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  1. #1
    Hello everyone

    This is my first post here so please be gentle ;)
    What I would like to do is cut small shapes from metal plates, mostly aluminium but at lower grades like 1050 and about 16gauge / 1.4mm thick as it would be used for jewellery.
    It would be small designs and shapes, circles stars etc on average about 1" diameter.
    Now I thought I found the perfect machine with a cheap Chinese cnc router but after a fair bit of reading it would seem that it's not the best machine for the job on softer metals.
    Is there a machine out there that would be suitable for this? Have a budget of about 2-3000.

    Thanks very much

  2. #2
    Hello and wellcome to the site. I think that you will find that a small, but rigid cnc mill will be better than a router and there will certainly be some used (already converted) machines available within your budget. good luck with your search. G.
    Last edited by GEOFFREY; 24-11-2013 at 11:24 AM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by GEOFFREY View Post
    Hello and wellcome to the site. I think that you will find that a small, but rigid cnc mill will be better than a router and there will certainly be some used (already converted) machines available within your budget. good luck with your search. G.
    Thanks for the welcome Geoffrey

    Could you post me a link to the kind of machine your talking about please.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by jmac80 View Post
    What I would like to do is cut small shapes from metal plates, mostly aluminium but at lower grades like 1050
    If you can choose the grade then don't choose 1050, as it's difficult to cut. You'd be better off with 6082 for instance.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmac80 View Post
    and about 16gauge / 1.4mm thick as it would be used for jewellery.
    It would be small designs and shapes, circles stars etc on average about 1" diameter.
    Now I thought I found the perfect machine with a cheap Chinese cnc router
    To get the 'perfect machine' for that budget, you'd need to make your own. A CNC mill would be acceptable, but it would be much better if a high speed spindle was added as you'll be using very small cutters.

    The Chinese CNC routers you see on eBay are fine for the engraving, but they would take a long time to cut out the part. If you're making lots of these then you want a better machine. If it's just a few here and there then go for it...
    Old router build log here. New router build log here. Lathe build log here.
    Electric motorbike project here.

  5. #5

  6. #6
    If I had to produce large quantities of those I'd CNC press tooling for my Fly Press. It's a substantial initial investment in time, tool steel and heat treatment but the payoff is making a part in less than a second with a short pull on the press handle.
    If you were really posh you could also have press tooling trim off the waste from the previous part, along with a back guide and an end stop the work would then be self-aligning in the press ;-)
    Regards,
    Nick

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by jmac80 View Post
    Thanks
    so how on earth do people cut stuff like this from thin 1000 series aluminium
    They're stamped, like this:
    Metal Stamping - YouTube

    Can do it with a fly press if it's small...
    Old router build log here. New router build log here. Lathe build log here.
    Electric motorbike project here.

  8. #8
    So lol.............
    Can i do it on a machine for under 2k?
    the largest i would need to stamp is maybe 3" (if that)

  9. #9
    I think this is currently the cheapest on ebay that includes delivery, seeing as you are well North.
    J Nielson No 2A Deep Throat Fly Press c/w 2 Weights | eBay
    Then you could use the spare 1.85k to get some tooling made

    If you could stretch your budget there's this

    sheet metal punch presses-in Punching Machine from Industry & Business on Aliexpress.com

    Edit: Axminster have some nice little mills that you could maybe convert to cnc
    http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Axminster-Tool-Centre?_rdc=1
    Last edited by EddyCurrent; 24-11-2013 at 12:59 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jmac80 View Post
    So lol.............
    Can i do it on a machine for under 2k?
    the largest i would need to stamp is maybe 3" (if that)
    Yes,
    But you'll have to shop around ;-)
    I picked up a nice but slightly problematic ex-educational mill that had already been converted for Mach3 for 650.
    Replacing the DC motor & drive with a 3phase motor and drive plus some limit switches brought it up to 900, add a license for Mach3 and 4-Axis Standard BobCad/Cam V25 and it runs over your budget by a few hundred, but for what you want to do I'm sure there's some free or very cheap 2/2.5D Cad/Cam that would leave you space in your budget for a nice fly press - my No.3 cost me 80 from a local engineering tool dealer - he had around 20 in stock and I waved pound notes under his nose ;-) .
    ATB,
    Nick
    Last edited by magicniner; 24-11-2013 at 12:46 PM.

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