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Thread: Sheet Metal

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by astjp2 View Post
    You are all doing this the hard way, a jig saw is ghetto and will beat the shit out of the sheet with its reciprocating action. If you don't have a band saw, build a wood form that is the size of your part and use a hand router to cut the material with a carbide aluminum router bit and a guide/bearing. That is how they used to build airplanes in WW2, if you have access to CAD, you can have a sheetmetal shop cut it on a CNC router, they use vacuum to pull the sheet down on a spoil board. It is not real accurate for thickness, but it will cut a hole, or drill fastener holes or trim the outside at about 2-300 inches per minute.
    Outdoor sign shops do this kind of work every day.

  2. #22
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    you put tape on the base of the jigs saw- either silver tape or blue painters tape. Doesnt scratch then. As mentioned above, sign shops have been using both bandsaws and jig saws for a half a century. If the piece is small enough to fit in the throat of a bandsaw, I use a bandsaw. But I have made aluminum signs, stencils, trim pieces, and architectural stuff from 4x8 sheets for a long long time using a nice bosch jig saw, and it doesnt take long to figure out how to not mar the sheet.
    Sure, a 50,000 to 100,000 cnc machine will do it better. And you will pay the hourly charge for the shop that is making payments on that machine.
    Totally depends on budget, timing, and complexity.
    For one offs, today, I can cut it out with a jigsaw, bandsaws, and, depending on thickness, my old CutAwl, which was made for signmaking and stage work in dozens of thin materials.

    Or, you can order em, plasma, waterjet, or laser cut, depending on thickness and local shop rates, which vary from place to place.

  3. #23
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    If I had a cutawl I would have to search for reasons not to use it.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by memphisjed View Post
    If I had a cutawl I would have to search for reasons not to use it.
    Its a cool tool. I used to use it to cut incredibly complicated shapes in 1/8" thick mirrored plexiglas- you put a sheet or two of cardboard down on the table, then set the depth of blade motion so it goes thru the plexi, and into the cardboard, but doesnt hit the table top- so the 4x8 sheet of plexi is completely supported by the table at all times, but you can cut out detail that is very precise and small. You can get blades to cut all kinds of things, from cardboard to metal.

    Got mine at a garage sale for a hundred bucks.

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    there's many ideas that've gone through the topic here. firstly, buying your own equipment is pointless unless you actually make use of it. just for a few pieces here and there... i don't think so. secondly, fibre lasers do an excellent job with cutting aluminium. i really see this as the premium option. ordering just one part from time-to-time may prove difficult, though.

    i've had my fair share of problems with local shops who just aren't interested in such work. i did a lot of one-time-projects without having any good connections. one option is to look into online manufacturing possibilites like fractory or pomoko. these places accept anything and i've been satisfied with the results, although a little pricey to make one part. now as i'm working as an engineer, i just add my parts to our usual orders. if you have any friends working in the field, ask if they can do the same for you.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyvv View Post
    there's many ideas that've gone through the topic here. firstly, buying your own equipment is pointless unless you actually make use of it. just for a few pieces here and there... i don't think so. secondly, fibre lasers do an excellent job with cutting aluminium. i really see this as the premium option. ordering just one part from time-to-time may prove difficult, though.

    i've had my fair share of problems with local shops who just aren't interested in such work. i did a lot of one-time-projects without having any good connections. one option is to look into online manufacturing possibilites like or . these places accept anything and i've been satisfied with the results, although a little pricey to make one part. now as i'm working as an engineer, i just add my parts to our usual orders. if you have any friends working in the field, ask if they can do the same for you.
    Looks like tag team spamming yet again....


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