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Sorry this answer took so long but here it goes!I actually haven't made an inlay with wire outside the 14 to 18 gauge range and I don't have plans to make another one any time soon. Perhaps some time in the future?As for the epoxy... I prefer working with metal inlays as epoxy has been temperamental with me (bubbles, uneven mix, peeling away from the wood, particles getting trapped in it). Plus I know how to get a great shine out of metal and I have no idea how to get a mirror finish out of epoxy.
Here is the mill:https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00866KZAK/ref=p...I got it because it was the cheapest one I could find lol. Mind the weight.The laser cutter I used was very big. Something like this https://www.bosslaser.com/boss-ls-4055.html?keywor...Does it need to be that big? I can't answer that. I was able (with some playing around) to cut through half inch red oak once if that helps. It won't replace your saws, though.
A cnc in theory should work just fine provided you can get a bit the right size for your wire or vice versa.
It sounds like you want to adjust your voids to your wire and not the other way around.In my inlays, I instead adjust my wire to the voids I cut. For example, if I know I have 14 gauge wire I will make my void thinner than 14 gauge.With that said, I actually have no idea how thick your voids should be. I only know that they should be smaller than 14 gauge. I recommend that you adjust your wire to the void like I do but I know that may be difficult without the right equipment. Beyond that, I recomend you experiment with cheap wood. That's what I do.Hope that helps.
Yes I have. I've only done it this way so far because I like the color. I'm not sure I can make solder shine as well but I suppose I'll give it a try some time in the future.
I have seen people "cleaning" metal with a laser cutter, though in reality they are just burning away a layer of whatever was on the metal (in the cases I've witnessed I think it was paint and rust). Not really cleaning but if there is something flammable covering the metal I suppose it won't be there much longer.
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I suppose you could clean wire this way but it would be a very inefficient way to clean. You have program a path for the laser cutter to follow and it would only follow that path. You would also have to place your wire in that exact same path. Also also, the focal point of the laser is a very fine point (forgive me if I don't know how small :p). It's reaaaaally tiny. The best analogy I can think of is that it's like blindfolding someone and making him clean a floor with a toothbrush. Is it possible? Sure. Will it take forever? Yes. Will it be inaccurate if you gave the machine even the tinniest of nudges? Absolutely. I prefer cleaning the wire with some steel wool.
If you hammer it all the way in, you would have to get rid of some wood with the sander and then the metal to make it flush. By letting it stick out a little, you only have to sand the metal flush to the wood. I do this because it takes less time and I keep the dimensions of my piece more consistent that way.
I haven't worked with nickel so it could be what makya has said; that it is oxidizing. There are some color changes in my projects that I just kind of accept. I don't really have an idea how to avoid the color change as in my experience, any staining or treating of any kind almost completely goes away while sanding. Maybe try something that would plug up those pores in the wood? Let me know if you get past this issue.
I think your asking why I didn't explain how to use the laser cutter for this method, right? Well that's because learning how to use a laser cutter is a whole 'nother instructable. How you make the void is up to you. That said, I'm thinking of making another instructable about how to use a laser cutter but those are a dime in a dozen...
How I Make Cool Metal InlaysView Instructable »