Thread: Another Newbie

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  1. #1
    Hiya

    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 05:34 PM.

  2. #2
    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 -

  3. #3
    Hi Chris,

    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! :-)

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by John S View Post
    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.
    I did think about a plasma cutter but wondered if I'd need to have a water flow ?
    Would it cut neater.

    Quote Originally Posted by mocha View Post
    Hi Chris,

    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! :-)
    If you imagined a flower shape cut on a 2" square or something like this.
    Terrible picture sorry, it's about 3" wide.

    Too fiddly for a bandsaw I think and too varied for a press.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by mocha View Post
    You don't mention if the designs are simple or complex, but have you tried the band saw / jigsaw or sander type route?
    The issue with a bandsaw and difficult to cut materials is new blades will cost about 6-8 and may not last longer than much cheaper blades for fret saws.

    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...
    Old router build log here. New router build log here. Lathe build log here.
    Electric motorbike project here.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    The issue with a bandsaw and difficult to cut materials is new blades will cost about 6-8 and may not last longer than much cheaper blades for fret saws.

    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...
    She doesn't make a huge amount more to do with the time it takes to cut them out.
    Engraving Mmm at the moment she enamels them.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    The issue with a bandsaw and difficult to cut materials is new blades will cost about 6-8 and may not last longer than much cheaper blades for fret saws.

    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...
    What was the power and speed of the router motor when you cut the 5mm ?
    Was it on a CNC machine ?
    Thanks

  8. #8
    Chris,
    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.

    Ian

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Web Goblin View Post
    Chris,
    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.

    Ian
    Yes they vary as the whim takes her.
    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.

    Thanks

  10. #10
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 15 Hours Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 1,831. Received thanks 192 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    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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