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Most Economical Sheet Metal Fabrication Method

07/04/2013 3:59 PM

Does anyone have experience with any metal cutting/stamping. I would like to get some metal shapes made from .090" steel. The shapes are of an irregular shape and would be assembled as a lamination, held together with rivets. Each lamination would measure approximately 2" x 6".

My question is: which method of fabrication is the most cost effective; 1st as a short run and 2nd as a production run using the following methods: water jet cutting, laser cutting, plasma cutting or stamping, which would require a special die?

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#1

Re: Most economical metal fabrication method.

07/04/2013 4:08 PM

Stamping requires dies.

Is the item flat?

You could stack them, but water jets, etc. all cut a wider slot as you get away from the nozzle.

It's all about design, programming and machine time. They all cost money.

I'd say plasma, water, laser then stamping in order from least to most.

It depends on quantity, too.

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#6
In reply to #1

Re: Most economical metal fabrication method.

07/04/2013 8:40 PM

Flow International Waterjets have dynamic heads that adjust for kerf and kerf angle. So it's doable.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Most economical metal fabrication method.

07/04/2013 8:43 PM

Thanks for that.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Most economical metal fabrication method.

07/04/2013 8:44 PM

Your welcome........

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#13
In reply to #1

Re: Most economical metal fabrication method.

07/05/2013 8:57 AM

And dies are expensive.

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#2

Re: Most economical metal fabrication method.

07/04/2013 4:11 PM

Adding a little more; I would be using an A-2 steel and I assume a CNC router would be used for the first three methods.

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Most economical metal fabrication method.

07/04/2013 8:38 PM

Too fast an RPM on a router for cutting ferrous material.

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#3

Re: Most economical metal fabrication method.

07/04/2013 4:29 PM

Another thought came to me. Suppose I used a solid piece of steel, 1/2" thick instead of a lamination. That would eliminate the stamping process.

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#4
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Re: Most economical metal fabrication method.

07/04/2013 5:01 PM

That cuts lots of expense.

But, either tool head speed will be slower, or cutter size/waste will increase, but that's better than cutting and laminating multiple plates.

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#9

Re: Most Economical Metal Fabrication Method

07/04/2013 9:33 PM

Did you see this?

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#10
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Re: Most Economical Metal Fabrication Method

07/04/2013 9:38 PM

I'd use this to make hydroforming molds for many sheet metal parts per original formed sheet.

What do I know?

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Most Economical Metal Fabrication Method

07/05/2013 1:14 AM

They forgot the cutting tool.

Well its Ford.

and

What do I know!

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#11

Re: Most Economical Metal Fabrication Method

07/05/2013 12:52 AM

There used to be some general guidelines about the economy of scale for fabrication methods. The key factors were perimeter length for the cut, sharpness of internal and external corners and the number of parts needed and finally whether they were planar or formed.

Stamping became the effective choice above quantities of 10k for flat pieces. (Lower for bent/folded, coined or drawn pieces)

Broaching tools were cost effective beyond 2k, especially where bent/coined or drawn.

Tooling costs were the principal issue with plasma, water jet and others being highly cost effective for flat parts in lower volumes.

Given progress in these "rapid prototype" methods, I suspect that for flat items, the water jet and similar devices would now probably break through the 10k barrier and the flexibility to modify design far outweighs stamping tools.

I've seen "wire cut" tools made in less than 12 hours, mounted into press and ran 300,000 shots before the punch face chipped. (1mm this full hard brass, 0.5mm internal diameter corners and 0.1mm external corners on the finished part) We treated the punches as "consumable" and ran "no planned maintenance" (run till fail) since the time to sharpen was as long as the time to replace.

Stamping tools for thicker material are a little more difficult, but the main issue is finding a press with enough kick.

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#15
In reply to #11

Re: Most Economical Metal Fabrication Method

07/05/2013 12:51 PM

Thank you down under, Your input was most useful. I'm trying to duplicate a tool that was made in the early 50's. The patent ran out; the company went out of business a long time ago. The original construction was thin pieces of steel that were punched out and riveted together. I was thinking of duplicating the early method of construction, but I thought an update of fabrication methods might be in order.

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#14

Re: Most Economical Sheet Metal Fabrication Method

07/05/2013 11:35 AM

Tin snips.

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#16

Re: Most Economical Sheet Metal Fabrication Method

07/06/2013 9:26 AM

I don't quite know what you are doing but CNC turret punch stamping could also be considered. Your "irregular shape" will need to be considered to include or exclude a turret punch from your list to consider.

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#17

Re: Most Economical Sheet Metal Fabrication Method

07/06/2013 3:51 PM

I'm on a different computer right now. My computer that has my files is in the shop for repair. When I get it back, I can post a picture of the required piece.

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#18

Re: Most Economical Sheet Metal Fabrication Method

07/29/2013 6:00 AM

Stamping needs dies and its expensive too but you can use water jet technique and plasma cutting these are less expensive than stamping.

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