How to find a local supplier for wooden hexagons

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I am looking for a source from which to purchase bulk wood hexagons cut from 3/4-inch MDF that are 3.5 inches across (which I think means that each side must be one (1) inch. I need these parts to be extremely precise so I cannot just take my jigsaw and cut them by hand. I think I remember reading somewhere that there is a tool/accessory that some woodworkers have that allows them to cut exact duplicate shapes from 4X8 sheets??
What should I ask potential suppliers that will allow me to pick the supplier that can produce the most precise pieces at the lowest cost??
I am in Des Moines and think that a local supplier would be best (if I can find one) due to shipping costs but am open to other nearby areas if I cannot find someone local.
Thanks for your help.
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net (in snipped-for-privacy@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com) said:
| I am looking for a source from which to purchase bulk wood hexagons | cut from 3/4-inch MDF that are 3.5 inches across (which I think | means that each side must be one (1) inch. I need these parts to | be extremely precise so I cannot just take my jigsaw and cut them | by hand. I think I remember reading somewhere that there is a | tool/accessory that some woodworkers have that allows them to cut | exact duplicate shapes from 4X8 sheets??
How precise?
| What should I ask potential suppliers that will allow me to pick the | supplier that can produce the most precise pieces at the lowest | cost??
How much?
| I am in Des Moines and think that a local supplier would be best | (if I can find one) due to shipping costs but am open to other | nearby areas if I cannot find someone local.
Is I-80 exit 110 (DeSoto) 16 miles west of Des Moine sufficiently local? If so, you're invited to stop by.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto /
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Newsgroups: rec.woodworking
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2005 03:19:50 -0500 Local: Tues,Jul 5 2005 4:19 am Subject: Re: How to find a local supplier for wooden hexagons
snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net (in 1120538847.493449.258...@g49g2­000cwa.googlegroups.com) said:
| I am looking for a source from which to purchase bulk wood hexagons | cut from 3/4-inch MDF that are 3.5 inches across (which I think | means that each side must be one (1) inch. I need these parts to | be extremely precise so I cannot just take my jigsaw and cut them | by hand. I think I remember reading somewhere that there is a | tool/accessory that some woodworkers have that allows them to cut | exact duplicate shapes from 4X8 sheets ??

Seamless?? 1/32. Each piece is going to be painted and then 34 pieces will be put together to form a whole picture. Kinda like a jigsaw puzzle excpet not exactly as the pieces will not interlock. So they must fit together seamlessly.
| What should I ask potential suppliers that will allow me to pick the | supplier that can produce the most precise pieces at the lowest | cost ??

:) Well, yes. I actually got that one myself. What else should I ask??
| I am in Des Moines and think that a local supplier would be best | (if I can find one) due to shipping costs but am open to other | nearby areas if I cannot find someone local .

Absolutely. Anywhere within an hour's drive is definitely in the zone.
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Roamdog (in snipped-for-privacy@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com) said:
|| How precise? | Seamless?? 1/32. Each piece is going to be painted and then 34 | pieces will be put together to form a whole picture. Kinda like a | jigsaw puzzle excpet not exactly as the pieces will not interlock. | So they must fit together seamlessly.
Duck soup. I have a CNC router that can cut hexagons from a full sheet at a time. With a 1/8" bit there'll be minimal waste but maximum cutting time (~100 pieces/hr). A larger bit will provide smoother cuts and reduced cutting time (~200-350 pieces/hour), but more waste. It's less expensive to have a wider kerf because MDF costs less than either machine or human time.
FWIW, 1/32" off won't exactly look "seamless". Will you want a "frame" for the picture? How about a shipping/storage box?
|| What should I ask potential suppliers that will allow me to pick || the supplier that can produce the most precise pieces at the lowest || cost ?? | || How much? | :) Well, yes. I actually got that one myself. What else should I | ask??
You'll need to clearly specify what you want, how many you want, and when you want the parts. These factors will influence price. Schedule a visit to the shop and allow time to discuss what you're doing. Ask to see a sample of similar work. Ask about lead times and volume pricing (if applicable). Ask for their suggestions to improve your parts/price/lead time.
|| I am in Des Moines and think that a local supplier would be best || (if I can find one) due to shipping costs but am open to other || nearby areas if I cannot find someone local . | || Is I-80 exit 110 (DeSoto) 16 miles west of Des Moines sufficiently || local? If so, you're invited to stop by. | Absolutely. Anywhere within an hour's drive is definitely in the | zone.
You can follow the link below to find contact info and a map. My shop is easy to recognize: it has a big solar heating panel on the south wall (facing I-80) and an orange wind sock over the north wall. Be alert for vertical traffic.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto /
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Thank you so much for your patience and for your informative reply. I will try to get over your way on Saturday.
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Duck soup. I have a CNC router that can cut hexagons from a full sheet at a time. With a 1/8" bit there'll be minimal waste but maximum cutting time (~100 pieces/hr). A larger bit will provide smoother cuts and reduced cutting time (~200-350 pieces/hour), but more waste. It's less expensive to have a wider kerf because MDF costs less than either machine or human time.

you note, a small amount of waste is more cost efficient since the material is way less expensive than the labor.
FWIW, 1/32" off won't exactly look "seamless". Will you want a "frame" for the picture? How about a shipping/storage box?

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Roamdog (in snipped-for-privacy@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com) said:
Your nntp client is reversing the quoting. %-)
| Duck soup. I have a CNC router that can cut hexagons from a full | sheet at a time. With a 1/8" bit there'll be minimal waste but | maximum cutting time (~100 pieces/hr). A larger bit will provide | smoother cuts and reduced cutting time (~200-350 pieces/hour), but | more waste. It's less expensive to have a wider kerf because MDF | costs less than either machine or human time. ||| How large a bit (is a kerf the same thing as a bit?) would you ||| recommend? As you note, a small amount of waste is more cost ||| efficient since the material is way less expensive than the ||| labor.
You need to see some samples so /you/ can make that decision. As usual, these choices involve trade-offs that only you can make. I'll let you look at similar parts cut with 1/8", 1/4", and 1/2" bits (most of the difference in smoothness results from flexing of the bit.)
A /kerf/ is the cut or channel made by a saw. I've used the term here because of the similarity of result. A /bit/ is the (usually replaceable) cutting part of a tool.
| FWIW, 1/32" off won't exactly look "seamless". Will you want a | "frame" for the picture? How about a shipping/storage box? ||| What do I need for a "seamless" look? Can your machine do that? ||| I will not need a frame. May consider a storage box--had not ||| thought about that.
If you're going to visit the shop Saturday I'll do "show-n-tell" with some samples.
[Just so that nobody feels left out, nearly everything Roamdog will see and handle has appeared at one time or another on either a.b.p.w. or my web site - and visitors to the shop are always welcome.]
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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A kerf is made by anything that cuts, not necessarily a saw. Your use was correct.

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Can you tell me how many hexes would be produced with the 1/8 or the 1/4 or the 1/2 bits? I am guessing that there is not a tremendous difference in number?
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Hey Morris - I hope that you are OK? Can you give me a call about my hexagons? I have left you a couple of voicemails and a couple of emails (not sure if my emails are even getting to you though).
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On 4 Jul 2005 21:47:27 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

This is likely another troll. However, I'll bite:
1. Precision is a measure. HOW precise? 2. No woodworking tool can cut *exact* measurements, especially by repetition. Also, MDF is essentially a paper product, so you will get "tear" even if you have to use a microscope to see it; far moreso than with a machined metal surface. 3. Again, precision is relative. You can be out 1/4" if measuring over a mile, but would want much less absolute error in such small pieces. 4. What purpose? It would help in order to suggest possible variations.
P.S. Don't use "wood" and "MDF" in the same sentence.
Back to the "purpose": Since you do not know the measure of the "side" [edge], what purpose is it needed for with such "precision"? Assuming that you mean distance from edge to opposite edge, and not diagonal, the distance across one edge would be 2 3/16", not 1".
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Snip

Actually I am getting two possible measurements for the length of each of the 6 sides. If the hexagon has to fit inside of a 3.5" diameter circle the sides will each be 1.75" long. If the hexagon has to fit outside of a 3.5" diameter circle the sides will each be 2" long.
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On Tue, 05 Jul 2005 14:46:21 GMT, "Leon"

That's why I said, "Assuming that you mean distance from edge to opposite edge", rather than "diagonal."
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wrote:

The measurement could be determined in two ways. If the hexagon has to fit inside of a 3.5" diameter circle the widest part of the hexagon would be measured from opposite points at the end of opposite sides. That distance being 3.5" and a result of the 6 sides each being 1.75" long. If the hexagon has to fit outside of a 3.5" circle the narrowest part of the hexagon would be the 3.5" measurement between opposite sides and would result in the 6 sides being 2" long.
None the less, I an buffaloed as to how you came up with your numbers. Which edge are you talking about. My 2 answers came from measuring the length of each resulting side whether the hexagon fits inside or outside of a 3.5" diameter circle. I am genuinely interested in how you are picturing the measurement to come up with a side being 2-3/16".
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This is likely another troll. However, I'll bite:

1. Precision is a measure. HOW precise?

1/32. Each piece is going to be painted and then 34 pieces will be put together to form a whole picture. Kinda like a jigsaw puzzle excpet not exactly as the pieces will not interlock. So they must fit together seamlessly.
2. No woodworking tool can cut *exact* measurements, especially by repetition. Also, MDF is essentially a paper product, so you will get "tear" even if you have to use a microscope to see it; far moreso than with a machined metal surface.

shapes from 4X8 sheets with extremely small variance? I am almost sure I remember somebody telling me about a tool that did this (the name or brand may begin with a "C"?). I should have been more clear about "precise". I definitely do NOT need microscopic tolerance.
3. Again, precision is relative. You can be out 1/4" if measuring over a mile, but would want much less absolute error in such small pieces.
4. What purpose? It would help in order to suggest possible variations.

P.S. Don't use "wood" and "MDF" in the same sentence.

Back to the "purpose": Since you do not know the measure of the "side" [edge], what purpose is it needed for with such "precision"? Assuming that you mean distance from edge to opposite edge, and not diagonal, the distance across one edge would be 2 3/16", not 1".

important that each piece be "exactly" the same and a bit less important whether the edge is 1, 1.75 or 2. After re-thinking, I probably need each edge to be 2 inches.
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wrote:

important that each piece be "exactly" the same and a bit less important whether the edge is 1, 1.75 or 2. After re-thinking, I probably need each edge to be 2 inches.
OK, I'll apologise for thinking it was another troll, but it wasn't a large jump considering the content of what are trolls.
Here's the little I know about woodworking: Making a 'round' topped toy-box/cedar chest a while back, each strip had to be the same [precise] length, width over that length, and cut of angle to go together to form the top. That's the theory. In practice, I could not simply set the saw and cut all off in one go, but had to cut each one individually, "fiddling" to get it right [not your usual bang-it-together and that will do type of project.] You simply will not cut a mess of hexagons, that is 34 times 6 = 204 cuts, each *precisely* the same without a lot of concentrated effort, and some waste, and that is serious time and money. You again use the word "exactly", and it is not going to happen. However, anything can be done if you consider time, waste, and cost, so happy hunting.
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What are you willing to pay for these pieces?

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As little as possible. Not sure yet what the appropriate range should be.
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I might be interested as I do this type of small part production and shipping type work.

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OK. If the edges of the hexes are exactly 2 inches, how many hexes can you get from two 4X8 sheets of 3/4 MDF? How precise? Can you sand the hexes? How much ($$) total to produce? How much to ship to zip code 50325 (or if you are within 50 miles, I can pick up)?
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