I have a project that entails cutting thin copper sheeting.
There are small radii, too small and tight for snips.
I was thinking about using 2 pcs of plywood to sandwich
the copper with.
Has anyone had experience cutting it this way ?
Is there a metal cutting blade for a scroll saw ?
A woodworking blade should be able to cut thin copper. Sandwiching it
sounds like a good idea, assuming you use 1/4" or less plywood, although
probably not absolutely needed.
I have done quite a bit of copper tooling. That's 5 mil thick. Don't know
how thick yours is, but hefty scissors worked for me, and even a paper
cutter will give you nice results on very thin stuff.
Copper is easy to work with. I'd try some scissors.
Some of the holes are 1/2 in dia. I've tried aircraft snips & it's a
hard cutting corners without leaving a saw-tooth edge.
The copper sheeting is a little thicker than a manila folder. I don't
what the thickness is. May use a gauge tomorrow to check it.
Ideally, a scroll saw would be nice, but I'm not sure if there is a
metal cutting blade to use.
> Some of the holes are 1/2 in dia. I've tried aircraft snips & it's a
> hard cutting corners without leaving a saw-tooth edge.
> The copper sheeting is a little thicker than a manila folder. I don't
> what the thickness is. May use a gauge tomorrow to check it.
> Ideally, a scroll saw would be nice, but I'm not sure if there is a
> metal cutting blade to use.
Using your idea, create a sandwich using 9 ply Birch (1/2) and the
copper sheet using screws around the perimeter to hold thing firmly
Drill 1/4 holes thru the 1/2 holes described above.
(Makes turning the piece relative to the blade MUCH easier)
Use a scroll saw with a standard wood blade (about 8-10 TPI) to cut out
the pattern the same way my landlord makes temporary tooling to die cut
gaskets using 5/8 Birch ply.
Don't rush, this is a time consuming task.<G>
When finished, trash the blade if it has become dull which is doubtful.
A scroll saw/jeweller's saw will work just fine - been there, done that (used
to cut out blanks from copper sheet for enamelling). Make yourself a base out
of a wee board with a keyhole shaped cutout (hard wood) that you can clamp to a
table or screw down on a bench, then cut the copper on that. No need for the
there is little difference between cutting soft metals and wood. All you
need is more teeth per inch and more time.
What is wrong with a metal cutting scroll saw blade?
I used to have some metal blades for my ancient Delta. They might be
if the cuts are for interior curves, i.e. the disk is discarded and
where the disk was cut from is the finished product, rough cut or drill
out and then use a small drum sander on a hand grinder and grind to your
I've done some really intricate patterns in thin copper using a bandsaw
with a thin blade. Enclosed cuts were done on a scroll saw. If you are
making multiples of the same pattern, a sandwich is the way to go. I
found that I could make a sandwich with four sheets of copper and five
sheets of luan/doorskin/etc. My favorite way of keeping everything
together was using a low grab spray adhesive like 3M 77. Coat all
surfaces. If your pattern is delicate, don't pry the sandwich apart.
Instead throw the sandwich in a container of thinner and let the
thinner dissolve the adhesive. Works like a charm.
Why would you need more than a top and bottom sheet of plywood? More
than that seems wasteful. The only sheets that will get deformed by
the cutting action are the top and bottom sheets of copper.
I can see using the spray and solvent for small pieces, but if they're
too big to fit in say a cereal bowl, that also seems wasteful and I
avoid solvents whenever possible.
Whenever I've had to cut multiples I've used a top and bottom sheet of
cheap paneling or plywood, screwed the sandwich together in waste areas
and clamped the perimeter if it's large.
The tight radii should be drilled out to the exact size so there's no
need to run the saw into the tightest part of the curves. Bimetal hole
saw for anything over 1/2".
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