Thread: Another Newbie
I wanted to get a CNC mill/router and thought here would be a good place to start.
My wife makes brooches out of 1mm thick copper sheets.
At the moment she cuts the shape out with a hand fret saw, this takes ages and costs an absolute fortune in blades.
So I'm thinking that there must be a better solution to this, I'm thinking that a CNC machine would allow me to knock a sheet of these out easilly and earn me much needed brownie points.
Any suggestions gratefully received.
I have looked at something like this, any good ?
Last edited by Chris J; 24-04-2012 at 04:34 PM.
Copper is an absolute bitch to machine, dead gummy and just wants to weld itself to the tool. Have you given any thought to a plasma cutter?
All depends on the amount of detail needed.John S -
You don't mention if the designs are simple or complex, but have you tried the band saw / jigsaw or sander type route? If they are all the same design, a Flypress? It might work out cheaper? (more brownie points too! :-)
I didn't have problems when cutting 5mm thick copper on my CNC router, but maybe I just got lucky.
Roughly many of these broaches is your wife making? If they're all different shapes then a fly-press wont be cost effective, but getting them laser/plasma cut might be? If you do cut them on a router you're in danger of making her redundant as the router can of course do all the engraving...
If you go for laser cutting you would need someone with an anti reflection/ polarising kit fitted to their laser. Materials like copper, brass and aluminium can cause problems with lasers, especially older types like the one we have at work. Are all of the broaches different designs? If so getting them laser cut would prove expensive I think given the continual changing of programs.
As for plasma cutting some of the smaller hand held machines are air cooled torches so no water cooling required. The big problem with plasma is the fumes it creates when cutting. You will need an extraction and filtration system for a plasma cutter. Also the kerf size on plasma might be an issue for you. Even at a low current cut you would probably still have a kerf value of around 3mm to 4mm and this might be too wide for the slots in your designs.
I was looking at some videos on U tube and was worried about the kerf, not such a problem as long as the edge that is left as the job is sharp and crisp but they sometimes have slots in (as per my bad photo) and that would need a narrow precision cut.
I do have a fairly good extractor in the workshop so I guess that could be adapted for plasma.
I'm begining to think that a high speed router might be the way to go.
There are precision nozzles available for the better brands of plasma cutters, however it all depends on how much you want to spend.
Hypertherm is one of the top end brands that I can think of right now that I think does them.
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