Working with brass - tools

Sheet Metal Fabrication techniques, questions and help. "Tricks of the Trade"

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johnny
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Working with brass - tools

Post by johnny » Mon Feb 02, 2004 1:27 am

Folks,
What hand tools or electric hand-held power tools are best for cutting .040 inch and 1/8 inch thick brass sheeting and 1/8 inch? Most of the cuts will be straight lines, but there will be a few curved lines also with about ½ inch radius. Its for a 7.5 “ gauge locomotive tender. I don’t own a shear machine or have access to laser or plasma cutters, but have time and patience. Thanks,
Johnny

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Roy
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Re: Working with brass - tools

Post by Roy » Mon Feb 02, 2004 10:31 am

I would tend to believe a bandsaw would be fine. Lacking a bandsaw I would use a jig saw or a scroll saw. Lots of jig saws and such have the ability to be slowed down a bit. I used to use my jigsaw and scroll saw for cutting brass and aluminum for odds and ends. First choice would be a bandsaw though.

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Jacin
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Re: Working with brass - tools

Post by Jacin » Mon Feb 02, 2004 11:50 am

In addition to what Roy has already suggested I would add that you might also consider a hand held Nibbler type tool. My experience with nibbler type tools is with two varieties - the SCISSOR action (either two jaws or three) the two jawed version makes quick work of things and will cut a small radius IF you're going in the "right" direction. The three fingered one cuts straight but doesn't turn real sharp. Then there's the more conventional NIBBLER type - where you punch out a series of small pieces of metal - depending on the capacity they can actually cut pretty sharp turns.
I have both types, but mine are "air" versions - they also sell electric versions as well. Kind of speciality tools, but I think it's kinda nice to have several options.

There's always the Beverly shear - (throatless shear) these are SLICKER than snot on a door knob! The Real McCoys are expensive - Harbor Fright also sells a cheap knock off - I don't know if it's worth it - but I have a "real" one and it's totally NEAT - handy as heck!!!

I have also used jig saws - I ended up putting some felt on the bottom of one to prevent the panel from being all scratched up. (you still gotta watch the chips)


Just thinking out loud........


Good Luck

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Mike_Henry
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Re: Working with brass - tools

Post by Mike_Henry » Mon Feb 02, 2004 11:22 pm

You might also want to consider a die filer if you have to form intricate patterns.
Mike, near Chicago

johnny
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Re: Working with brass - tools

Post by johnny » Tue Feb 03, 2004 1:26 pm

Roy, Jacin and Mike,
Thanks for the info. Mike, would die filer and die grinder be the same tool? They seem to be Dremel-type tools, no? It seems the challenges with any of these cutting tools is keeping the work piece steady, having some way of guiding the tool just where you want it to go (a real bear with grinders), and clearing the work table with the cutting face. I guess patience is the key here. Jacin, is there a pic of a Beverly shear anywhere? What's so nice about it? Does the "throatless" feature make sharp turns easier? Thanks again guys,
Johnny

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Roy
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Re: Working with brass - tools

Post by Roy » Tue Feb 03, 2004 8:49 pm

A die filer and die grinder are not the same animals. A die grinder is a tool which uses cutting bits that rotates them in a rotary motion, just like a dremel tool, which is a form of a die grinder.

A die filer is a tool that uses a file or other flat surfaced cutting tool in the same fashion as one would hand file an object in a back and forth or up and down motion. A die filer is easy to control but as you noticed a die greinder takes a lot of practice to keep under control. The cutting bits in a die grinder can play a large part in control of the grinder as well. A die filer is usually a stationary power tool.

johnny
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Re: Working with brass - tools

Post by johnny » Wed Feb 04, 2004 3:52 pm

Roy,
Thanks for clearing that up. I believe I saw a die filer for sale at Cabin Fever. It was a small table (about eight inches high and six inches square) with a file sticking up out of the middle that went up and down at variable speeds and you would hold the work piece against it. Does that sound like it? I didn't ask the seller for the name. I appreciate the feedback.
Johnny

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Jacin
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Re: Working with brass - tools

Post by Jacin » Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:06 pm

Hi Johnny,

I never knew how useful a beverly shear would be UNTILI got one!! Now I wouldn't be without it!!!

Here's alink to a sit ethat sells them - as you can see they are NOT cheap - so I would suggest looking for a used one. I boughtmine used and have been extremely happy with it. Harbor Fright sells them as well - but I wouldn't expect much (just a guess) - I am biased for Good American Iron (actually most any IRON that isn't made by the "sum flung dung" corporations/countries. [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/grin.gif"%20alt="[/img]

Tin Man's Beverly Shear

I guess your resources and budget will be the deciding factors [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/crazy.gif"%20alt="[/img]


I hope this helps - and sorry it took so long for a reply - I missed your comments somehow.


As for benefits - it will cuts radii (with some practice) very well. It has a great capacity in terms of it's size. The accuracy is excellent - you can cut anything from a sliver off a 1" piece or a 8ft sheet in half. Throatless means it has no predetermined length of cut - sorta like scissors - ya just keep going!!

I hope this helps

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Roy
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Re: Working with brass - tools

Post by Roy » Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:34 pm

Roy,
Thanks for clearing that up. I believe I saw a die filer for sale at Cabin Fever. It was a small table (about eight inches high and six inches square) with a file sticking up out of the middle that went up and down at variable speeds and you would hold the work piece against it. Does that sound like it? I didn't ask the seller for the name. I appreciate the feedback.
Johnny

Thats it, now you know and have seen what a die filer is. They are very nice to have if you can pick one up at a reasonable cost. I would love to havae one myself, so its on my list of items to eventually make.

I just wish there was a way I could make shear blades as I would definately love to have a nice shear. Used shears of any kind except tin snips in this area are wroth a small fortune. The local school district sold a 4' wide foot shear about 2 months ago without any blades, and it brought over $450 at auction, and it was pretty well beat up.

johnny
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Re: Working with brass - tools

Post by johnny » Tue Feb 10, 2004 1:27 am

Jacin/Roy,
Thanks again for the feedback. Too bad Santa won't be back for another ten months! Guess I'll just have to part with some long green. Sounds like they are "must have" tools, but then what tool isn't?
Johnny

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willjordan
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Re: Working with brass - tools

Post by willjordan » Fri Mar 19, 2004 7:55 pm

Thats it, now you know and have seen what a die filer is. They are very nice to have if you can pick one up at a reasonable cost. I would love to havae one myself, so its on my list of items to eventually make.

There is a company that makes castings for a very fine looking die filer. Here's a link to the filing machine castings. I have some other casting kits from him and have seen the filing kit and think his products are well worth the money.
grace & peace
will

[url=http://willjordan.com]Will's Web Pages[/url]

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Steve_in_Mich
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Re: Working with brass - tools

Post by Steve_in_Mich » Sat Mar 20, 2004 9:47 am

I saw (03/16/04) a nice little All American bench model die filer at an equipment dealers place in Standish, Mich. with a $75.00 tag on it. It didn't have a motor on it but a 56 frame 1/3 HP would bolt on the cast baseplate nicely. I suspose if a guy's bent is to build one - buying would be no fun at all.

Owner is Victor Hoffman
e-mail, hei@mich.com
1-989-846-1400
Just because you don’t believe it - doesn’t mean it’s not so.

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