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Old 25-09-2016, 18:48   #31
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

If you can remove the panel and make it flat, a good router bit on a router table will/can make absolutely straight lines in a rectangle or round pattern in anything other than steel.
A flat fiberglas board and the router is what I use if I can. A copper clad Fiberglas board used in the printed circuit industry, comes in various thicknesses is easily cut with a router bit. and works with all wood working cutting tools. Outside radius-es cut nicely with a small band saw with a fine toothed blade.
Take the same panel to a milling machine, think Bridge Port with tooling you can include all metals in your base material, most shops will work for around $100. per hour around here, which will be their minimum fee.
If you care for the brushed stainless steel look, and you can get the attention of a shop you can have a panel that is very professional looking.
A plasma cutter with CNC operation will also work on the steel but it will not be as good as the milling machine version.
You will probably have to provide the panel layout for the CNC crowd.
I am looking forward to you posting pictures of your new panel.
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Old 26-09-2016, 11:16   #32
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

Mechanical hole punches if you can borrow or rent one, the larger ones a pricey for metal only. A hand operated nibbler also works well.
Good luck
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Old 26-09-2016, 12:14   #33
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

Quote:
Originally Posted by oleman View Post
If you can remove the panel and make it flat, a good router bit on a router table will/can make absolutely straight lines in a rectangle or round pattern in anything other than steel.
A flat fiberglas board and the router is what I use if I can. A copper clad Fiberglas board used in the printed circuit industry, comes in various thicknesses is easily cut with a router bit. and works with all wood working cutting tools. Outside radius-es cut nicely with a small band saw with a fine toothed blade.
Take the same panel to a milling machine, think Bridge Port with tooling you can include all metals in your base material, most shops will work for around $100. per hour around here, which will be their minimum fee.
If you care for the brushed stainless steel look, and you can get the attention of a shop you can have a panel that is very professional looking.
A plasma cutter with CNC operation will also work on the steel but it will not be as good as the milling machine version.
You will probably have to provide the panel layout for the CNC crowd.
I am looking forward to you posting pictures of your new panel.
CNC might be a little bit extreme?
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Old 26-09-2016, 12:22   #34
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

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CNC might be a little bit extreme?
Actually not that extreme.

I designed a new instrument panel to accommodate new switches, gauges, etc and had an engineer friend of mine who runs a machine shop layout the design in SolidWorks. He machined the panel using a CNC vertical mill and etched all the associated functions below the holes. It turned out fantastic at a very reasonable price of $300 total.
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Old 26-09-2016, 12:44   #35
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

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Actually not that extreme.

I designed a new instrument panel to accommodate new switches, gauges, etc and had an engineer friend of mine who runs a machine shop layout the design in SolidWorks. He machined the panel using a CNC vertical mill and etched all the associated functions below the holes. It turned out fantastic at a very reasonable price of $300 total.
Not everyone has a friend in the business.Setting one up for a small job? They are an expensive production machine. Blowing a couple of holes in a panel can be done manually.

Not that it is bad just probably expensive without a friend.
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Old 26-09-2016, 12:52   #36
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

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Not everyone has a friend in the business.Setting one up for a small job? They are an expensive production machine.
Actually, that would be a pretty close to their price for anyone. Once he lays out the design in SolidWorks the software automatically creates a solid model and a .STP file that programs the mill. No tooling required because they just use soft jaws to hold the material during the milling process.

Prior to machining, he sent me a .PDF drawing to review and approve.

They do tons of prototype work as well as production so they are very well set up to do one-off projects.

Jeff
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Old 26-09-2016, 13:14   #37
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

I use either a multi master knockoff or a roto zip like the Dewalt one pictured earlier.
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Old 26-09-2016, 13:39   #38
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

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Actually, that would be a pretty close to their price for anyone. Once he lays out the design in SolidWorks the software automatically creates a solid model and a .STP file that programs the mill. No tooling required because they just use soft jaws to hold the material during the milling process.

Prior to machining, he sent me a .PDF drawing to review and approve.

They do tons of prototype work as well as production so they are very well set up to do one-off projects.

Jeff
May well be? Programming isn't the problem, as I see it jigging up the work is the cost. What do I know? It just seems like over kill.
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Old 26-09-2016, 14:54   #39
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

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May well be? Programming isn't the problem, as I see it jigging up the work is the cost. What do I know? It just seems like over kill.
If you are making an instrument panel or similar project, it never hurts to have several options. Give Brian a call if you are interested in a cnc machined option. They are not a fabricator, just a CNC machine shop with lathe, vertical mill and swiss screw machine capabilities

Brian Neuberger 208-914-4607 You might be pleasantly surprised at his quote.

BTW, I have no interest in their business other than being very comfortable referring them to other cruisers due to their outstanding quality and very competitive pricing on several machining projects over the past few years.

Jeff
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Old 27-09-2016, 06:18   #40
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

Since we're going down that path, I have had several panels made by Front Panel Express.

I downloaded their design software, and found it pretty easy to use (most design tools baffle me, so that's saying something.) It allows me to design the panel, see the price, change stuff around till it matches my needs and budget, then send it off for them to make.

The biggest one they've done so far is a new upper helm console:



No financial interest in this company, just a customer.
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Old 27-09-2016, 06:35   #41
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

First, let me say I use a variety of tools. No one answer.

Another advantage of the multi-tools is that you can work in tighter spaces, right up against objects that would block access for a router or saber saw. The ability to rotate the blade position allows for very close work. On my last AC install I had to cut rectangular holes in the bottom of a well, with sides with 1-inch of the cuts. I was finished in a few minutes. There wasn't even enough room to drill corners, let alone fit any tool other than a multi-tool. I supose I could have fit a hand grinder, but inside a cabin and down in a well that would have been one hell of a mess, and the corners not as neat. The results with the multitool was surgical.

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Old 30-09-2016, 06:05   #42
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
Since we're going down that path, I have had several panels made by Front Panel Express.

I downloaded their design software, and found it pretty easy to use (most design tools baffle me, so that's saying something.) It allows me to design the panel, see the price, change stuff around till it matches my needs and budget, then send it off for them to make.

The biggest one they've done so far is a new upper helm console:



No financial interest in this company, just a customer.
Very interesting, booked the site, if you don't mind about how much did that panel cost?
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Old 30-09-2016, 19:21   #43
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

Bookmarked...
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Old 01-10-2016, 10:23   #44
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikado View Post
If you are making an instrument panel or similar project, it never hurts to have several options. Give Brian a call if you are interested in a cnc machined option. They are not a fabricator, just a CNC machine shop with lathe, vertical mill and swiss screw machine capabilities

Brian Neuberger 208-914-4607 You might be pleasantly surprised at his quote.

BTW, I have no interest in their business other than being very comfortable referring them to other cruisers due to their outstanding quality and very competitive pricing on several machining projects over the past few years.

Jeff
Jeff,

I am probably wrong. Just old school when it comes to machining. Comes with my manufacture date.

Roger
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Old 11-11-2016, 16:45   #45
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Re: Favorite Cutting Tool or Method

The Fein Multimaster is the king of multi-tools. Nothing else even comes close. I replaced 9 port lights bedded in 5200, using other multi-tools for the first half of them. Someone lent me a Fein, and after a few hours of using it I went out and bought one and sold my two other multi-tools on eBay.

The thing is a powerful beast, but precise.

That said, if I have a rectangular cutout, I have a Rigid compact router that I will grab first, tacking guides on the center/waste piece of the cutout (and then a straightedge and squeeze clamps for the last cut). If I'm going to cut square opening in something, it's going to look good, even if it gets covered up. Downside is the amount of sawdust cutting with a router is epic lol.

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