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Author Topic: Can anyone accurately make small metal designs?  (Read 2995 times)
darkshines
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Miss Katonic 1898


« on: February 22, 2010, 05:39:01 pm »

Can anyone accurately make small metal designs? As you know, I make jewelry, and I am bored of gears, keys and cameos. I need somone who can produce maybe a dozen basically identical designs, that are quite intricate, from brass or brass effect metal. If you think you can help, let me know.
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MechanicalMouse
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2010, 05:59:18 pm »

How thick do you need them and how big? Do they want to be cut outs or moulded?
Do you have some designs in mind?
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darkshines
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Miss Katonic 1898


« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2010, 07:24:17 pm »

I'm looking to make pieces around 4 by 3 inches maybe, and yes, I have some designs in mind..... I don;t mind if the are cut out or moulded, either is good Smiley
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Narsil
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2010, 07:43:16 pm »


It might be worth getting a quote from someone who does water jet cutting.
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TimeTinker
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2010, 07:58:24 pm »

The actual design you are looking to produce will affect the method used to make it.  This will in turn be reflected in the costs.  The actual metal also makes a big difference since the production techniques can be specific to the metal.  Finally the number required has a bearing since you can achieve economies of scale.  Short run and variable pieces are always more expensive than larger run processes.

If you want to PM me a design I can advise on the best way(s) to go about reproducing it.
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Danbury Shakes
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2010, 11:18:41 pm »

This will depend on the type of metal designs you are after (e.g. sculpted metal charms or flat metal shapes), the design you are after and the metal that you want them in.  You also have to think that a dozen is a small production run which would impact on the price per unit (and therefore on the price you can sell your finished item for)

Sculpted 3d items would require an original design to be produced and a mould to be made.  Depending on the metal (e.g. pewter) the mould may be used directly to cast the item directly for short production runs or (e.g. silver) used to cast wax copies which would then be investment cast.

A 2D flat cutout of metal needs some form of cutting blank, This could be something as simple as a steel rod and a couple of steel plates with similar size holes in (for circles) or a set of steel plates with different sections of the pattern (e.g. for the porcupine shape you might have the spines and top of the head on one, the snout and legs on another and when combined they give a full porcupine).

Of course if you want random, interesting shapes you can fill a tin can with coffee beans/pine needles and pour the molten metal into that (keeping a glass of water at hand to put out the flames that may follow) - just pick out the best and remelt the rest.

If you could give a hint about the type of shape you are after (e.g. 3d puffer fish or 2d flat porcupine shapes) and the metals you would want them in it would help.
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darkshines
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Miss Katonic 1898


« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2010, 11:25:55 pm »

I don't want to give too many hints as no-one else is making jewelry like it at the moment......
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Pnakotus
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2010, 11:29:48 pm »

I don't want to give too many hints as no-one else is making jewelry like it at the moment......
In that case it'd be easy to tell if someone was copying you and if they did they'd have 60 gazillion Brass Goggles members harrassing them about stealing your designs.
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darkshines
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Miss Katonic 1898


« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2010, 11:33:44 pm »

Ok, well, I want to make kraken and airship necklaces where the kraken and airship are part of the chain, not hanging from it. So the chain would attatch the end of the airship and then the nose, there would be a short connecting length of chain, the the end on the kraken then its mantle, and then the rest of the chain. I don't know if I want to have the kraken drilled both ends, or if its tenctacles could loop in some way so it can look more interactive than just hanging as well. The thing is airships are fairly easily to cut out, tentacled monstrosities however.....
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Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2010, 12:31:02 am »

If you are making a reasonable quantity of these, I second the waterjet-cutting idea. The rise of computer-controlled waterjet and laser cutters as a job-shop item back in the 1990's has made a lot of stuff easier.
If you haven't done this kind of thing before (I don't want to presume, as for all I know, you handle this stuff at work all the time) the task list goes something like: check the web for a provider that's either nearby and helpful, or so useful and inexpensive that you don't mind them being in another country, get prices and material quotes, and find out what kind of files they take. DXF or AI files are both fairly common, as are several other vector-art types. Typical charge structure will be something like time on machine + materials + setup/handling costs. If you are making a vast enough amount of thingies, or need unusual materials, it may make sense to handle the materials supply chain yourself, but in most cases, the services outfit can get better deals on common materials through their accounts, and save you major headaches.
Of course, if you only wanted three or four pieces, this might all be overkill, but I'm assuming that this project is beyond the point of jeweler's saw, bench pin, and small files.
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darkshines
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Miss Katonic 1898


« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2010, 05:13:53 pm »

I have never undertaken anything like this before so its all completly new to me, all very interesting though.
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johnny99
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2010, 06:45:14 pm »

     What skills, tools do you have at your disposal? because, personally i would find it less of a headache to make that quantity my self.
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darkshines
Rogue Ætherlord
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Miss Katonic 1898


« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2010, 07:08:41 pm »

Nothing, I wouldn't even know where to begin.
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Narsil
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2010, 07:28:11 pm »


If you want to make them by hand from sheet metal then the best bet is probably to cut them out using a jeweler's saw and needle files. The tools aren't that expensive a saw frame is about a tenner, a decent set of files about the same and packs of blades are a few pounds. You will probably also need a peg vise and a small drill.

http://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery-Tools/3-Adjustable-Saw-Frame-prcode-999-735

http://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery-Tools/Vallorbe-Saw-Blades-Grade-2-0,-Bundle-Of-12-prcode-972-060

http://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery-Tools/Bench-Peg-And-Anvil-prcode-999-082

http://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery-Tools/Set-Of-6-Economy-Needle-Files-16cm---All-Cut-2-prcode-999-528

With care and patience you should be able to get the hang of it fairly quickly although cutting out intricate shapes is always going to be time consuming.
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Endeavour Cull
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Netherlands Netherlands



« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2010, 08:13:52 pm »

Maybe this shop at which you can order online, is the thing for your idea. The bad side is that you have to translate your design into CAD (make it digital in drawing software), but maybe someone here can help you with that.

http://www.emachineshop.com/

I could make you a stamp from metal if it wasn't for the outrageous shipping costs and you have to send me a finished piece for reverence
(That would be scary  Roll Eyes ).

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darkshines
Rogue Ætherlord
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Wales Wales


Miss Katonic 1898


« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2010, 08:16:24 pm »

Maybe this shop at which you can order online, is the thing for your idea. The bad side is that you have to translate your design into CAD (make it digital in drawing software), but maybe someone here can help you with that.

http://www.emachineshop.com/

I could make you a stamp from metal if it wasn't for the outrageous shipping costs and you have to send me a finished piece for reverence
(That would be scary  Roll Eyes ).




I sent a package to the Netherlands yesterday and it cost less than a fiver!
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Endeavour Cull
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****
Netherlands Netherlands



« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2010, 08:27:24 pm »

That's not much. To send something from here to the UK starts with €13.00 ( 1€= prox 0.88 pound) from 0.1 to 2 kg.

I believe the right word for stamp which i used before, should be embossing tool.  Huh




« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 08:38:44 pm by Endeavour Cull » Logged
twilightbanana
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Netherlands Netherlands


« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2010, 08:31:09 am »

Unless it fits through a mail slot, in which case you can send it priority (2-3 days in transit) for a lot less. 100-250 grams for EUR3.08, for instance.
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Endeavour Cull
Snr. Officer
****
Netherlands Netherlands



« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2010, 10:37:12 am »

Yes, that's true. However I was thinking of an iron embossing tool in which case it shall be a wee bit bigger and heavier than that.  Smiley
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Danbury Shakes
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« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2010, 11:17:34 pm »

Found this hidden in my bookmarks, one step cutting and embossing dies

http://www.sheltech.net/onestep.html

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darkshines
Rogue Ætherlord
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Miss Katonic 1898


« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2010, 11:40:56 pm »

Ooooh, I totally emailed them, thanks honey!
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Danbury Shakes
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« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2010, 03:39:11 am »

And someone on etsy that does pancake dies 
http://www.etsy.com/shop/TINKERTOOLS

you'd have to shape the blanks, e.g. by press forming them
http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/gom-low-cost-forming.htm
http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/practical-die-forming.htm

I did see an article on press forming using acrylic sheet but I can't find it (basicaly cut the plug out of the acrylic, shape it and use the hole it came out of as the other half of the die)

You may need a little bit of metal around the piece when press forming so the die can grab onto it
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Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2010, 05:38:21 pm »

Also, just in case this gets overlooked, a press die generally needs an arbor press or hydraulic press to provide the required force.
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Endeavour Cull
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Netherlands Netherlands



« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2010, 07:33:30 pm »

It depends how much you are willing to invest in your hobby, but to be possible to keep making your ideas come true it also has to be taken in account that the investments made for buying the right tools must pay themselves back sooner or later.
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Professor Damien Tremens
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« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2010, 05:39:22 am »

Ok, well, I want to make kraken and airship necklaces where the kraken and airship are part of the chain, not hanging from it. So the chain would attatch the end of the airship and then the nose, there would be a short connecting length of chain, the the end on the kraken then its mantle, and then the rest of the chain. I don't know if I want to have the kraken drilled both ends, or if its tenctacles could loop in some way so it can look more interactive than just hanging as well. The thing is airships are fairly easily to cut out, tentacled monstrosities however.....


You should also look at this posting on the website of the excellent Mr. Von Slatt:
http://steampunkworkshop.com/electro-mach2.shtml

I think it may have some useful techniques for your designs, and at a much lower cost than waterjet cutting or using hydraulic punch dies.
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