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Author Topic: New user with a tooling question  (Read 4921 times)
duck arrow types
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« on: March 05, 2007, 09:12:23 pm »

I'm new to this forum and I'm loving it so far.  I am a Daguerreotypist and I have necessity to fabricate brass mattes for my photographs.  The mattes are very similar to those modern examples made from cotton rag.

I've been using eMachineShop.com to cut my mattes out of .039" brass but they're quite amazingly expensive.  The expense is exaggerated when you consider that I have to cut the bevel by hand and then polish!

I'm looking for a tool that I can use to punch through .031-.039" brass.  What kind of tool should I be looking for?

Shapes:

Bevel Example:

Finished Product:

Any ideas?
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2007, 09:38:18 pm »

Scroll saw with metal cutting blade would do that.
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2007, 09:39:23 pm »

Or if you rich, plasma cutter or water cutter.... id go for a cheep scroll saw though.
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Steamed Babbage
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2007, 09:46:42 pm »

A hand-held router with a spiral bit and template might give a cleaner result than a saw. I am a wood guy more than a metal one, and have zero experience machining brass... so this should be taken with a rather large grain of sodium chloride.
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S.Sprocket
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2007, 10:05:15 pm »

That's a great nickname steamed babbage ^_Q
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duck arrow types
Guest
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2007, 11:51:52 pm »

I've been having eMachineShop cut these with a water jet but I don't see any reason why I couldn't do this kind of thing using a cookie cutter-type object and a big heavy weight.  Thanks for the suggestions.
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Copper Sulphate
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2007, 12:09:47 am »

I've been having eMachineShop cut these with a water jet but I don't see any reason why I couldn't do this kind of thing using a cookie cutter-type object and a big heavy weight.  Thanks for the suggestions.

You probably can, though the tool will probably be a fairly large block of metal for reasonably large mattes. There are specially made stamps and dies, which goes together as a unit using a large wrench and which works just like a cookie cutter, though more slowly. However even for fairly small holes of odd shapes you need a rather serious lump of metal to prevent the work piece from flexing, bending and distorting during the squeezing/cutting phase. My impression is that the die and stamp needs to be made to a fairly high degree of precision from high grade steel. This is required to prevent shearing of the tool edges or binding due to the work piece or the spoils wedging in between the tool faces.

C.S.
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Copper Sulphate
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2007, 12:53:43 am »

Wait, I suspect I know what tool you are looking for, the one that looks a bit like a nut cracker you hold in your hand. It uses the hand closing movement to make a metal 'nibbler', which can chew out complex hole shapes in thin metal plates.

But I don't even know what they are called in my native tongue, and much less so in English. Cheesy

Anyone?

C.S.
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cartertools
Guest
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2007, 03:32:24 am »

My little square hole tutorial should show some methods you may find appropriate:
http://www.makezine.com/extras/15.html

Granted these are not square holes, but the principle is the same.

If I were doing them myself, I would probably use a scroll saw (a bench mounted one, not a hand held jig saw) and tip the table over at the angle of the bevel.

Actually if I were doing it myself I'd use my CNC mill, but that would be gloating over my slave robots.

How big are these frames (X" x Y")?
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Copper Sulphate
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2007, 08:47:05 am »

cartertools,

Could you elaborate a bit with your experience with the nibbler tool, please?

Your article showed the gizmo I was suggesting, the Klein 76011B Nibbler Tool. At $20 it sounds like a manageable investment, even just as a test. I wonder if it would be just the thing for making oddly shaped holes in thin brass or copper plate.

C.S.
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Tinker
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Edisonade adventurer and maker of gadgets.


« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2007, 10:07:29 am »

One thing you might try is making an outline punch.  Steel strip is bent to the required shape, in this case a scalloped square, oval, etc.  bars are welded or riveted to the top edge of the strip such that they can be bent together to form a handle.  The strip is sharpened on the bottom edge.  This tool is used on relatively thin metal, over a block of endgrain wood or hard rubber, with a mallet.  One advantage of the punch is that the edge of the metal is bent downward where it's punched, giving a bevelled effect.  Most of the dageurrotypes and tintypes I've seen had relatively thin metal frames, that looked like they had been punched.  As far as material, thin copper and brass sheet can be had as embossing and tooling foil.  This has the additional advantage that you can emboss it if you want. 

I'll look through a few books and see if I can come up with some pics of what I'm trying to decide.  reading back it doesn't sound clear even to me, and I KNOW what I'm trying to say...

A.
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Datamancer
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2007, 10:08:23 am »

I know you addressed cartertools, but i'm bored and happen to know the answer so..

They are actually just called "nibblers"
Smiley
The only downside to them is that they cut a pretty wide track in the material, but they're great for making curves and tight turns. They would definitely work for those frames.

As a byproduct, they also create big piles of crescent-moon metal confetti that get stuck in the bottom of your boots. Good times.

For the simpler shapes, you could also just use a big hole saw. Clamp the metal sheets down onto a piece of wood so your guide holes will be deep (and your metal doesnt spin), then just bore out some big overlapping holes. You can tilt the bit a little so it doesnt bind on the edge. After that, just go around with a little grinder and clean up the edge.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2007, 10:10:39 am by Datamancer » Logged

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Copper Sulphate
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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2007, 10:48:56 am »

Thanks Datamancer, just what I was looking for.  Smiley

Nibblers, you say? Now this will provide a bit of fun, translating that into Danish when I go looking for one. Wink

Well, it does look like the smallest track it leaves behind is about 6mm (1/4") wide or so, but that is still quite acceptable for many applications.

C.S.
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Datamancer
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« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2007, 11:43:24 am »

no problem a'tall.
Yeah they're great for cutting out negative-space shapes like this. You can start off by drilling a hole in the middle of your material that's large enough to get the nibbler bit inside, then nibble out the shape.

Here's what they look like, for reference.

Nibblers

These are mostly pneumatic, but take a look at that last one...it's actually a nibbler attachment for a regular power drill. That might be handy in case you don't have an air compressor or if you don't want to buy a separate tool for only occasional use
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cartertools
Guest
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2007, 07:34:55 pm »

cartertools,

Could you elaborate a bit with your experience with the nibbler tool, please?

Your article showed the gizmo I was suggesting, the Klein 76011B Nibbler Tool. At $20 it sounds like a manageable investment, even just as a test. I wonder if it would be just the thing for making oddly shaped holes in thin brass or copper plate.

C.S.



It's a neat tool. My only caveat is that you are squeezing handles - fun for 10 minutes, hell for 20, cthulu nameless shrieking horror for an hour. Also it has a square die, so you get square edges, good for some shapes, not so good for others. But at the price, it's a very useful tool...
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cartertools
Guest
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2007, 07:37:38 pm »

One thing you might try is making an outline punch.  Steel strip is bent to the required shape, in this case a scalloped square, oval, etc.  bars are welded or riveted to the top edge of the strip such that they can be bent together to form a handle....
A.

Often called a "Steel Rule Die" People use them for fabrics and leather as well.
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cartertools
Guest
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2007, 07:44:33 pm »

I know you addressed cartertools, but i'm bored and happen to know the answer so...
They are actually just called "nibblers"...
As a byproduct, they also create big piles of crescent-moon metal confetti that get stuck in the bottom of your boots. Good times.


I love those razor sharp crescents! Nothing like accidentally tracking them into the house.
I have seen much smaller powered nibblers with square and round dies. I even have something (yes, craven tool addict) that is table mounted and uses hydraulics to perform the nibbling action from underneath. it came with a  number of different shaped dies (Kidder "Kibbler", not very common)...

There are ones that attach to your hand drill, here's one, but there are a bunch of different brands:
http://www.justoffbase.co.uk/Drill-Nibbler-Attachment-Sealey-SNA9820?sc=9&category=68

I think that this just shows that there are a million ways to skin a cat.
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Datamancer
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« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2007, 07:57:32 pm »

I've actually always thought them quite beautiful and have to fight the urge to save them for....no real reason.
Caltrops? My Ninja days are way behind me, I'm afraid.
Painful glitter of some kind?
A fine shrapnel for the pipe bombs in my post-apocalyptic survival kit?

ooOOooh! That table nibbler sounds neat. Can you get a pic of that? I don't think I've ever seen one.
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duck arrow types
Guest
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2007, 10:56:04 pm »

I really appreciate the brainstorming here, thanks!  I'm not very excited about using nibblers or saws because that requires a lot of hands-on work on these objects.  If I have the pieces pre-cut then all I have to do is bevel and polish.  With a scroll saw, I would have to spend half an hour just MAKING the matte in the first place before beveling.

I would really prefer a stamping-style process because I could turn out a bunch of these mattes in a small amount of time and they would all be the same.  Maybe I should just stick to the waterjet.  Sad
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Tinker
Snr. Officer
****

Edisonade adventurer and maker of gadgets.


« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2007, 11:29:23 pm »

One thing you might try is making an outline punch.  Steel strip is bent to the required shape, in this case a scalloped square, oval, etc.  bars are welded or riveted to the top edge of the strip such that they can be bent together to form a handle....
A.

Often called a "Steel Rule Die" People use them for fabrics and leather as well.

Thanks.  I've used them on leather and such, but I couldn't find the right words.  I grew up calling it a 'dinking punch' but my wife, who used them too in her work says that's not the right word.  Thus the description.

A.
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cartertools
Guest
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2007, 12:17:38 am »


Thanks.  I've used them on leather and such, but I couldn't find the right words.  I grew up calling it a 'dinking punch' but my wife, who used them too in her work says that's not the right word.  Thus the description.

A.

I've heard them referred to as a "dinking die" (rather than dinking punch) also, tell your wife you're correct.
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Chitin
Guest
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2007, 02:30:26 am »

In leatherwork, the correct word is "clicker die" due to them usually being attached to a clicker press to create large numbers of the same shape.
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