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View Full Version : What type of DIY machine could do this?



Pieter Swart
05-13-2017, 8:15 AM
Hi Guys, I am wondering,
I want to make some really flashy business cards for my wife... as a handy guy, I would rather try to build something and do it myself than to go find someone else to do it.
Check out this picture and let me know your thoughts.

Bare in mind, I am trying to it on a tiny if not non existent budget, using what I can find at either a Harbor freight, radio shack (If I can still find one) and maybe a few parts off of ebay.

:D:confused: 360115

Notice the honey comb cut out...This is what I am after... both stainless steel and aluminum

Scott Shepherd
05-13-2017, 9:07 AM
Google Chemical Etching Metal.

Dave Sheldrake
05-13-2017, 7:26 PM
for the honeycomb..punch or powerful laser...neither will be cheap :(

William Adams
05-13-2017, 7:33 PM
For aluminum, a CNC machine could do this pretty easily --- esp. if you were willing to compromise on the tool paths and use a V-bit for detailing, and then a normal round bit for the through cut (it would leave a radius at the corners but with the V-engraved detailing it's not too bad).

Steel is tougher, CNC routers can sort of cut it, esp. w/ coolant, but it takes a lot of care with the toolpaths and feeds and speeds (Rich Cournoyer does this a lot, see his posts to various forums and, I think a YouTube channel) --- not getting these right can have a high cost in tooling. Also, due to low tool engagement one pretty much needs to be able to sharpen endmills so as to keep tooling costs reasonable, at least by my standards.

A "real" mill converted to CNC would do this quite handily, and a machine such as a Tormach would make short work of it.

Kev Williams
05-13-2017, 7:49 PM
One of my customers makes ribbon microphones with a stainless housing.
This one--
360129
has 105 of those holes in it. He's been machining these holes with a mill, takes him 4 hours...He's been after me to help him figure out a way or a place to laser cut these. Since they have to be cut while still in cylinder form, most laser cutting shops can't do it, and the one (only one) he found wants $85 a pop and a 500 piece minimum. The $85 isn't so bad, but these are custom made, 500 would be a 30 year supply...

I could cut those holes out on that pic sample with several of my machines, in ALUMINUM, but it would take several minutes, depending the thick(thin)ness.

About all you could get from Harbor Freight that would help make a metal business card would be a shear to cut the blanks...

Scott Shepherd
05-13-2017, 8:42 PM
He did say DIY guys! Not the best video but a place to start your search.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=79r7iX1Qm1M

matthew knott
05-13-2017, 9:13 PM
Chemical milling , you could do it diy as the chemicals are cheap, a uv light box and etch resist all available, the professionals do these in big sheets, the etching does all the detail and the cutting, even the card shape

Pieter Swart
05-14-2017, 8:18 AM
I have a follow up question. ( or two)

Based on what I have read above... Is it possible to cut this out with my 100w CO2 tube? material would be sublimation stock aluminum or slightly thicker. If you have done this, how thick was thickest stock used?


Below is my machine...
360181

Bert Kemp
05-14-2017, 10:49 AM
I'm not sure what sublimation stock aluminum is . Is it made for laser cutting. If its Aluminum I don't think you will cut or engrave it with a CO2 laser.

Pieter Swart
05-14-2017, 11:23 AM
I'm not sure what sublimation stock aluminum is . Is it made for laser cutting. If its Aluminum I don't think you will cut or engrave it with a CO2 laser.

I Think Sublimation stock aluminum is measured in paper thickness, Its an aluminum label thin enough to be a bottle label or really thin (pathetic) business card...

At this point I think I might just order anodized blanks and engrave them or cermark a few cool Stainless steel cards for her... ( and myself while I'm at it...)

I also wtached that DIY Chemical etch video... Now That is cool!!!

Keith Outten
05-14-2017, 4:28 PM
Just a suggestion.

Try engraving business cards on clear cast acrylic. They look fantastic and you can make them from project scraps.
If you have to have aluminum a rotary engraver would be my first choice, you can do it on a CNC Router but its painfully slow.
.

Bert Kemp
05-14-2017, 4:50 PM
Keith how thin can you find cast acrylic ? I made a friend some cards on veneer, they came out awesome.
Just a suggestion.

Try engraving business cards on clear cast acrylic. They look fantastic and you can make them from project scraps.
If you have to have aluminum a rotary engraver would be my first choice, you can do it on a CNC Router but its painfully slow.
.

David Somers
05-14-2017, 7:44 PM
Hey Bert!

I have seen something called Acrylic Precision Thin Sheet ranging from .2mm thick to 5mm thick. I have never used it though. Not sure what the properties or costs are. I think I saw it at Tap Plastics. I also use polycarb and petg sheets for some templates I make to help sketchers with perspective and proportions. Those hold up well in use, but I have never tried making something in the business card size to see how it would hold up in a wallet. I have also played with thinner sheets of mylar and acetate. Those cut well once you get the power and speed dialed in but were a bit thin for the sketching templates I mentioned.

Bert Kemp
05-14-2017, 10:16 PM
I was just wondering on thickness as a card should be thin and flexable. I checked that out Dave but didn't see any prices or order info.


Hey Bert!

I have seen something called Acrylic Precision Thin Sheet ranging from .2mm thick to 5mm thick. I have never used it though. Not sure what the properties or costs are. I think I saw it at Tap Plastics. I also use polycarb and petg sheets for some templates I make to help sketchers with perspective and proportions. Those hold up well in use, but I have never tried making something in the business card size to see how it would hold up in a wallet. I have also played with thinner sheets of mylar and acetate. Those cut well once you get the power and speed dialed in but were a bit thin for the sketching templates I mentioned.

Dave Sheldrake
05-14-2017, 10:24 PM
Blimey Kev, I have a 4 axis CO2 that would bang those out..shame your not in the UK, they would be closer to $8 a shot to do (if the tube was provided)

Rodne Gold
05-15-2017, 4:47 AM
Only DIY way is either electro or chemical etch... you will have a BIG problem getting rid of ferric chloride if you chemically etch

Pieter Swart
05-15-2017, 5:35 AM
Just to get back to my original question:

This is what I was after:

I was thinking about getting a small desktop cnc kit and building it with a dremel from harbor freight, they're about $30 for a "good" set

360252360253

The chemical etch did not really interest me,

Scott Shepherd
05-15-2017, 7:58 AM
You aren't going to do that level of work with a dremel on a router, in my opinion.

Matt McCoy
05-15-2017, 8:27 AM
If you're looking for a kit, the X-Carve or Shapeoko are two choices. They've moved past Dremel-like spindles, in favor of trim routers. As mentioned, you probably won't be able to get the same results pictured, due to the limitations of using mills (e.g., sharp corners). It will be pretty slow, especially milling SS, and considering the cost, you will have to be pretty selective on who you pass those cards out to.

William Adams
05-15-2017, 8:31 AM
The rotary tools are at once surprisingly capable, and infuriating. Runout tends to be bad, power is low, and noise levels are high. The cut out tool, or the 1/4" trim router are slightly better, but runout is still a crapshoot, and it's annoying if the tool dies in the middle of a cut.

Best bang for the buck seems to be the Makita RT0701 clones, the MLCS Rocky 30 and Grizzly (forget the model number) --- I have the Makita, and use a 1/8" precision collet from Elaire Corporation to allow the use of small endmills. Lengthy discussion of options on the Shapeoko wiki. (and if there are any which were missed, I'd be glad to know of them)

Kev Williams
05-15-2017, 3:08 PM
What I haven't seen brought up yet is tool radius. Those last 2 plates, I'm not sure if they were lasered, water jet, or chemical cut, but for 100% certain they were NOT cut with an endmill-- very narrow engraving tool possibly, but you won't find those at HF or HD...

I worked with a few of the sharp-corner pieces, and added the radius that would result from using a 1/32" endmill to machine the cutouts-- and good luck not breaking a 1/32" endmill even machining those holes in .020" thick aluminum... the smallest endmill I use is a 1/16"... any smaller and all I can successful accomplish with them is breaking them.

The white I superimposed over the photo- especially hard hit are corners with more than 90 angle, such as within W'S, M's, and the edges of the earth.
It's asking a lot to reproduce this much detail with readily-available cutter tools...
360293

Matt McCoy
05-15-2017, 3:19 PM
I mentioned it two post ago, but appreciate you taking the time to expand on it more eloquently.

Dave Sheldrake
05-15-2017, 6:30 PM
Those in the picture are laser cut and engraved with a Fibre, 800 to 1,000 watt if they are aluminium, 500 watt if they are stainless

Scott Shepherd
05-15-2017, 6:34 PM
We've had business cards like that made a couple of times for customers. We had them laser cut. We had them laser cut and then cermarked them. The end cost to the last customer was $5 each. They ordered 100 of them. They sold high end products. If you brought them a card and turned it in to them, they'd give you 5% your treatment (dentist related stuff).

You can have the cards cut for about $1 each from most anyone with a metal cutting laser.