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What technique would be recommended for cutting through thin gauges of sheet brass and copper (Preferably cheap)? Answered

I am currently trying to find a solution to a year and a half long problem I've been working at, and was hoping the community could help me out.  I ma trying to create miniature armatures that will always have the right proportions by etching the 'skeleton' out of thin brass (I believe it's somewhere around .02 inches thick).  I've tried toner transfer and ferric chloride etching, but I am not getting steady results with the toner transfer.  Since this isn't a circuit board, are there any other techniques I can use to cut through the metal quickly?  If it's something along the lines of a CnC machine, as long as I can make it to cut down on the costs, I'm open to the idea.  Just to give you an idea of what I'm trying now, at the moment I'm making stencils that I will spray acrylic or spray paint through onto the metal to allow for the same design every time.  Acrylic and spray paint are also resistant to ferric chloride.

Thanks

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jelleAtProtospace (author)2010-10-20

a late answer, but I get the impression the above posters overestimated the thickness of your foil. Your best direct bet would be to use a foil cutter. Normally this machine is used to cut PVC foil to make signs etc. If you buy your own knife for the machine, the owner (try a fablab close by) will probably not mind the strange duck.
If that fails, you could try the laser cutter in that same fablab (see a trend here? I work in one..). Coat your brass evenly with etch resist, and remove the etch resist with some vector cuts along the outlines. You probably need etch resist on the backside too. Bonus points if you manage to engrave both sides with front and back aligned.

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punkhead58 (author)2010-07-02

Sheet metal shears would give a nice cut without deforming the edge  of the metal like tin snips do. They are relatively expensive, though. I personally recommend just using tin snips and then pounding out the deformations with a mallet.

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jtobako (author)2010-06-22

If you need lots of them, try a punch (think scrap-booking fancy hole punch). You can make your own (look up 'pancake die') or have one made for you at a tool-and-die shop (or by a good machinist).

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blkhawk (author)2010-06-22

A band saw for metal for curves and odd patterns and a press brake for square lines.

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Kiteman (author)2010-06-21

You'd be surprised what ordinary scissors can cut through.

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gmoon (author)2010-06-21

Try a nibbler tool, $7-$10.

And they don't deform (bend) the metal as they "nibble" it away, unlike tin snips...

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rickharris (author)2010-06-21

Jewellers saw and losf of time.

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seandogue (author)2010-06-21

Xacto. Brace the lower and upper sides of the material near to the cut to reduce or eliminate local buckling.

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