Notching C Channel for frames

I’m working on a simplified Omni Base / Clawbot (all hail the Clawbot!) out of the 35 long C-Channel. Rather than bolting components together I want to “notch” and bend the 35’s and make the corner a little more rigid with the 45 gussets.

My normal way to notch is to “nibble it out with the bandsaw”. I’m looking for a easy way for other teams/roboteers to do this. The spectrum seems to lie between “use a square file” (hours) to “Cody’s Plasma Cutter” (milliseconds), with associated costs.

How do you notch C channel?

I haven’t used it on an actual robot but have played around with it, and I just used a Dremel. Unless I’m misunderstanding what you mean, it’s just 2 small cuts for each notch. A hacksaw also works, you just need to find which angle works best to clamp it.

I’ve been playing around with an X-Carve recently, and it seems like it could do notching on vex metal. I’ve been using it to take down some parts of the C-Channel

Different Cody? Because if I had a plasma cutter, oh boy that’d be awesome!

I’d bust out my big Dremel 4000, buy new brushes for it (because Camaron is crazy lose with that thing and burned out one of the brushes) and I’d use that to make the rough cuts.

BUT those cuts suck (very inaccurate). So… As much as it sucks, a hacksaw with aluminum cuttings blades and one of those small jigs that holds the saw upwrite would probably produce a nice cut, I’d cut the sides and then score the length with the dremel and bend it away.

Not a cutting expert.

I use a hacksaw.

I just use a hacksaw and a big vise clamp. I think anybody with some basic tools and a clamp should be able to notch the c-channels without any problem. Even without a clamp it might be possible.

Yes, you are the right Cody, I’ve seen what you can do with computers, just think of a plasma cutter.

I know all the “normal ways” like hack saws and Dremels, I’m after the different.

Hydrochloric Acid?

Tin snips will probably work as well in aluminum, and I think I’ve used them for that before (for 1x bar all the time). Just probably some that a are a bit better, not $2.99 Harbor Freight ones.

But if you want something “different”, maybe some hydraulic “tin snips” will work.

I’m assuming you want to cut the sides with 1 hole on them and bend the larger flatter part in, basically making the 35 long C channel stick into a 35 long boomerang. Though, I guess what I’d do works for whichever way you’d want to bend it.

I’d hacksaw (or bandsaw) two straight lines along the beginning boundary and ending boundary then just take the little sliver that’s left and bend that straight, then hacksaw (or bandsaw) that little part off, then just file (or belt sand) the notch to look nice.

Then bend however I want it after I do the other side as well.

As others have suggested, a hacksaw is the way to go. Take it slow and you’ll get a nice clean result.

However if that’s too conventional for you, then when why not go all-out and use the Jaws of Life?

Check out “nibblers” from you tool sources. Aircraft Tool Supply 64823 Hand Nibbler is about $14 and works with the aluminium channel. I tried it last night.
There are several styles and brands of hand power nibblers(safer for students) and many air and electric versions for a lot more money.
Nibblers take small bites (1/16 x 1/4) of sheet metal and can be started from a 5/16 drilled hole in the middle of sheet material.
Grinders and abrasive cutters that create waste material can be disastrous to electronics and controllers.

BINGO that’s what I’m looking for! Thanks for the reminder!

I had no idea there was such a tool!

I still think band saw for additional pieces would be most expedient. (once you know where you want to cut by using the nibblers)

Some heavy duty vice or sheet metal bending unit might be nice too for a precision bend. Cutting a block to put into the c-channel to prevent squishing is recommended too…