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Cutting 1/8" aluminum flat stock parts


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#1 Dallas Racer

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 07:20 PM

I was thinking about getting a very small quantity of vintage style aluminum rail chassis' cut. How do you go about doing that?


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#2 Samiam

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 08:38 PM

Talk to Dennis David.

http://slotblog.net/...c-desktop-mill/


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#3 airhead

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 08:22 AM

Look in your area for some one with a water jet cutter,


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#4 Dennis David

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 09:12 AM

The major expense is the design work. Do you have a drawing, preferably a CAD file? Personally I wont be set up for a few months.

If you are looking for something sooner then check out 3D Hubs which is a network of shops, that do printing and milling.

https://www.3dhubs.com

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#5 Dan Miller

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 12:46 PM

Phil,

 

Drop a small stack of $100 bills on the table, about 4 or 5 of them, and kiss it goodbye. Small quantity does not come cheap. Cost per unit will be high as you have to absorb certain initial up front costs and the material costs.

 

You need someone who can generate a CAD drawing and most likely a DXF file. Unless you have a friend who can do this for you expect $50+ per hour fee. Around here it is $80. The shop that can cut the aluminum for you, can create your drawing for you, but the cost will be rolled into the total cost.  

 

As the rails will not be thick material, go find a Laser cutting shop that runs a nitrogen gas machine, as you want to get a good job, instead of a minor molten mess. There will be a minimum charge for both set up fee, $75 here, as well as the time spent cutting, which will be quite short, as Lasers really rock. Of course there will be a minimum charge for cutting, based on an hourly fee of whatever the shop charges.

 

My choice of material would be 7075-T6 which costs about $33 per square foot in 1/8" thickness. You want bare sheet, not clad.

 

All the above applies to water jet cutting, which would be my second choice.

 

You could have some shop CNC mill the parts out but then there will be the CAD drawing fee, the setup fee, the cost of making a special jig to hold your work pieces and an hourly rate to pay. Milling may work out to be a more expensive way than the first two choices.

 

Last choice for cutting is wire EDM. Drop $1,000 on the table and you are good to go.

 

You will find small quantities of various aluminum alloys at "OnLine Metals" which is just a super place to buy metal from. For aluminum alloys that will work, you have a few choices. See what OnLine has for sale, write down the different alloys and spend a day doing some internet research. That, or bite the bullet and save yourself some time, by going with 7075-T6.

 

......... or you could do it yourself by hand which would teach you something. Go get a small saw, a jewellers saw, some small files and a piece of aluminum. Stick it in a good vice with soft jaws and go for it. Having a drill press would really help out as well.

 

Have fun.

 



#6 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 12:50 PM

or R-Geo might be running another batch of his padlock frames......


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#7 Dallas Racer

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 02:17 PM

Thanks for the responses everyone!

 

There are people getting small runs of parts cut for much less than that. Somehow. I don't think RGeo had many rail kits made and he sold them for $40-45 anodized. And I'm sure he made money or he wouldn't have done it.

 

I bought the last 2 he had. I ask if he was going to build anymore and he didn't respond. I took that as a no. And that's why I'm asking.

 

It's like how traction glue and braid juice is made. No one that knows will talk about it. ;) I do get it though. No reason to give away your trade secrets.


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#8 Dan Miller

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 11:22 PM

Phil,

 

Please get back and let us know how you make out. I am interested in how well it goes for you as I wish to have some chassis cut from aluminum as well. If you find a good cheap source please share it.

 

Thanks .......... Dan

 

.



#9 airhead

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 08:16 AM

​Look under , water jet services , for knife makers. Some of these places will make small runes of knife blades for makers and may cut the aluminum parts you need.


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#10 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 12:56 PM

Drill bit, file, hacksaw, and sweat.  Like it has been done since the beginning of the industrial age.


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#11 Dallas Racer

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 08:16 PM

I think I'll go stone age. Make it out of wood with hand-made flint tools.

 

Is there irony in promoting doing something "old school" while using a computer (or possibly a smart phone) via the internet? ;)


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#12 jokar124

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 08:29 PM

Or you could just buy one of these:

 

 

                              https://www.kickstar...waterjet-cutter


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#13 Tom Katsanis

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:26 PM

If you cut it out yourself Phil ,get your two rails & before cutting them up clamp the 2 pieces together & drill all your holes thru both pieces at once. This should make it so your 2 rails line up then cut them to the shape you need.
Tom


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#14 Dennis David

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 10:38 PM

Dallas, I sent you a PM

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#15 Dallas Racer

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 11:49 PM

Just answered you, David. I've been gone most of the day.


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#16 Dallas Racer

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 11:51 PM

If you cut it out yourself Phil ,get your two rails & before cutting them up clamp the 2 pieces together & drill all your holes thru both pieces at once. This should make it so your 2 rails line up then cut them to the shape you need.
Tom

 

Tom, Thanks. That's how I cut pans for scratch built chassis. That's the only way I can make them the same. 


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#17 drrufo

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 12:38 PM

If it straight forward cut, try a metal supply firm. I use a metal vendor that will cut stock for me . It should cost about 5 bucks a cut.

 

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#18 Phil Hackett

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 04:30 PM

How small of a quantity? That number controls the ways to get it made economically.


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#19 Robert BG

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 08:40 AM

I hate to say it but Dan's post is pretty acurate although there are ways around it.It generally has to do with knowing someone and being able to generate the needed files yourself.If you're interested in doing as such the website Toptechboy dot com has a great into and series on such and I'd highly recommend it.

 

I looked into getting some stuff edm cut and unless I was doing 50+ at a time it was not cost effective.As for waterjet,while it would work the level of detail you want most likely wont be there and that is why laser was recommended.

 

I do have a source overseas (notChina) who is a slot racer that could possibly help you out if you're serious but I dont want to waste his time if you arent familiar with the process and even then to be economical you'd have to have the files already.

 

Another option is tech schools/students who are always looking for projects to do.

 

Last and possibly the most viable cost effective solution depending on the design would be to route them.You could easily find someone willing to 3D print or laser cut (on a home/hobby laser) a router template so you can use a trusty router to cut the parts.People so often overlook a router when it comes to aluminum but  the right bits will make short work of it and a good template or two makes for a accurate and repeatable cut.


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#20 Dallas Racer

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 11:39 PM

I didn't know this thread was still going. Thanks for the posts.

 

I don't know how many, Phil. I didn't want to get into marketing them. I just wanted to get some for myself and let whoever makes them sell them. I will buy a quantity and sell them myself if I have to but that's not my preference.

 

Robert, I have a forum member that really knows what he's doing involved and that's looking promising.


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#21 munter

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 02:45 AM

Interesting thread. I recently had some rear U brackets made up by a mate who works in a sheet metal shop.

He said the laser wouldnt work on brass so I had to settle for a panel steel with a galv finish.

I drew the three sizes and types on paper and he did the rest.

You can see the burn marks from the laser....

P1020436.jpg

P1020438.jpg

P1020440.jpg

P1020441.jpg

 

I am into 1/32 so the two small ones work for the slimline ff series of motors while the third suits an FK.

 

So far I have sold a few and built one up.

P1020800.jpg

P1020806.jpg

The chassis is painted with an etch primer to hide the bad soldering and the oxidizing wire rod and bracket edges.

 

 


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#22 Robert BG

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 08:09 AM

Nice stuff.........If you dont mind asking,could you ask your friend what it'd roughly cost retail for the same work.The reason I ask is it'd be a great point of reference for the original poster.It's ok if you dont want too,I'd understand.Chances are it'd be the min setup fee plus an hour or 2 labor and materials.

I hate to say it but the only real affordable way is if you have a friend in the business,find a trade school or someone does it on the side..


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#23 munter

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 01:02 PM

 ask your friend what it'd roughly cost retail for the same work

 

Thanks Robert, I pay cash and he says he drops it into the cash drawer at his work place.

Retail price would be about $US3.50 - $US4.00 per piece


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