Cutting repetitive shapes

Hi Friends,

Got another question for you! I’m thinking about trying to do a
limited production run that would require several pieces of sheet
metal per item, cut to specific shapes. To cut each piece with a
jeweler’s saw would be quite time consuming. Any ideas or suggestions
about how I can stamp or punch these shapes from the sheet? Is there a
service that can do this in a cost effective manner? Is it time for me
to investigate a Bonny Doon press? Will this election ever be decided?
Ooops… I’m rambling again! :wink:


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

I have seen in a book the technique of cutting a stamp out of steel,
thusly - you cut the shape out on three sides in multiple places on
the steel. You then lift the shape, then slide the silver under the
stamp and whack it.

I have not tried this yet tho!

production run that would require several pieces of sheet to be cut
Is it time for me to investigate a Bonny Doon press? 

Hey Dave, Tom here, Yes, look into a Bonny Doon Press. I took 2 classes
held by FSG with Lee Marshall(one heck of a guy!) down in Tallahassee
Fla. (Are you jeweler/artist/craftsmen of the southern US aware of
the Florida Society of Goldsmiths?)And the press can do cutting
through a die you have made or make yourself. A friend of Lee’s make
die with a laser, and is proficient at it. It does take some time and
skill to make them yourself, but you can cut out patterns as fast as
you can work the press. (If and when you come this way, I"ll show
you) And that’s just a start, as to what the press can do,Happy

Thomas Blair
Island Gold Works

For Dave Sebaste, who asked about cutting repetitive shapes: 1… Susan
Kingsley’s book “Hydraulic Die Forming For Metalsmiths” is really
well done and interesting, and might be a good place to start. You
can get it from Charles Lewton-Brain for about 20 bucks. email: . I bought a copy & really like it. 2…
Enerpac makes several small workshop-sized hydraulic presses
including at least one powered by a hand pump, in case you want one
huge tricep. Their website is: , and you should
search for: SOP Series Bench Press Models SOP-106P142 or SOP-106PAT1.
I’m thinking of buying one myself. 3… You live in Charlotte?
Beautiful place, and probably no manufacturing. Maybe on the
outskirts you can find a stamping plant. Multiple stampings from
lightweight metal are used by almost every industry, and where you
have large manufacturers, small job shops invariably spring up.
Their orientation won’t be precious metal, but they’ll know how to
stamp and where to go for the tooling. 4… Does anyone know of a
vendor who specializes in stamping precious metal? I’d be very
interested. Good luck!

Rick Hyer in Chicago, where people know how to fix broken elections.

Richard Hyer
Tel: 773-404-2755
Fax: 773-404-2756

I’m investigating EDM wire cutting to get my silver components cut.

Apparently round these parts laser cutting is not suitable for silver

  • something about the type of laser they use, and the unwillingness of
    the owners of the machines to risk it cutting silver.

Draw the shapes in a vector application which exports a dxf file.


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ph/fx +64 9 817 6816

Hi Dave; I have several suggestions for you on piercing multiples out
of sheet. First, there is a system which Rio Grande sells that does
this. Its called their RT Stamping System. This system can run $330
up to $839 depending on model size. Quite and investment, but if you
are going to be doing a lot of this stuff, it might be a worthwhile
investment. On the other hand, you could always job this one out to
a company that does laser cutting. There are also companies that do
cutting with water, and the resuld is excellent and the cost quite
reasonable. If you are only doing a small run, here’s a method I
have used.

  1. Go to a photography supply store, i.e. a camera shop and get some
    of those adhesive sheets that are used to hot mount photos. 2. Make a
    stack of alternating metal/hot mount sheet/metal/hot mount etc. If
    you can access a vulcanizer, you can clamp it in the thing and heat
    to the advised temperature and you’ll have a glued up stack of metal
    sheets. If you don’t have access to a vulcanizer, you’ll have to put
    them on a thick sheet of metal on a rack in the kitchen oven with
    another thick piece of metal on top and a couple of bricks on that
    and heat the stack for a while. 3. Use spray adhesive and mount a
    zerox copy of your design on top and pierce the whole stack with a
    saw frame of appropriate depth and blade as thick as you can get away
    with. 4. Soak in solvent (read label on the photo mount sheets, some
    use different solvents) and separate the stack.

Good Luck, David L. Huffman

1 Like

How about cutting them by waterjet, or maybe by laser? I don’t know
if these work at jewelry sizes, but I’ve had some very pleasant and
cheap experiences with waterjet cutting shops.

Bathsheba Grossman (831) 429-8224
Digital sculpture
Creative prototyping

Good morning all, If anyone is interested in using Wire EDM to cut out
repetitive shapes, or in building a stamping die and having your
parts stamped out. Please contact me, my shop does Wire EDM work for
the electronics industry as well as design, build and run metal
stamping dies. I would be very interested in finding a product that
would benefit all parties involved. I am very open to any discussion.
Please check out my web site below.

Kevin Willis

Dave, the easy answer to cutting repetitve shapes is a pancake die.
Dave Shelton provides a service to make the dies and offers an
option to cut the material as well. He does a good job and is easy
to deal with. You may find that the technique is so useful that you
will eventually buy a Bonny Doon press for it and all the myriad
things you can do with it. Dave Shelton is at
I’m not associated with him, just a very satisfied customer.

Judy Hoch

I’ve used the RT Stamping system for six years for a small production
line I make. Cutting the dies is the hardest part; you go through
lots of blades (03 or 04) so I learned to buy by the gross. Once the
die is cut, the shapes are punched out as fast as you can pump the
hydraulic press. You still have to do some sawing where the hinge
joins the die, but the edges are so smooth that filing is minimal. If
you have other questions about the system, you can contact me off-list.
Donna from WY…just moved to VA

Perhaps instead of cutting repetitive shapes, the items may be
castable through lost wax or pewter process which we have done
extensively for customers. Specially if shaping and adding other
features to the stamped piece (such as stonesettings ,bails and
pinbacks) will be done later. Casting will eliminate a lot of hand
fabrication and soldering with perhaps only minor modifications to
the existing design. We can help you with these type of projects and
offer advice by phone or email.

Daniel Grandi Tel: 401-461-7803 monday
through Friday 9 Am to 5 Pm eastern standard time We do production
casting and finishing for designers ,stores and people in the trade
in gold, silver,bronze/brass and pewter.

I do not have a solution, but rather a similar problem. I recently
contacted a couple of laser and waterjet cutting companies here in
the US, to cut the basis of some piercework I am doing in sterling.
I was told by a laser cutting that for very small items that laser
cutting had problems because of the heat conductivity of silver. a
waterjet cutting company wasn’t sure that he could cut something as
small as I wanted. He also wasn’t sure about the pierced holes.
(there are some 26 of them in a piece 1-3/4" by 5/8") His kerf is
0.040". This is wider than some of the piercings. It was suggested
by him that I consider “electro-chemical machining”, or electro
etching the piece 'till the holes fall out!
Are there any comments that could prove usefull??

1 Like

A good method for this is to superglue layers of sheet together, as
thick as accuracy will permit, and seperate with heat afterwards. For
larger volume, the Rio Grande RT Stamping system is an excellent and
affordable option.

Cheers from Virginia, the Old Dominion

Have you considered using an etching company? You basically submit
either a hand drawing (as exact as possible) or something on a disk
(not sure what their requirements are; I’ve only submitted hand
drawings but may change next time) and the company will etch it out
for you. They can also do half-etches in the design. You pay for the
initial cost of the tool and from then on, it’s just the metal and the
labor charges. I’ve found it very helpful. The company I use is
International Etching in Rhode Island, number 401-781-6800.

1 Like

Rick and Dave,

Rick, there is a person out there who does stampings of precious
metals. His name is Dar [a.k.a. Dave] Shelton. He’s a friend of Lee
Marshall’s and the undisputed North American Champion of the blanking
die world. He charges very reasonable rates for cutting, hardening,
and tempering blanking dies, and he will also do production runs from
a die if you don’t own a press. You can contact him through the forum
on the Bonny Doon website [ – then click
on “visit the forum” and you’re there]. He also advertises in LJ and
CraftsReport in the classifieds. I cut out my own dies, but send the
delicate and complex ones to Dar for hardening and tempering. If
you’re going to be using the die on thicker metal [up to 16g] or
cutting out zillions of the shapes, then I really recommend that you
have the die treated. Dar wrote out the instructions for this process
if you want to try it yourself; they are in Susan Kingsley’s book. By
the way, it is extremely difficult to cut your own blanking dies if
you do not have some kind of sawing guide to help you maintain the
correct angle. If this is a one-time thing, then it is cost effective
to have Dar do the whole thing for you. If you think you’ll be doing
this again, then invest in a sawing guide. The best one out there is
made by Bonny Doon.

Good luck!

Anne, watching 12 doves at the feeder this chilly morning

Just getting caught up on email… sorry for the late response!

Daniel wrote (on 11/18) > Perhaps instead of cutting repetitive
shapes, the items may be castable through lost wax

That is a really cool thought, although it will not work in this
case. One piece of I neglected to include in my original
problem is that the elements will be of different metals (i.e.,
sterling, copper, and either brass or gold). They will be
stamped/chased as individual pieces and possibly again after being
assembled. They will have findings (most likely pin backs) soldered on
after construction is complete.

If I was to do an all sterling (or gold) version, your suggestion
might be the most practical solution, and I hadn’t considered it.

Thanks for the input,


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)