I’ve been reading the Orchid stuff but never replied - I hope this
Re: The question about efficiently cutting many pieces out of 14
gauge sheet metal.
I don’t know what materials or shapes you are cutting but here is
what I do.
If the material is not overly precious, the gain in speed can offset
the relatively high level of waste.
I have been woodworking and making jewelry for over 40 years and I
sometimes press tools into service across the boundaries of their
I use my woodworking bandsaw - with the finest and narrowest blade I
can get - still a far cry from a jeweller’s saw blade - but it works.
I often leave extra material so there is room for a couple of
quick-and-dirty rivets to hold several thicknesses together - or I
might cut a long strip and fold it over a time or two or three so as
to make multiple layers.
If the shape has lots of tight curves and corners, too tight for
the blade to follow in the conventional manner, the bandsaw blade
can be used perpendicular to the line, like a file,to chew away
material close to the finished line. Works fast! But either way,
don’t try to cut right on the line. This is a rough-out step.
There are some drawbacks and some solutions.
The first and main one , as mentioned above, is the waste of
material. Unless you invent a clever way to collect the chips, most
of the waste will be unrecoverable so I use this rough and ready
trick mostly with copper, brass etc. Only sometimes with silver.
Second - compared to jeweller’s saw, you get rough edges. To save
lots of timeand filing I use a Delta benchtop 1" belt/disc
combination sander- a quite inexpensive machine - to smooth and
refine edges. Again, this can be done to multiple pieces
simultaneously if you clamp them together. Not only the face of the
belt, but also the edges and the curved bit at the top where it
passes over the wheel, can be used to get into a lot of corners and
eliminate lots of hand filing. Belts can be gotten in a wide range
of grits - I have some down to 600 grit and I think they come even
Third - There is a tremendous build up of heat from the friction both
in the sawing and sanding. That requires some extra time and/or other
countermeasures, i.e. frequent water dipping etc. When sanding with
multiple units held in clamps, you can hold the clamps instead of the
workpiece and that is a help. But sawing is a @#^&()_(&^%$!!! I
don’t ever want to use gloves around moving machinery - so I cope
Like anything else -these methods take a bit of practice but they do
work for me - especially with large-ish pieces and thicknesses such
as you describe.
Incidentally - For years I often wondered why slow-speed electric
scroll saws wouldn’t work for this kind of work as they can easily
hold jeweller’s saw blades. I asked a bunch of jewellers and nobody
could figure out why it wouldn’t work so I decided to give it a try
and I bought the smallest Delta benchtop model. Suffice it to say
that it DOESN’T work. Blades break and work gets picked up and
slammed down out of control. So machines can’t do everything - which
is a good thing for artists and craftspeople in the end. Also good
for folks who like peace and quiet most of the time.
I hope this helps.
Martin in Victoria BC where things are just loverly