Help: How to Make a Gang Saw

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Searcher7 wrote: ...

30 x 0.156 (5/32") --> ~15/16*5 is the width of the grooves alone--it would take twice that to have 30 slots plus the same distance between them.
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Ok, I did some checking and apparently ".156 on center." means the trace in combination with a space is .156.
Therefore .078" is the actual size that my metal strips will have to be.
Thanks.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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Searcher7 wrote: ...

Yes, that's a different measurement entirely.
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    [ ... ]
    I've been staying out of your threads for a while, because I was working on getting carpel tunnel syndrome just from the typing to *you*.
    But -- I feel that I *have* to speak up here.

    *Don't* even consider using BeCu (Beryllium Copper) in your apartment (which is where you were working last I knew), or even in a normal shop without specialized air and coolant control.
    BeCu can result in serious lung damage -- starting about ten years or so after you work with it. Slitting saws would produce fine particles which could become airborne. Even the zero-loss techniques generate a bit of this. The Phosphor Bronze, however, is quite safe to work with.

    What is the minimum length which you need? With the slitting saws (special milling cutters with spacers on an arbor), the best way that I can think of is double sided tape holding it to a sacrificial metal plate, and a stack of milling cutters on an arbor with spacers to put them the right distance apart. You can't work with things as thin as you want to use without some kind of control such as that from double sided tape. The maximum length will be determined by the travel of the horizontal mill's table. (And I personally don't think that you can get even a small one upstairs to your apartment. The small Nichols production mill which I have weighs about 1100 pounds, and needs three phase power.
    However -- an earlier suggestion which you just tossed away would really be the better way to do it.
    Two shafts containing alternate small and large diameter disks of hardened steel. The upper shaft will have the large disc where the lower shaft has the small one and vice versa. The thickness of the disks is the width which you wish for the metal strips. The two are geared to rotate opposite directions, so they pull in on one side, and press out on the other. This acts as a large number of scissors, cutting the thin metal into many strips at once. I can tell you about one on a small scale made to trim Kroy labels down to a desired width from wider tape which is feed through the printing machine.
    The one I have is rather old, so I don't know whether the model number is still valid, but go to a quality graphic arts supply store and look for a "Kroy Tape Trimmer" part number "1335000". It was made to work with older Kroy machines, but I use it with an electronic label maker from Kory.

    This suggests that you design the strips to match the width of standard milling cutters (the wheels which stack on arbors, not end mills for a vertical mill). The cutters are expensive, and you'll have to buy a number of them to stack on the arbor. The cutters are available in a number of standard thicknesses, and better to get those than to try to modify some to get a non-standard dimension.

    They are available (for milling arbors) in a number of thicknesses, including made of shim stock. Determine the needed spacing, and find out what the minimum number of sheets of standard shim stock thicknesses will be to build up the thickness you need. There are punches to cut the OD and the ID with the keyway from shim stock of reasonable thicknesses.

    What material are you planning to cut? If glass epoxy, you'll need carbide to avoid needing to re-sharpen ever pass or two. Many other plastics will last for a long time.
    And since these cutters all need to be the same diameter for it to work properly, don't expect to be able to sharpen them and keep such consistency -- unless you also invest in a tool and cutter grinder, and work on all of the cutters in a single batch.
    Go to some web site like MSC and look for the prices of the milling cutters and slitting saws. I forget what the width you wanted is, but a 3/16" (0.1875") wide cutter costs $49.41 *each*, and 5/32" (0.1563") cost $98.21 *each*.
    The thinner slitting saws appear to be mostly carbide these days, and go for well over $200.00 each.

    It is not going to work well with material as thin as you plan, unless you double-sided tape to a sacrificial plate for each run.

    I'm dropping back out of the thread now.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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Sorry about that. I've read several books and most of the usuble information I still know I got from you in those past thread, along with many others I've seen you post in.

Thanks there was some disagreement in another thread when I mentioned this and was told that "Beryllium Oxide" was the culprit. But I bought some Easi-Air 7255 High Efficiency filters just in case. Nevertheless, Phosphor-Bronze is what I'll stick to. Thanks again

Perhaps 3/4", but cutting the strips to length is the easy part. I just have to turn the sheep or coil stock into strips first.
I copied your thoughts to go over again, but will try again to answer everyone in one shot all the way down at the very bottom...

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Ok, there are 28 traces on each side of this fingerboard which is
plugged into a JAMMA connector:
http://arcadecontrols.com/BBBB/splicer.jpg
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Glad someone pointed it to save me the trouble.
Anything containing Be is hazardous. If you cut your finger, easy with thin newly cut strip, you require specialist treatment from your doctor and it can take months to heal.
The company I used to work for, which did a small amount of work with BeCu, (spring electrical contact fingers) had a special room and a complete set of tools which could only be used in that room and only for use with BeCu.
Even disposing of the waste was a PITA. It had to go back to the supplier and special transport documentation was required.
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On Thu, 12 Feb 2009 21:47:20 +0000 (GMT), Stuart

So when USAF drops dumb bombs they are polluting (safety clips are Beryllium Copper) I find that slightly amusing. But then again full metal jacket ain't clean either.
Mark
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You can purchase flat, square or shaped (profile) wire that has been drawn or formed for you (in many materials): http://www.radcliffwire.com/capabilities.asp http://www.unitedwirecompany.com/flatwire/index.htm If you can properly fixture the wires, you might be able to hot press the wires in a thermoplastic or pot them using an epoxy compound.
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While you obviously have a clear understanding of your finished work - we do not share that advantage.
Instead of asking how to create a gang saw, it migh prove more helpful to first try and share details of your objectives.
It is possible to create an "indexing jig (INCRA comes to mind) that might allow for thirty repeated cuts.
But I would like to know the result you are trying to achieve e.g. a 1/4" thick sheet of plastic five inches square with 30 evenly-spaced grooves each 1/64" deep and 1/64" wide centered on the material ETC. ETC. How many peices you need to produce would also help
As to the metal strips, the length, width and thickness would help.
I have seen strips of brass, copper steel and aluminum at Ace and (well-stocked) Hobby stores. It might well be true that teh company that makes this material could supply you with a roll of material of the desired width and thickness leaving you with only the grooving task.
If, I understand our goal/objective the grooves are but deep enough to accommodate a thin sliver of metal (inlaid!?), I have seen small cutter wheels (2 - 2.5" dia) that could be mounted on a keyed shaft in such a way as to allow you a "ganged" saw without the "flexing" issues suggested in anther's reply. And, a combination of indexing and fewer (15?) cutting wheels that could allow you room to add a support arbor in the center of the "gang" to reduce the potential of "flexing" still further.
While the $20,000 laser cutting setup is simply out of the question, that forum might allow you to "meet" someone with that (or and even "better" system willing to fabricate your part at a most reasonable price - espeacially good option if its a "one off" or only a few are needed.
Good luck
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Several people have tried to tell you cut the thin stuff with a rolling shear or a tool like a Kett shear. A slitter would also give you long controlled cuts. I don't know what PCB traces are, so it leaves me a bit in the dark. Here is one that will cut 5/32 strips 4 at a time, depending on your material: http://www.earthguild.com/products/rug/stripcut.htm if your blades are set up really well, the same saw set up could cut the groove and the inlays, but it will waste a lot of your PCB trace material.
The gang saw part sounds strange, but one idea that comes to mind would be to use woodworking slot cutter router bit blades. There is one listed at 5/32 = .15625.
http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/smarthtml/pages/bt_slot.html
I think most any other idea would require custom made blades to get the width slot you seek. The next problem would be the spacers, but standard washers come to mind to start. The shaft and the driving motor are another matter. The proper size drill rod sized to the slot cutter's bore might make an arbor. It would need a stop collar and I would think you could cut threads for a nut to pressure the blades. A pillow block at each end or even the shaft mounted in hard wood blocks for experimenting might work. As others have said, at some point there will be too much flex in the shaft. Might be driven by pulley and small motor or even run directly by router or drill. Just a few thoughts to get you started. I assume you are talking about some shallow grooves.
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Look at http://www.woodmastertools.com The planer\molder\sander is also a gang saw.
I have an 18" unit with 7hp motor. I have run up to 7 blades cutting pine and you don't even hear a difference in the motor sound when it is cutting. You will likely need to make a custom attachment if you need to get the blades closer than about 1 1\4". The blades slide on a shaft and have a collar that is about 5/8" each side of the blade but I have made custom attachments and just used thrust washers between blades and you can get them as close as you want.
You can find these units used some times on craigs or eBay.

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