My apologies for the confusion. I was on a totally different tangent
to the actual thread. I took it to be about engraving and not as
cutting through the material.
Cutting to me does not mean Profiling, but to others it may very
well do, and that's the mistake I made.
To me, you cut a die or a hub or even a metal mold with details
usually, but any outside work is profile milling. I guess I need to
stand back and understand what is really meant by the poster, and not
what I think is meant. Not enough sleep I guess. The mention of
etching threw me also.
As James mentioned, and now that I know what page I am supposed to
be on -:), water jet is the way to go.
Remember, with water jet, you can stack multiple sheets to
profile/cut the same design out of all layers. Make sure that you
find a good shop that comprehends what happens to the tail of the
water jet. What this means is that as the jet progresses along its
path, the water jet or tail will lag behind especially in thicker
material. Big problem in corners unless they have a dynamic head on
it, so that the head will rotate and compensate for the tail lag.
Most shops will be pretty good and deliver the parts as they are
meant to be delivered, but I have had some really worthless work
done, down here in South Florida, so it is not entirely idiot proof.
A single thin sheet should not pose problems as the lag will be very
small. Even so, an incorrect feed rate and not having optimized look
ahead for slowing down into the corners, will give you a piece that
looks fantastic from the front, but you will have evidence of an over
cut on the back side in the form of a scallop. Also, check what the
orifice diameter is for the jet or rather the water jet diameter, and
remember any inside corners will have a radii corresponding to the
water jet diameter just as in machining.. Do not expect sharp corners
on inside profiles.
Good Luck. If you need any help, give me a call, especially if you
are not sure about the quotes you get.