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Drawings on aluminum for cutting Answered

I have some parts that i need to cut from aluminum. Unfortunately I don't have access to any CNC machine, so I'm thinking of cutting them myself by hand...

Is there an easy way that I can get my drawings on the aluminum? Perhaps printing on photo paper (using my ink printer) and an iron?

Plan B is to use some sort of glue and glue the drawings on the sheet...

Any suggestions are welcome!

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user
jeff-o (author)2010-06-04

There's no need to use the toner transfer method to get your patterns on the aluminum (though I can confirm that it does work!). It sticks on very well actually, you'll need steel wool to get it off. Just print out your patterns on regular paper, and glue the paper to the aluminum with spray adhesive. If you let the glue sit "open" for 30 seconds before adhering it to the metal, it will peel off a bit easier. An alternative method would be to bring your metal and patterns to a company that does laser engraving. It'll be far more expensive than gluing paper patterns, though.

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user
Goodhart (author)jeff-o2010-06-04

won't that "reverse" the image on the aluminum?

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user
jeff-o (author)Goodhart2010-06-04

Well sure it will... unless you print a reversed image. ;) It's exactly the same process as making a PCB using the toner transfer method.

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Goodhart (author)jeff-o2010-06-05

Sorry, I figured you'd know this, but that there might be those that would not think of it until it was too late.

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jeff-o (author)Goodhart2010-06-05

Yeah, I've made this mistake myself in the past, though! +1 experience. ;)

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user
Goodhart (author)jeff-o2010-06-05

of course, if it is just a sheet of aluminum, one could just cut it out as printed and turn it around....

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caitlinsdad (author)2010-05-04

The iron on transfer method only works with fused toner-type prints.  There are iron-on tee-shirt design transfer materials which can only be used with inkjet liquid ink printers.  Not sure how well they stick on to metals instead of cloth.

You might just want to try carbon or graphite paper to trace under your regular design printout.  Some types are a bit waxier in feel and might show up better.

You can print out on sticker paper so you can just attach it to the metal and cut out.

You can print it out on cardstock, cut out the pattern and then trace with marker on the metal. Of course, if you have an intricate design, that might be tedious.

Or project the image on the metal and trace.
Good luck.

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