Seeking Source for Custom Router Bit (NOT CNC) Design
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  1. #1
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    Default Seeking Source for Custom Router Bit (NOT CNC) Design

    Howdy.

    I have a small side business and need a custom router bit to cut a shape of a small part I make that is less than two inches per side. I imagine I could make this bit myself, but time-wise it might just be best to find someone locally or online and have them make it for me. I have the CAD file already, and this is a pretty simple 2-D cut.

    If anyone has a link on how to do this myself, or a YT vid or whatever, I'm all ears. My materials and products are so strange that I find I'm having to create my own tooling, which is fun and saving me a lot of money in the process. I recently re-purposed a $10 garage sale juicer into a lapidary polisher that RioGrande wanted to see me for $600.

    We make really expensive guitar picks that look like this:

    I'm in SoCal, so L.A. is fine, or a quality online source is cool too.

    Thank so much.
    Last edited by #5 ii Alive!; 08-31-2019 at 11:02 AM.

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    What is so special about that pick? Looks like all the rest I've seen.

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    Crazy, we use a number of different materials, but the blue one is made from a really strange material called casein plastic -- made from MILK. Casein was discovered in Germany in 1895. It was used extensively till about the 1940s for jewelry, buttons, combs, etc., then fell out of favor when celluloid and others came out because casein cannot be injection molded. Instead it must be extruded, sit for six months, and then be machined.

    It happens to make a guitar pick with properties very close to genuine tortoise shell, which has been illegal for forty years now.

    I don't want to hi-jack my own thread, nor turn it into a sales pitch. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.

    Here's some casein jewelry on Etsy, and hundreds more on eBay. Casein jewellery | Etsy

    Thanks!
    Last edited by #5 ii Alive!; 08-31-2019 at 11:03 AM.

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    So you are purchasing a stick of material, cutting profile followed by slicing, smoothing and polishing?
    How are you slicing?

    Or....

    Are you purchasing sheet at pick thickness and what- punching?

    In other words- what is the router bit doing?

    We are Looking for a gig - want to sub out the machining?.....

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    So what special shape cutter/router bit are you planing..Would it be a concave radius on the side of the bit to do/machine the perimeter of your part?

    Concave Radius Radius Mill 1/16 1/8 3/32 1/16 1/8 3/16 1/4 3/8 7/16 3/8 1/2 5/8 Sizes ID 2389-

    It seems a tough market with most picks for 50 cents to 5 bucks.

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    Michigan:

    Dude, believe it or not, the blue pick above sells for $40 EACH, and I can't make them fast enough. Other vendors have some going as high as $100 each. Long story, but the short version is our stuff sounds amazing on an acoustic instrument and, because the economy has been so red-hot for a decade, there are tons of people sitting out there with $5000-10,000 guitars. The entire accessory market has exploded. So for someone to drop $100 on an accessory is nothing.

    Again, I didn't come in here to promote or pitch. Here's our store. For courtesy to the other members, please take specific product or performance questions offline and PM me here.

    store | charmedlife

    Yeah, I know, it's crazy. $40 for a guitar pick? Yup.

    On the machining: To answer your question: I'm largely ignorant on routers (I'm sure this shows), but I was told by someone fairly knowledgeable that I could design a router pick that would cut from a rod (see next post, below, for details on material)half of the pick shape, then flip and realign the rod and cut the other half. This would seem to be imminently doable. Please tell me if I'm dreaming.

    Thanks,
    Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trboatworks View Post
    So you are purchasing a stick of material, cutting profile followed by slicing, smoothing and polishing?
    How are you slicing?

    Or....

    Are you purchasing sheet at pick thickness and what- punching?

    In other words- what is the router bit doing?

    We are Looking for a gig - want to sub out the machining?.....
    As I mentioned above, we use about four different materials. The blue material pictured above is made from casein plastic, which is a dairy-based protein. We don't make it ourselves; we but it from vendors off-shore.

    We also use a material called DuPont Vespel, which is an engineering plastic that is probably the most expensive plastic per square inch on the planet. That stuff, yes, we buy in a rod 1.5" x 12". For years we've been slicing the rod into little discs, they laying flat and cutting the pick shape from above with laser. However, when you above about 1.0 mm thickness, the laser char from the cut gets too ragged and the edges require a lot of work.

    To answer your question about jobbing it, probably not. The local CNC boys here in L.A. are quoting me around $600 for 12 inches, whereas I can rig this thing and run multiple stock for, I'm guessing, less than $100. This particular run I'm exploring is for a new prototype line, so cost is crucial, as I send free samples out to dozens of our best players. Time is not crucial; cost is.

    Please PM if wanting to discuss further on the jobbing, but I can't see that fitting into our cost parameters.

    Best,
    Alive

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    I'm not 100% positive I get what you want this router bit to do...

    But if you want a custom carbide cutter of any sort, email these guys and give them your drawing: QUICK TURN SPECIALS | MITGI

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    Sorry for the lack of clarity. I know what I want to do and have seen vids on YT that show how to do it. In essence, it would be like taking a wooden rod 1.5" in diameter and cutting a molding for a railing or, say, an edge to a cabinet, something like that. The only difference, is this is a high-priced plastic, but it machines very similar to metal on a regular CNC router. Carbide would for sure do the trick.

    Again, sorry for lack of clarity. Appreciate the referral.

    Number 5

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    Quote Originally Posted by #5 ii Alive! View Post
    Sorry for the lack of clarity. I know what I want to do and have seen vids on YT that show how to do it. In essence, it would be like taking a wooden rod 1.5" in diameter and cutting a molding for a railing or, say, an edge to a cabinet, something like that. The only difference, is this is a high-priced plastic, but it machines very similar to metal on a regular CNC router. Carbide would for sure do the trick.

    Again, sorry for lack of clarity. Appreciate the referral.

    Number 5
    Oh, I see... You want to stand the rod vertical, rout the shape of the pick on it, slit that off, flip, and rout the back side. Yeah, a corner rounder endmill with the correct radius or profile will do that. Fixturing for the back side is gonna suck, I'm thinking vacuum fixture... But it seems like you probably already have a process, you just need a custom form tool.

    My first choice is the MITGI guys I posted above. Second choice is Home - Core Cutter LLC Both are manufactured in America, both offer quality product and good lead times. Third would be GW Schulz (Now known as GWS Tool Group) Custom Comes Standard - GWS Tool Group They have a good product, but unless you're a large buyer, their lead times are not as fantastic, and their pricing tends to be higher. Internal tool Specials - Order Custom Tools comes to mind as well, they also have a good product and decent lead times (not as quick as either MITGI or Core, but not bad, either).

    There are LOTS of companies out there that will make you custom endmills.

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    back to square one:
    Originally Posted by Trboatworks View Post
    So you are purchasing a stick of material, cutting profile followed by slicing, smoothing and polishing?
    How are you slicing?

    Cutting off slices of a plastic like material, taking stock from the flat side, shaping the edge of individual slices, shaping a bar or round stock,

    Qt:[ I'm largely ignorant on routers} forget about routers and tell what you wish to do to that part.
    Qt:[it would be like taking a wooden rod 1.5" in diameter and cutting a molding for a railing or, say,..]
    Operation #1...so 1 1/2 rod of this plastic to be shaped.

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    With having a CNC router that likely would save a lot of time I would stand a squared end part material slug with a clamp that holds to center but obstructs less than half of the part. than moving over to a second holding station begin to cut the second while you move the clamp to the other side of the first part. This way you have little wasted time. Long bit CMT - 812.629.11 Long Straight Router Bit 1/2" Diameter x 2-1/2" Cutting Length
    A

    with no CMC machine likely make a router table above the work/part table and set the part on a template and hand push to the template to let a bearing nose router bit cut half / one side of the part shape. Whiteside - 3004 B9 Bearing Template Router Bit 1/4" SH 1/2" D X 1" CL X 2-1/2" OL

    Great job for a cam fixture and rolling the part to a very open grinding wheel running wet.but yes likely to cost $5k+ to make that set-up using an Ok used grinder.

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    Qt: [Yeah, I know, it's crazy. $40 for a guitar pick? Yup.]
    could make then by hand for that price if able to make one or two and hour.

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    How about this- get the material extruded in sticks shaped as your profile.

    Or...
    How adventurous are you- looks like casein plastics can be stovetop mixed.
    Get a mold made and pour to form.

    Honestly though- I think I would be looking into buying sheet at your pick thickness and punching these.

    Look at this as a processing problem- get as much of the final finish in the largest piece of material so it does not have to be won on each pick.

    If sheet, it may be polished enough as supplied or easily done on sheet before punching which leaves the edges to radius/polish.
    Or...
    The shaped stick can be polished before slitting leaving both faces to finish/polish.

    Are you tumbling these as final step or god forbid going to a wheel by hand on each one...?

    How malleable is the material- I am betting a shearing punch could be configured to replace the laser as profile forming if cost makes sheet prohibited due to waste.

    As you said- this is a old material.
    I am betting there is a LOT of trade knowledge hidden in our industrial past on how to form this material into products.

    Making Casein buttons ca. 1935:

    “ The material is cut into blanks of correct contents to-form buttons. The blanks are placed in a die and subjected to heat and pressure and molded into the desired finished shape.”
    US2022895A - Method of making casein buttons
    - Google Patents



    Making Casein buttons ca. 1939:

    US2332829A - Process of making casein plastic products and apparatus therefor
    - Google Patents


    If I had to process these by hand I would have a clamp fixture with that profile on roller lobes to bring each to a finishing wheel.
    You could even use a similar setup to mill the profile from a stack of your slit disks.
    Lots of ways to get this done- I would be trying to avoid the handle/process individual picks as far as possible.

    Oh and lo many years ago..
    One of my first jobs was five years as a luthier bench guy doing classical string repair in a shop that also saw lots of the guitar trade.
    Odd esoterica all through that world...

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    Teach, yes, that's the general idea. However, someone sent me this video as a suggestion. I'm a novice, as admitted, so I'm wide open to suggestion, but this solution uses the same principle but has the router mounted on a table underneath, then pass the entire length of the rod horizontally in one pass, as opposed to vertically.

    In a somewhat similar fashion, I solved a slicing problem with a thin Dremel blade a $10 ball-bearing drawer slider from HD.

    But again, wide open to suggestions. Not only does CNC appear to be ridiculously expensive, but it would also require to cut the rod every two or three inches.

    Feel free to comment, and thanks so much.

    Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    back to square one:
    Originally Posted by Trboatworks View Post
    So you are purchasing a stick of material, cutting profile followed by slicing, smoothing and polishing?
    How are you slicing?

    Cutting off slices of a plastic like material, taking stock from the flat side, shaping the edge of individual slices, shaping a bar or round stock,

    Qt:[ I'm largely ignorant on routers} forget about routers and tell what you wish to do to that part.
    Qt:[it would be like taking a wooden rod 1.5" in diameter and cutting a molding for a railing or, say,..]
    Operation #1...so 1 1/2 rod of this plastic to be shaped.
    Michigan, thanks for the continued dialogue.

    On the material we buy in rods, to date we've been slicing the rod (1.50" in diameter) into little pizza-circle kinda discs, laying it flat, and cutting it from above with a 2-D CAD file with laser. Works great, BUT above 1.0 mm (.040") thickness the edges get VERY chary and require serious deburring, tumbling, what have you. We've been staying around 1.0 mm on those particular materials, but there is a LOT of business from 1.0-2.0 mm that we're missing, so this is a project for the next few years.

    Believe it or not, the real heavy-duty Bluegrass pickers play picks 2.0 and and 3.0 mms thick.

    thanks again,
    Five

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    Qt I was thinking every 1 1/2 to 2" from the router bits I see at Wood Craft..

    Qt; [Not only does CNC appear to be ridiculously expensive,]
    I was thinking a small cnc only $3,000 or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    With having a CNC router that likely would save a lot of time I would stand a squared end part material slug with a clamp that holds to center but obstructs less than half of the part. than moving over to a second holding station begin to cut the second while you move the clamp to the other side of the first part. This way you have little wasted time. Long bit CMT - 812.629.11 Long Straight Router Bit 1/2" Diameter x 2-1/2" Cutting Length
    A

    with no CMC machine likely make a router table above the work/part table and set the part on a template and hand push to the template to let a bearing nose router bit cut half / one side of the part shape. Whiteside - 3004 B9 Bearing Template Router Bit 1/4" SH 1/2" D X 1" CL X 2-1/2" OL

    Great job for a cam fixture and rolling the part to a very open grinding wheel running wet.but yes likely to cost $5k+ to make that set-up using an Ok used grinder.
    Thanks. Great insights.

    I'm actually a full-time, tenured English prof and this was never supposed to be a business. I began by making picks only for myself, then friends asked me to make one for them, then their friend, and theirs, and theirs, and I turned around and I'm in the fricking guitar pick business. It started when I was looking for a replacement for the genuine tortoise shell picks -- now higher illegal -- that I've been playing for more than thirty years.

    I'm still teaching full-time, so time is of the essence, but money even more so. I've built the business with thousands of hours of sweat equity and stubbornness and CNC and beaucoup $$$$ makes no sense for this little matter, as I imagine you would agree.

    Thanks!
    Five

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    Qt: [Yeah, I know, it's crazy. $40 for a guitar pick? Yup.]
    could make then by hand for that price if able to make one or two and hour.
    Correct EXCEPT this is one of the most difficult plastics on the planet to work with, which is why it is almost extinct. Very few companies make this stuff anymore, and the few left will be likely be gone in the next decade. I have tons of material in the barn, easily enough to last ten years, so I'm good.

    To give you an idea in working the material: It hates water and warps in a few minutes; it hates heat and warps in minutes; it hates sanding with aggressive machines w/o water, and warps in minutes; it even hates a simple cotton wheel with black jewelers rouge on it -- too rough, too much heats, warps instantly; it hates tumbling, which can't be done wet, nor too aggressively dry -- warps in a matter of hours.

    Finally, it is stunningly gorgeous when polished, but shows the tiniest micro-scratches if not done properly.

    Why do I persist? I got into this to make picks for myself, not as a business. I'm only going to make the stuff that offers the best performance in the industry, bar none, or I'm not interested. And this is the best legal replacement for genuine TS discovered in the last half century. Trust me, I know. I've played everything out there.

    Thank You,
    Five

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