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Sawing square, straight strips swiftly


#1

Hello Orchidians,

Just wondering if any of you folks on the forum know of an efficient
way of cutting perfectly straight, square-edged strips of metal from
sheet. I’m doing a marriage-of-metals piece (actually, a series of
pieces) that will require many strips of brass, copper, nickel, and
sterling. The strips need to be about 3" long and between 2 - 5 mm
in width. All are 22 gauge and must have straight, square edges; I
think any kind of shearing cutter would create too much distortion.

Having spent a few hours at the bench today sawing strips by hand
and filing them square, it’s evident that this is going to be pretty
labor-intensive. Surely there must be a better way? It would also
be great if I could get narrower strips - say, 0.5 - 1 mm in width.
I suppose I could try square wire, but it always seems to have
slightly rounded corners, and I’d be limited as to materials and
widths.

Immensely grateful for any suggestions! Best to all,

Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com


#2

What about drawing your own square wire? You can certainly find
round wire then draw it into square. If the edges are rounded, it
may end up flush once the piece is completely sanded smooth.

–Vicki Embrey


#3
cutting perfectly straight, square-edged strips of metal from
sheet.... that will require many strips of brass, copper, nickel,
and sterling. 

jessee - for cutting squared off strips i score/incise the finished
width on each sheet of metal & cut the strips a little wider than
finished width using my 9" ryobi bandsaw with an 1/8" metals blade
on thicker metal or my solder scissors, which will cut 22g. after
cutting the strips i roll each into a ring & sand/grind the edges
with 220 or 320 grit psa (pressure sensitive adhesive) disks along
the scored line; holding the ‘ring’ with flat nose pliers at the
open seam might save your fingers while sanding. the strip rolled
into a circle will sand/grind to a uniform width uniform 90 deg edge
while a straight flat strip won’t without a lot of unnecessary
effort. good luck - ive


#4
The strips need to be about 3" long and between 2 - 5 mm in width.
All are 22 gauge and must have straight, square edges.... 

Hello Jessee,

If you’re aiming for the 2-5mm widths one possibility would be to
draw the strips using a 33% rectangle drawplate and draw two wires at
once, stacked, in order to approximate a 16.5% rectangle. Vicki’s
suggestion of drawing square wire reminded me think of this.

I’ve drawn stacked wires through rectangle drawplates before and my
experience is that you get nice square corners on the top of the top
strip and the bottom of the bottom strip but you will get slightly
uneven edges where the two strips have been mashed together as they
go through the plate. It helps a lot if you anneal so that the strips
are dead soft and don’t mix your metals on a given draw. It’s also a
good idea to have help when you draw stacked strips because one person
can control the wires at the in-feed side. A thin, stiff blade held
between the wires and against the back of the drawplate helps in
keeping the wires more-or-less in place for an even draw without
wandering edges.

If you were to draw so that your strips had a bit of overage in the
thickness then, once you soldered with all the square cornered
surfaces on one face, you could grind and file down the uneven face
and should end up with a good looking final result.

If you’re aiming for the 0.5-1mm strips then the 33% drawplate, or
even a 50% rectangle, would let you draw your final strips
individually with square faces all around.

I’ve never attempted to draw nickel but I’ve done all the other
metals you mentioned and can say with confidence that you’ll have no
problems drawing rectangle wires with any of them. Brass does require
frequent annealing though.

Cheers,
Trevor F.


#5
Just wondering if any of you folks on the forum know of an
efficient way of cutting perfectly straight, square-edged strips of
metal from sheet. 

Hi Jessee,

A couple years ago I grappled with the same issue. Some people may
recommend a shear, but I didn’t want the distortion (limited as it
may be) at the edge of the cut. The solution I found, with which I’m
still pleased to this day, is a mini table saw from MicroMark.

I shared this with the Orchid community and can be found
in the archives:

https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/eureka!

It isn’t a cheap solution, but for efficiency, accuracy, speed and
convenience, I don’t think you can find a better answer. It becomes
very cost effective if you’re doing any kind of volume.

All the best,

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC (USA)


#6
after cutting the strips i roll each into a ring & sand/grind the
edges with 220 or 320 grit psa (pressure sensitive adhesive) disks
along the scored line

Ive: Great idea - but I would think after rolling the strips, you
could sand the edges easier on a large piece of sandpaper on a flat
surface or using a flat sanding stick and be sure that you got a
straight edge. With the psa disks, it’s a little more difficult to be
sure you are getting a flat edge.

Kay


#7
Just wondering if any of you folks on the forum know of an efficient
way of cutting perfectly straight, square-edged strips of metal from
sheet.

Jessee,

If you have a power saw of any kind that has a fence or guide that
can cut metal, you can do this yourself. If you don’t have the saw,
you can have it made easily.

Get a piece of flat steel of arbitrary dimensions, but at least
1/2mm thick, and at least 5" X 5", with with 90 degree square edges.
Call it a piece 5" X 5" X 1mm. Cut a slot slightly wider than your
jeweler’s saw blade cuts (it’s kerf) at least 3 1/2" perpendicular
to any edge in the center of the edge. It should look something like
this when viewed from the top:

| |
| |
| |
| || |
| || |
| || |
|||____|

Not sure if these characters will pass the editor, but I hope so.
Basically, it should look like a flat sheet with a slot from the
center of one edge toward the center of the sheet.

Then, clamp it to your bench, or wherever you typically saw your
sheet, but clamp it with a piece of anything straight, such as a
piece of molding or another piece of steel. Clamp it on top of the
sheet 3mm from and parallel to the slot to use as a guide. Better
yet, have a piece of steel welded 3mm (or whatever width you want
the strips to be) parallel to one side of the slot for a permanent
guide. Right side if you saw right-handed, or vice-versa.

With this saw guide, you should be able to feed a 3" wide sheet with
your left hand that will butt against the piece you had welded or
clamped 3mm (or whatever) to the right side of the slot. Then,
simply saw inside of the slot for a 3" X 3mm strip. This shouldn’t
be very costly and you should be able to get several of these guides
made that will cut almost any width you need. The trick with very
narrow ones will be making sure the slot is barely wider than the
kerf of the saw with which you cut the strips.

If I wasn’t clear enough and the silly little keyboard drawing
doesn’t show up properly, I’ll be happy to email you a drawing.
Better yet, somebody here may know a better, simpler way.

James in SoFl, Your Guide


#8

Hi Jesse,

Just wondering if any of you folks on the forum know of an
efficient way of cutting perfectly straight, square-edged strips
of metal from sheet. 

If you have lots of these to be cut, you might consider taking it to
a machine shop that has a ‘water jet’ cutting machine. A water jet
cutter will leave an edge that’s a perfect 90 deg to the surface &
perfectly straight (or any other shape you want). The only drawback
is that you may need to have a dxf file of the part you want. For
unsophisticated shapes like straight lines & circles, the operator
may be able to program the cut on the spot. Thickness of the
material doesn’t present much of a problem, unless you’re talking
about things over 1" (25 mm).

Dave


#9
Just wondering if any of you folks on the forum know of an
efficient way of cutting perfectly straight, square-edged strips of
metal from sheet. 

I have had good luck with cutting silver sheet up to about 22 gauge
with a good sturdy paper cutter.

Margaret


#10

Dear Jesse -

Try your paper cutter and machinist square for layout - this is the
easiest way I know to cut strips of thin metal.

Ivy


#11

As you get into thicker gauges any shear will begin to give you edge
compression. The sharper the blade the better but it will still
occure. From a production point of view, wire EDM or laser cut may
provide an answer. BIll

Reactive Metals Studio, Inc.
PO Box 890 * 600 First North St. * Clarkdale, AZ 86324
Ph-928/634-3434 * Ph-800/876-3434 * Fax-928/634-6734
E-mail- @Michele_Deborah_Bill
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