached a photo of the blade and another shot of the pattern placed on the metal prior to the cut) Am I just using the wrong blades?

It almost looks like the metal is melting into the teeth and fouling the blades. I don't want to make this any more complicated than necessary, so I hope I don't need to irrigate the cut with water. I wish I had access to a water jet cutter but that's just not in the cards...

Thanks in advance.
 

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It almost looks like the metal is melting into the teeth and fouling the blades. I don't want to make this any more complicated than necessary, so I hope I don't need to irrigate the cut with water.

Yup, that's what happens with aluminum and a blade that gets hot. You can easily clean the aluminum out of the teeth with a small flat bladed screwdriver, use a band saw, or cool it down with water.
 

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The best solution is to apply a bead of cutting fluid, oil, WD-40, whatever you've got, along the cut line. The lubrication will keep the teeth clean and temps lower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys. I had my 13 year old son spray the blade with water as I cut. It made a mess, but it worked.

I just test fitted the first piece and it aligns perfectly. I've decided to re-taper the rear portion a little so there is less dog bone effect, but otherwise I'm really liking what I see. My plan is to cover the piece in 3M series 1080 Carbon Fiber Wrap and finish the outer edge with black door edge trim.
 

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I suggest you contact Elite Motoring. They're IN WISCONSIN and supply preformed flat carbon sheets (as well as every other composite related product in the universe) at very reasonable prices. They ship same day so you could literally have real carbon instead by Wednesday. Btw, real carbon cuts the same, maybe easier, than aluminum. Then you won't have the whole "Auto Zone" thing happening.
 

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Have been looking into doing this as well. What template did you use for the cut? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I made my own template from a tracing of the underside. It took some time and effort, but it fits like a glove. I'd be happy to trace my final pattern from the aluminum piece itself to a piece of paper and mail it to you if you wish.

As mentioned earlier, I've changed the aesthetic of my pattern a little to better fit the lines of the car. Regardless, the inboard side of the pattern should fit your Elise, even if you change the outboard pattern a bit yourself.

I might still look into CF sheets as an option in the future, but I can't believe it would be anywhere close to the $90 cost of two sheets of .090 aluminum (12" X 64"). I figure I'm all-in for about $185 - a far cry from the $1000+ molded CF.

Frankly, this is about the only application where I would use the 3M CF vinyl contact covering because it is in a location where it will intentionally take a beating from road debris. Anyone who bends that far over to critique the authenticity of my CF will get a kick in their pants anyway! :D
 

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The best solution is to apply a bead of cutting fluid, oil, WD-40, whatever you've got, along the cut line. The lubrication will keep the teeth clean and temps lower.
Do this.
 

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I'd be happy to trace my final pattern from the aluminum piece itself to a piece of paper and mail it to you if you wish.
D
Absolutely appreciate that offer. Couple of us working on something purely for track use function vs. fashion so planning to do a straight outer edge bent downward an inch or two but the inner edge should be the same. Have access to a water jet cutter and power coating just trying to figure the rest out.
Yours looks to be coming together very nicely, best of luck as you wrap up the project. Hope to see you at the track this season!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Absolutely appreciate that offer. Couple of us working on something purely for track use function vs. fashion so planning to do a straight outer edge bent downward an inch or two but the inner edge should be the same. Have access to a water jet cutter and power coating just trying to figure the rest out.
Yours looks to be coming together very nicely, best of luck as you wrap up the project. Hope to see you at the track this season!
Happy to help. Just send me a PM with your address and I'll mail it to you. No doubt you could do a little forming on your own to roll that outer edge for track use.

FWIW, I got talking with my engineer son (who owns an Exige) and we are toying with the idea of converting the drawing to a .dxf file so they can be cut on a water jet. This would possibly allow us to go to a nearby CF business and have them custom cut CF sheets.

FYI, I'm planning to attach my aluminum sills with Well Nuts (pictured here). Currently I am trying to determine the best places to drill and get solid attachment. All I currently have to work with are photos from this thread by da40flyer: http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f157/diy-side-sills-165625/
 

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dxf file would be awesome and much appreciated if you go down that path. I'm sure the Carbon fiber would be beautiful. Love the well nuts, haven't seen that before.
 

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FYI, I'm planning to attach my aluminum sills with Well Nuts (pictured here). Currently I am trying to determine the best places to drill and get solid attachment. All I currently have to work with are photos from this thread by da40flyer: http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f157/diy-side-sills-165625/
My Esprit has Wellnuts in several places from the factory, and they often spin and are impossible to remove the bolt at a later date...
 

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Thanks for bringing the popcorn streetthrowback...

Interested to see how this turns out. Dare I say it... Group buy :shrug:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So, If I had these cut from CF sheet how thick do you think the CF should be?

I'm thinking I would trim it with door edge regardless, but I still don't want it to flap in the wind...
 
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