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How best to cut out small, laser cut parts from the sheet?


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I am in the early stages of building Model Expo's Syren. I have just had a frustrating experience with the eight, laser cut, stern frames. Six of them crumbled almost as soon as I touched them. Another had part of the outer ply missing. It appears that the inner ply was burned and came apart at the touch.

I have just sent in for replacements, hopefully they will be usable, but it lead me to think that I should try to remove all the laser cut parts now so I can put in any necessary parts orders now rather than losing time... and motivation on the build.

 

Whew... long lead-in up to get to the point.

 

As I look at the remaining parts, many are small... really tiny. That leads me to ask, is there a best way to remove laser cut parts from the sheet? I have been using x-acto blades with small repetitive cuts, but even the sharp pointed blade seems too big.

 

Would appreciate any advice.

Richard

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I use a small razor saw. It looks just like the number 11 blade but it has saw teeth on it. They come from Micromark and are very thin. They come in two different numbers of teeth. These blades fit the standard handle just like the number 11 blades.

 

http://www.micromark.com/SearchResult.aspx?deptIdFilter=0&searchPhrase=saw+blades

 

Russ

Edited by russ
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Welcome aboard, Richard.  I think you'll find Syren to be a rewarding build.

 

I've always used the #11 blade to cut parts from sheets ---- even well before laser cutting.  With laser cutting, generally 2 or 3 small spots are left uncut to hold the part in the sheet.  Normally, it is only necessary to cut through these small spots to release the piece.  In fact I've seen many kits where the laser cutting is too aggressive and the parts all fall out when you lift the sheet.  It is possible that you have an unusual few sheets of inadequately cut parts.  If you hold your sheet up to the light, you should basically be able to see daylight all around the part except for the small uncut spots.

 

Flip a sheet over and see if you can clearly see the outline of the piece on the 'underside'.  If not, the laser was set wrong.  Hopefully you can make something out and what usually works is to start cutting from the underside along the outline rather than try to force a thick blade through from the 'top'.

 

It's only my speculation but I'm betting it's not you that's the problem......it was the laser depth setting.

 

Best of luck.  ME should be good for any parts you need.

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I also tend to go at the little tabs from both sides. Don't try and extract the part from one side only. Cut partway through on one side, then flip the sheet over and do the same from the back. Repeat until you've freed the part. This will ensure a clean edge on both surfaces and any raggy bits in the middle can be sanded away.

 

Andy

Edited by realworkingsailor
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Russ,

I have ordered the saw tool from Micro Mark. (of course, since I was there, I ordered a couple of other "necessities."

 

Augie,

I have already written to ME for replacement parts. This is the second time I have had to stop and wait for laser cut parts that fell apart. It would have been a lot better if someone had done quality checks of the parts as they were being packed. The burn should have been easy to detect with only a visual inspection. Heck, I am new to this and I am learning what to look for.

I appreciate your tips and have started doing my own inspection.

 

Andy,

I worked on one piece for about 10-15 minutes doing as you suggested, flipping frequently to slowly eat away at both sides. First a piece of the outer ply came loose. Then a piece in the narrow neck crumbled. it looked like the center (inner ply layer) crumbled from burning. The same happened earlier in the build with a couple of the bulkheads but they were big enough to patch except one, which was replaced. These stern frames are much smaller and fixing is much more difficult.

 

 

Thanks to all of you for the help,

Richard

Edited by rtropp
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Richard - Have you started a build log? I would love to see your work as it progresses. My next kit is going to be the Syren. I already have her plans hanging on my wall to keep me motivated. Like Augie I use the #11 blade. I bought a box of 100 Excel blades some years back and I have been very pleased with them.

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Floyd,

I wasn't sure about starting a build log. Two reasons. I hate to take time away from the build itself. Second, I have seen a lot of the build logs abandoned and I suspect that abandoned logs indicate abandoned kits.

 

Since this my first real attempt at this, I did not want to start something if I wasn't sure I would finish it. Also, was not sure I would be producing the quality I would want to share. (handy with tools has not been my strong suite in the past.)

My confidence is growing so I have been toying with the idea of starting one. I have photos from the beginning of my build so I really could. Just need to carve out the time to do it.

 

below is work as of a couple of weeks ago

 

Richard

post-4218-0-34935200-1374500025_thumb.jpg

Edited by rtropp
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I use a small razor saw. It looks just like the number 11 blade but it has saw teeth on it. They come from Micromark and are very thin. They come in two different numbers of teeth. These blades fit the standard handle just like the number 11 blades.

 

http://www.micromark.com/SearchResult.aspx?deptIdFilter=0&searchPhrase=saw+blades

 

Russ

That's what I started using as well.  They make removal much easier and cleaner in my experience.

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Richard - It is just my opinion, but I think a build log helps keep you going. You have a huge wealth of support. While it is true build logs get abandoned. I believe more get finished because of the log. I am sure you have seen all the praise and suggestions that come with each post. We all know the effort behind each step. Of all the groups I want to think well of my efforts, this one means the most to me.

 

I know I have said it before, and probably it was in this forum. But I have at least 3 kits that met a Viking burial. The cause of this was Frustration. Failure, and not knowing what to do or how to do it. This has changed because of 2 things. One is this forum and 2 is my local club. My skills have changed immensely because of this. I still have much to learn. Frankly I have only finished 1 real ship. But now I know I will finish my current project. Because I have a group of friends on this forum to turn to for support and guidance.

 

The best example of this I can offer is the current discussion on my Harvey log. I had what for me was a disastrous event. I had no idea how I would recover. I had put the model away and resisted the urge to give up and burn it. I confessed my fears at a local club meeting. And I will let you read my log to see the results. I am now excited to try the new solution and move forward. I also know now that I should have confessed my worries on this forum sooner.

 

I should also tell you of the wonderful friends I have met in person because of this forum. Not sure I would have had the experiences I have had without being encouraged to do a build log. Besides the subtle pressure to post something and show progress makes up for the brief time away from building it takes to be on this forum.

 

Ok, I know I have laid it on pretty thick and I hope you will forgive me for it. But it is all true. We have an incredibly impressive group here. I enjoy every min of the time I spend with these people both virtually and in person.

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Richard,

 

I have to agree with everything Floyd has said about starting a build log. If you want to see how it's helped me, check out the re-build of the stern of my Victory - all done with the assistance and support of members of this forum. That gave me the confidence to try more "new" things, the latest being the scratch building of the first of the ship's boats. (Link in my signature block). So, don't be concerned that your work isn't "good enough" to post - think only of how much better you will become with the support and encouragement of your friends here at MSW.

 

Okay, getting off the soap box now.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I often wonder how many build logs are just never completed.  I know I followed one that had a two year break.  The builder had something happen in life that made him put the kit down for a while.  I know I am lazy on the logs.  it takes time to properly capture our work and then turn that into a journal that others can follow.  I know I still have more work on my second to last build which was stretched out over several years due to a long break.  I was lazy and did not photograph the rigging and sail construction as much as I wanted.  I have since completed another model and never documented anything beyond hours spent on it since there were more than one logs on the same kit already here.

 

If you want feedback and help, the log is a big plus.  As a first time builder about 8 years ago, I would have loved to have known this site existed to use other logs as reference and to ask for clarification.

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Rich,

 

Augie's take is correct that the laser setting was probably off in some way. One of the things to remember when releasing the parts is not to worry about the rest of the sheet. I've seen (and done it myself) that I was so intent on getting the part out that I was for some reason worried about sacrificing the waste material of the sheet. Cut some of that off If you can to isolate the parts as well. Not every piece can have the tabs (the connected part) running with the grain so the release is easy. Cutting cross grain on plywood is not easy.

 

The point being just get the part out clean - don't worry about the rest of the wood.

 

Sam

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Floyd and Grant couldn't have said it any better!  the only thing I could add,  is the fact that everyone, at one time or another,  flies by the seat of their pants.......me.....I have no bottom left {very drafty}.  at the time I joined here....I was working on a plastic build.....I thought I would never fit in  {cripes,  I think Floyd was one of the first members I talked to here}.  I found out pretty quick that I had nothing to worry about.   I ain't the best.......but I have a lot of fun.......that's what it's all about :)

 

there are folks here that are sharper than their x-actors....take your time and have fun :)

 

I use the box cutter blades mostly......but if I'm in a bind,  I have a tool that I can fit one of those gillette blades.....super thin.  I'm also a saver of the parts panels......you never know when you need to trace out another part on the fly ;)

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