Mostly metalworker needs woodworking advice...

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I dabble a little in wood now and then, but I'm mostly a metal guy.
I unfortunately have a project that requires me to produce a large number (hundreds) of nominal 1.5" - 2" dia x .5" - .625" thick wood disks probably from a decent hardwood. End grain should be on the side of the disk.
I need to figure out a way to produce these disks in an efficient manner and with good surface finishes. They can't have a center hole. A regular hole saw (without the usual pilot drill) in my mill gives a lousy finish on the outside of the disk and very inefficient disk removal from the hole saw.
Any single point cutter like the adjustable circle cutters or a CNC router will mangle the disk when it breaks free at the bottom of the cut without an elaborate vacuum clamping system. Leaving the cut just shy of the bottom and then running the sheet through a thickness planer might free the pieces, but I'm not sure that a thickness planer can handle feeding the loose 1.5" pieces on the outfeed and keeping them from flying up into the cutter.
I see all sorts of cheap little wooden toy wheels and whatnot so there has to be an efficient way to produce these, but I'm not sure what it is.
Help!
Thanks,
    Pete C.
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Why wouldn't the circle cutting jig work? Just put a backer board behind it.
brian
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brianlanning wrote:

As soon as the disk breaks free, with the cutter circling around it will shift to the side and jam mangling the edge (yes I tried it). The same happens with CNC router, once the disk is free it jams and mangles (tried that too). Only some sort of vacuum clamp below might fix that problem.
Pete C.
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Did you try double-sided tape?
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Sergey Kubushin wrote:

No, but it doesn't sound too practical for the volume I need. For a dozen sure, but for a few hundred...
Thanks,
    Pete C.
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If you cut the circles from longer strips of wood, then double sided tape shouldn't take too much time. Just run a wide strip down a backer board and press your stock onto it. If you use a large plug cutter in a drill press you should be able to step across the board cutting out disks, and pop them off when you are done.
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Double sided tape will hold it. Another way to go when routing is to leave a tool tab connecting the piece. Just break the tab when finshed and sand off. If it was me, I'd do it on the lathe. Got a CNC lathe that can feed 1 5/8" stock through the spindle with a bar feeder.

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CW wrote:

No big CNC lathe and the dowel would have the grain in the wrong direction.
The biggest problem is the volume I need, too large for fully manual production and too small to justify building a fully automated setup. Sanding tabs adds labor that makes it less practical.
Thanks,
    Pete C.
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How about this?
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pB292&cat=1,180,42288
No center hole, should release easier than a hole saw.
brian
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brianlanning wrote:

Those look good. They are similar to the single tooth carbide hole saws I was looking at.
Thanks,
    Pete C.
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You could either use a backer board, or cut 1/2" deep into a 3/4" board, then resaw them off. If you go the resaw route, you'd have a rough side that would need to be sanded, but the other side would look good. Maybe that's enough? Or you could probably just go all the way through.
I didn't realize you could get plug cutters that big.
brian
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Just thinking out loud. Make a dowel the right diameter. Slice of the disks. Drop them into a plate that has the same size holes as the dowel. Run through a stroke sander. Or make a simple vacuum sled that holds dozens and run through a planer.
Dave
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Teamcasa wrote:

I thought of something similar, but all the dowels I've seen have the grain along the axis which is opposite of what I need.
Thanks,
    Pete C.
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Dave
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Teamcasa wrote:

In order to turn a dowel with the grain running perpendicular to the axis either the dowel wound be very short or the raw stock would have to be from a huge tree. I'm also not equipped to turn 2" dia dowels very efficiently.
Thanks,
    Pete C.
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Pete C. wrote:

What about masking tape across the disks (on the underside as it goes through the planer) so they don't get sucked up?
Chris
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Chris Friesen wrote:

That might work, but a vacuum tray might be more practical for production. Problem is I don't have a thickness planer to experiment with so that would be a $200 investment for a cheap one to test the idea.
I'd like to know how the very common toy wheels are being produced, the volume is clearly huge so there must be some good trick to it.
Thanks,
    Pete C.
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Lathe.

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CW wrote:

I'd like to see a pic of the production setup. The toy wheels are profiled on both sides so I wonder how they are holding the stock.
Pete C.

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Do one side, turn it around and do the other.

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