Mostly metalworker needs woodworking advice...

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You could make a pattern from either wood or metal with the proper sized holes needed to use your plunge cut router with a bushing. An 1/8" (or 1/4") solid carbide up spiral and you cut cut each disk in seconds. You could take any board of the correct thickness, put the pattern on it, plunge cut out the disks to your heart's content. Put the pattern on the top of the finish material and suspend it (like between two sawhorses) so that when the piece is cut free it will simply fall out and not get beaten around inside the hole.
You could use a hole saw for the correct size of hole for the pattern and literally put fifty holes on a piece of pattern material if you wanted. Clamp it to the board are going to perforate and get after it. Carbide cut edges all the way around with the orientation you want, and those bits are cheap enough for a production job. At about 15 seconds to cut a hole, it seems like it might be easier than the time it would take for a more sophisticated (time consuming) setup. Especially if you had to setup your prodcutino arrangement each time.
15 seconds X 50 = 12.5 minutes of time for one pass. Thinking that the pattern would take literally seconds to move and clamp, you could do almost 600 or so an hour! Probably closer to 500, but hey.. if you were closer to the 1/2 (thinner) size on your target material it *could* be closer to to 600. You would have to be pleased with that.
Also, little or no sanding would mean you have a near finished product bouncing out of the hole. Put a blanket under your work as a catcher and you are "in".
The pattern would sure be easy enough to make.
Robert
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Let me modify that. Change to a downcut spiral, and the splintering (if any) would occur on the bottom side. Since you need one side only to be perfect, you could monitor the cutting of the bit easy enough by visual inspection.
Then when it was getting dull, rather than having the splintering on the up side, it would occur on the down side which could be the one you are not concerned with.
Robert
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Possibly the CNC router setup with a baseplate that has clearance holes for the disks to drop rather than a more complicated vacuum clamping setup.
Thanks,
    Pete C.
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Here's an idea, which may not be efficient, but it's cheap.
What about if you glue two pieces of wood together, with brown (grocery bag) paper in between?
Cut down to the first layer, and use a chisel to pop off the top piece. You do have to sand the paper off.
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Bruce Barnett wrote:

Efficiency (low labor) and low per piece cost are key here. Most of the ideas I've come up with either are too expensive for startup tooling for the volume of parts I need, or so labor intensive that my time would be less than min wage.
Pete C.
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On Wed, 22 Feb 2006 22:38:12 +0000, Pete C. opined:

Start with thicker stock, say 1.25 or so, barely wider than your final diameter + cutter width (2.25 or so). Cut holes _part way_ through; 0.7 deep. Run on edge through table saw with spiffy blade. The guys who cut their own screw-hole plugs can give you the details. You might have to run some tape across the tops of the partially-cut forms so they don't go hopping about when the TS frees them from the stock.
Because you're a machinist, perhaps you could cobble up a two-blade circle cutter. First blade is outboard, and cuts first (deeper). Second, inboard, blade makes the finish cut.
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Australopithecus scobis wrote:

Hmm, running the stock on edge and using the table saw a bit like the thickness planer? Let the remaining stock act as the pusher / carrier to move the disks along. That might work, I do have a table saw.
I think that a single tooth carbide hole saw will leave a good finish as long as I don't cut full depth and have the disk stick inside the saw. Should be easy enough to make a jig to run a 1x3 under the hole saw in my mill.
Thanks,
    Pete C.
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Assuming that you already have the dowel turned to the appropriate diameter, slice off slightly oversize discs. A bandsaw will waste less wood due to the thinner kerf but if you only have a chop saw then I guess you'll just have to turn a longer dowel. To clean up the rough faces, mount each disk in a drill press vise or a custom made wooden jig that will hold the little disc without letting it revolve. Mount a sanding disk in the drill press chuck, press and sand. Flip the wood disc over and repeat. If you want a really fine finish on such little pieces then repeat sand with a finer grit of paper.
No sanding disk? Make one out of steel pipe and glue sandpaper to one end of it. Chuck the other end in the drill.
As an alternative to sanding, maybe a small rosette cutter in the drill press would work for you. Since you're a metal worker you could probably fashion your own for such small diameter work.
J.
Pete C. wrote:

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John wrote:

The problem with the dowel is that the grain will be running in the wrong direction. These disks need to look good plain or with a light spray or dip finish.
Thanks,
    Pete C.
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The Pete C. entity posted thusly:

Ahh.. you had me fooled when you said "End grain should be on the side of the disk.".
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Oleg Lego wrote:

Sorry, should have said "edge".
Pete C.
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Assuming you have a >metal lathe<; Prep your stock to thickness. Cut squares 1/8 OS. Clip corners if you wanna. Stack w/ double stick tape. Chuck up a block, face & turn boss for size. Pressure turn w/ tailstock, dummy part for the TS center. Tool steel bit, w/ lots of relief. Not carbide Not sure I'd try this on a wood lathe....
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Rick Samuel wrote:

Not a bad idea. A little more labor, but the power feeds on the metal lathe mean it could cut while I assemble the next stack.
Thanks,
    Pete C.
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Pete C. (in snipped-for-privacy@snet.net) said:
| 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!
Pete...
I'd go with the CNC router. In that context "hundreds" isn't "a large number"!
If a disk need not be cut entirely from a single board, you can save time and waste less wood by gluing up panels and routing the panels rather than individual boards.
Cut the pieces free except for 0.01" (or thereabouts) at the bottom of the cut. Run the workpiece upside down through a wide-belt thickness _sander_ and remove 0.01". The freed workpieces will be captured in the scrap and have good finish on (at least) the sanded side.
If you don't cut all the way through the board/panel, a simple vacuum clamping system will work quite well. I use shop-made "pucks" and a recycled refrigerator compressor for exactly this kind of work in my shop (my last comparable run cut hexagons rather than circles; but it's essentially the same problem).
You can also use a simple mechanical clamping system as your cutting program knows where the clamps are. :-)
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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Morris Dovey wrote:

I don't have the sander, so I think I'll try the table saw idea. I only need a nice finish on the edges and one side so light saw marks on the bottom won't be an issue.
Thanks,
    Pete C.
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try www.bearwood.com. they may be able to do what you need.
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Pete C. wrote:

Seems to me that you need a giant plug cutter and a drill press. These folks have cutters in the size range you want but I don't know if they would work as there is no picture... http://wtwchgo.com/plug_cutters.htm
Assuming they are similar to smaller plug cutters, it would seem easiest to me to drill to your .625 depth in 3/4 (or a bit less) stock then release them with a large belt/drum sander.
Another way - a PITA way - would be to glue together square pieces of appropriate size, turn the result on a lathe and cut apart.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
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dadiOH wrote:

I think the plug cutter or single tooth hole saw in the mill is the way to go. Very easy to make a guide jig with a pneumatic clamp if needed and just manually index a 1x3 along cutting the plugs to the appropriate depth. The idea of using the table saw (which I already have) to release the plugs seems like it may be the most efficient way to go. Hopefully the weather will be a bit better this weekend and I'll be able to do some tests in the shop.
Thanks,
    Pete C.
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Pete C. wrote:

Hole saw with a spring to eject the blanks, to cut oversize blanks.
Then hold the blanks for finishing one at a time in the lathe, between a wooden pad on a faceplate or chucked, and a rolling center with pad. Headstock pad could be rubber faced, sandpaper faced, double-sided tape faced for friction.
Finishing of the blanks in the lathe could be by several methods. Router held on carriage, cutting with end of flat bit. Disk sander held on carriage. HSS tool bit might work, but you'd need a huge amount of back rake to make it cut rather than scrape. Scraping might work with some woods, but would likely give you tearout as you're going from end grain to flat grain.
Guess you'll have to experiment to find what works best.
John Martin
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