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Hi,

 

I would be interested in hearing how members cut brass sheet.

 

I've been cutting 0.02" and 0.032" by sandwiching the 3"x12" sheets between two pieces of equal width plywood, sliding the top piece down to expose the width I want, clamping, and cutting using a razor saw. My results have not been terribly accurate or repeatable. I've already ruined one saw and the whole process is rather cumbersome.

 

I would really appreciate hearing any ideas. Thanks

 

John

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Hi Druxey,

 

I anneal the strips after cutting and before I use them, but I'm not sure how to anneal the whole sheet before cutting or, for that matter even, the edge I want to cut. I suppose I could use my large Benzomatic torch to heat the narrow edge red hot and then immerse it in a brownie pan of water, but somehow that seems a bit scary.

 

Thanks,

John

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Hi,

 

I would be interested in hearing how members cut brass sheet.

 

I've been cutting 0.02" and 0.032" by sandwiching the 3"x12" sheets between two pieces of equal width plywood, sliding the top piece down to expose the width I want, clamping, and cutting using a razor saw. My results have not been terribly accurate or repeatable. I've already ruined one saw and the whole process is rather cumbersome.

 

I would really appreciate hearing any ideas. Thanks

 

John

 

Hello John,

 

for cutting brass sheet up to 0,02 " I use an old tailors scissors, and over 0,02 " I use a good old hand jig-saw with a metal sawblade, in that case I position the brass sheet constantly only a few mm over the edge of a supporting wooden plate underneath

 

Nils

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Thanks Nils,

 

I'm going to try that right now. I'll let you know how I do.

 

By the way, I have been following your work on Pegasus and I think what your doing is marvelous.

 

Best,

John

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I suspect you are trying to cut "hard" brass sheet or brass shimstock - both are difficult to cut.  The best grade of brass to use is CZ120, "Compo" or "engraving brass" as used by engravers and clockmakers.  This has a small lead content and cuts easily with a fine toothed piercing or jewellers saw.  One UK source is here:  http://www.collegeengineering.co.uk/BrassCZ120.htm  and another one is here:   http://www.clockmaking-brass.co.uk/brass_sheet_cz120.htmL  (usual disclaimers).

 

When sawn or machined this brass comes off the cutter in a very fine "spray" of brass chippings  - therre is no need to anneal it and it won't work harden during the cutting process.

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Thanks Nils,

 

I'm going to try that right now. I'll let you know how I do.

 

By the way, I have been following your work on Pegasus and I think what your doing is marvelous.

 

Best,

John

 

John, 

 

Thanks for your appreciation on "Pegasus" John,

 

I have here a sample of where I hand-jigsaw-cut the vertical frames of "Pamirs" Jarvis three winches (0,8 mm brass sheet, and fine metal blade)

 

Nils

 

post-3445-0-75002900-1430640393_thumb.jpg

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Another method I use is to attach the brass to a thin piece of plywood with double sided carpet tape.  I then run this through my small table saw that has a fine toothed blade.  

 

I am suprized that you can not cut it with a knife.  I clamp the brass between a piece of acrylic and a steel straight edge and score the brass.  Go about half way through and it will then break off.  

 

Duff 

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I cut brass sheet into long strips on my Preac table saw, using the ripping fence, just like I do for cutting wood into planks.  The edges require a lot of cleaning after the cut, and the strips require some straightening as they tend to curl while cutting.  However, where short lengths are required such as for making chain plates, the result is satisfactory.

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John, 

 

Thanks for your appreciation on "Pegasus" John,

 

I have here a sample of where I hand-jigsaw-cut the vertical frames of "Pamirs" Jarvis three winches (0,8 mm brass sheet, and fine metal blade)

 

Nils

 

attachicon.gifCIMG5875.JPG

Very nice! J.

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For straight cuts in brass up to 0.5 mm thick I would score it with a cutter about half-way through (as noted above) and then wiggle it (perhaps with a pair of flat pliers in the case of narrow strips) until it breaks off. The edge, of course, needs to be filed or sanded flat.

 

Thicker stuff I run through the table saw or the saw table on my watchmakers' lathe with a HSS sawblade. This leaves a very clean cut.

 

Curved cuts in very thin brass, say 0.2 mm thick, can be done with an inverted saw blade in a a jewellers' piercing saw. In this way the teeth will not 'catch', as otherwise there may be only one tooth in contact with the material at any one time.

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Thanks Wefalck and Duff,

 

I have a Dremel 580 and I guess I need to do some experimentation with different blades and sandwhiching material to get the results I want. They basically come down to simplicity, accuracy, and repeatability.

 

I'm using K&S sheet brass, do you think I need to aneal it first?

 

Thanks,

John

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For cutting complex shapes in brass sheet (thick or thin), nothing beats a jeweler's saw (used with a proper "bench pin"). See:

http://www.fdjtool.com/custom.aspx?id=117

 

I have a friend who cut out a beautiful example (two actually) of the cursive text "Chris Craft" in 1:8 scale from brass sheet... just takes patience!

 

No need to anneal your brass.  

post-4253-0-49846400-1432837167_thumb.jpg

Edited by Pat Matthews

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While time has passed, I thought I would add a link to this video, it covers a cheap, time-honored and effective set of techniques (used by jewelers): 


While I didn't learn technique from this video, it covers much of the basics for using a coping/jeweler's saw for working with brass and copper (there are lots of similar videos as well, and this fellow has more including one on cutting curves). When used with files (for light clean up), it is quicker than folks think and gives great control. I believe it is an easy skill to acquire if you give yourself some practice.  

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It takes him 12 minutes of talking, before doing the first cut ... Actually, I think his 'bench pin' is not very suitable for the purpose, it its actually the kind used by jewellers for filing. The variety with a hole at the end gives better support to the material being cut. Here you constantly run into the ends and sides of the wedge-shaped slot. It also springy, which is not good. It also better to have the 'bench pin' a bit higher above the workbench (depends on your size and the lengths of your arms of course) - you should be doing this in a very relaxed position.

Edited by wefalck

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On ‎5‎/‎5‎/‎2015 at 7:03 AM, scaleboat said:

I cut brass sheet into long strips on my Preac table saw, using the ripping fence, just like I do for cutting wood into planks.  The edges require a lot of cleaning after the cut, and the strips require some straightening as they tend to curl while cutting.  However, where short lengths are required such as for making chain plates, the result is satisfactory.

Put a few drops of cutting fluid onto the teeth of your blade and on the brass sheet before cutting - it makes the cutting easier, quicker and cleaner.

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The learned wefalck is correct - his seat should be lower, the bench pin needs to flat if he cuts curved work, etc. I do like that the fellow in the video talks about tensioning the saw, possible use of wax, oil, etc., teeth to thickness, binding, breaking of blades and replacement, and so on. Stuff that leads to success for the first time user. Is it perfect, no. He does address some of those issues in the second video. I didn’t watch any other of his videos past that point.

 

My goal was to simply point out there is a low cost, low tech proven set of methods for cutting brass that leads to successful outcomes that has a lot of instructional videos (created by the related field of jewelry making) pre-existing.

 

I love that there zillions of video these days. <Insert statement about it being harder learn ‘when I was young’>

Edited by EricWilliamMarshall

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I have learned things the hard way, before the Internet-days with all these instructional videos, a global market-place with access to all sorts of fancy tools and in country (Germany), where model engineering and workshop tips books hardly existed.

 

I realised soon that the relationship between the number of teeth and the thickness of the material to be cut is important. Ideally, one should have more than one tooth of the saw in the work-piece, otherwise the saw may hook, but obviously that often is not possible.

 

One day I wanted to cut a whole series of bulkheads for a new project from 0.25 mm thick brass sheet, but did not have access to very fine piercing blades. In my desperation, I turned the blade I had upside down, i.e. I was sawing with the back of teeth - against all expectations it worked like a charm. I gather, I was kind of scraping the brass, rather than cutting it, but was able to cut out the complex shape of the bulkheads with little effort and distortion of the material.

 

An acquaintance of mine, who worked in a manufacturing company, got the apprentices under his supervision to make a 'bench pin'/saw table from a thick slab of steel and got it hardened. I think this was an excellent idea, as the piercing saws barely would be able to touch it and get get caught by sawing into it.

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As a person who uses a jewelers saw a lot Eberhard is correct in that the support needs to be flat. When cutting very thin sheet that needs to be curved it also helps to glue it to some thicker substrate like 1 mm ply (model aircraft supplies) even styrene sheet works in a pinch.  

 

Michael

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Like Wefalk, I have used the back side of the saw teeth on occasion with thin brass and aluminum. Another trick is to angle the saw blade very low near the surface of the metal. This way you will have several teeth cutting at the same time and the saw behaves a bit better. But when you get near the end of the cut you have to angle the blade perpendicular to the cut and it might not cut as smoothly.

 

I have also used the broken tip of a #11 blade, dragging the back side (not the sharp edge) against brass tubing to "worry" a cut lengthwise along one side. Surprisingly, this worked pretty well for short cuts!

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