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  #1  
Old 09-19-2005, 08:57 PM
bluestudio bluestudio is offline
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Location: boston ma
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Die cutting metal

Hello:
I am a total sculpture newbie--just begun making mixed media work a year ago. I work mostly with textiles, but have in mind a piece which might require some precise cutting of a lightweight metal such as aluminum. Does anyone have suggestions as to whether die cutting or laser cutting is an option for artists, or whether it is prohibitively expensive? Is aluminum a good bet if I want a metal which can be partially burned/blackened by heat? I have very little experience with metal working beyond doing a lot of work with wire...
Many thanks for any help!
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  #2  
Old 09-20-2005, 03:48 PM
Arrow Arrow is offline
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Re: Die cutting metal

Laser cut metal can be very expensive, even on thin aluminum. Plasma CNC would be a better bet. Anodizing, powdercoating, paint or metalspray are your options in coloring.

Or if the madscientist inside all of us is setup properly you could try etching/rust aluminum with mercury:
http://www.popsci.com/popsci/how20/0...cbccdrcrd.html
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  #3  
Old 09-20-2005, 05:53 PM
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kathleenfen kathleenfen is offline
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
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Re: Die cutting metal

I've done some aluminum work, welding and forming. For patinas....aluminum just doesn't cut in my mind. Aluminum oxidizes to a white powdery substance that is nasty to touch and unappealing to look at. Arrow has it right as to your colouring options for aluminum. With copper and steel you can get some gorgeous patinas quite easily. Do you need a silvery-coloured metal to start with when you are wanting a "blackened" look? I think copper would be a better choice for what you're after. Also, there are serious health considerations when it comes to working aluminum...nasty material...believe me, I know from experience. A CNC would do the cutting job you're after.
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  #4  
Old 10-01-2005, 12:46 PM
bluestudio bluestudio is offline
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Re: Die cutting metal

Thanks to those who sent advice about cutting aluminum--it sounds like I ought to avoid this material altogether (es. being a beginner) and try an easier metal such as copper. Excuse my ignorance, but just what is Plasma CNC?
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  #5  
Old 10-01-2005, 03:22 PM
Arrow Arrow is offline
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Re: Die cutting metal

Computer Numerical Controlled.
Plasma CNC: http://www.torchmate.com/
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  #6  
Old 04-29-2006, 08:55 AM
georgebecker georgebecker is offline
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Re: Die cutting metal

aluminum can also be cut with most woodworking tools, such as vertical bandsaw, scrollsaw, skillsaw with carbide blade. when using a bandsaw or scroll saw use an emulsion based coolant, if you dont have a saw with a coolant system mix 1/3 dish deturgant 2/3 water in a plastic bottle and poke a small hole in the cap. squirt a bit on the blade frequently. if the blade gets too hot it will get soft and break or if the material you are cutting gets too hot it will clog the teeth on the blade. dont go too fine with your blade choice either, most saws like this will cut non ferrous metals with a 5 to 8 tpi pitch. if using a circular saw you can purchase cutting wax from most industrial supply places. apply some of this to the blade before cutting and it will prevent the blade from clogging
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