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Thread: Cutting Thick Brass Plates

  1. #1
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    Default Cutting Thick Brass Plates

    Hello!

    I am planning to cut out rounded shapes from 3 mm thick brass plates and am looking for advise regarding tools. I've seen videos where people use jewelers saws/fretsaws to cut brass sheets, but these are only between 0,5 - 1,5 mm thick so I was wondering if a jewelers saw would be sufficient, or perhaps it would but not very practical or efficient. And if it is the right tool for the job, what type of blades would you recommend?

    I do also have a Dremel with metal cutting discs, but these are obviously not well suited for rounded shapes. I could make many small, straight cuts and then file it down to the final shape, but this seems quite cumbersome. And since brass is pretty soft I worry those discs would get clogged up pretty fast and I would have to go through a whole bunch of them before it's done.

    So, what would you use for a job like this?

  2. #2
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    Depends on how many you need. If you're looking at large numbers, blanking, water jet or laser (need to check this - there may be issues with cutting brass due to zinc fuming).

    Smaller numbers, I'd use a jewellers saw; I tend to use 2/0 or 4/0 with 5mm steel, but a) the finer the blade, the slower the cutting (and the faster it blunts) and b) it takes a little practice to develop the skill and you'll probably want to refine them with a file.

    I wouldn't use the Dremel discs, they're not great on non-ferrous. And the dust is horrific...

  3. #3
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    To add to what Peter has said above, you will need:

    A basic jewellers saw frame and good quality blades for metal, either Vallorbe, or Bergeon, and a horizontal bench peg with a V shaped cut out, to rest your metal on.
    The blades are inserted into the frame facing outwards, with the teeth pointing towards the handle. The tension obtained by pressing on the frame should give an inbetween note, not the highest, nor the lowest when the blade is plucked.

    The biggest problem for beginners is frequently broken blades, so its best to start with the heavier blade 2/0 and apply candle wax or bees wax to the smooth side (the back) quite frequently.

    The cutting stroke is downwards, with only just enough pressure to maintain contact. Blades break when you loose concentration from fatigue or boredom, and press too hard or lean the frame to one side, or tug at it when the blade sticks.

    To mark out disks without damaging the surface use a circle template and a scriber. As Peter has indicated, cut close to, but outside the scribed mark, and file back to the scribed line accurately as possible with a hand file. Dennis.
    Last edited by Dennis; 25-10-2021 at 01:24 PM.

  4. #4
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    If you had access to a pillar drill and dont need lots of them, you could use a boring head in the chuck and trepan them out.

  5. #5
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    Trepanning would only be if they are circular discs.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by china View Post
    Trepanning would only be if they are circular discs.
    Ah yeah you're right I read it as round not rounded shapes !!

  7. #7
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    Oct 2021
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    To add to what Peter has said above, you will need:

    A basic jewellers saw frame and good quality blades for metal, either Vallorbe, or Bergeon, and a horizontal bench peg with a V shaped cut out, to rest your metal on.
    The blades are inserted into the frame facing outwards, with the teeth pointing towards the handle. The tension obtained by pressing on the frame should give an inbetween note, not the highest, nor the lowest when the blade is plucked.

    The biggest problem for beginners is frequently broken blades, so its best to start with the heavier blade 2/0 and apply candle wax or bees wax to the smooth side (the back) quite frequently.

    The cutting stroke is downwards, with only just enough pressure to maintain contact. Blades break when you loose concentration from fatigue or boredom, and press too hard or lean the frame to one side, or tug at it when the blade sticks.

    To mark out disks without damaging the surface use a circle template and a scriber. As Peter has indicated, cut close to, but outside the scribed mark, and file back to the scribed line accurately as possible with a hand file. Dennis.
    Thanks for the in-depth reply. However, I looked into som Vallorbe and Bergeon grade 2/0 blades and Cooksongold says on the product page of those blades that 2/0 is "recommended for cutting metal: 0.6mm to 0.8mm thick". Now, obviously not all types of metal are created equal and I know brass is pretty soft compared to something like steel, so perhaps this isn't an issue, even though the brass I intend to cut is almost 4 times as thick?

  8. #8
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    TBH, the recommended thickness is usually down to the rule of 3 teeth in the cut - which is a minimum only. You can quite happily have more teeth in the cut - hence my using 4/0 on 5mm.

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