Anyone ever routed sheet metal

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atripp
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Anyone ever routed sheet metal

Post by atripp »

If so, what are the tips and tricks or is this out of the question on a CNC.

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metalworkz
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Re: Anyone ever routed sheet metal

Post by metalworkz »

Hello Andy,
Yes, I have routed sheet metal by hand with a router. What kind of metal are you interested in routing? I have worked with mostly brass and aluminum using a router with solid carbide bits or carbide tipped bits. Once you tell us what material you want to rout I may have better suggestions on how to go about it, but for the most part the work done with a router in sheet metal has been mostly radius and chamfer work with some cut to size once in a while. A circular saw with a carbide tipped teeth can do some decent work on aluminum for cutting lengths etc.(or a table saw) For all hand routed parts it is essential to have good guides or templates clamped to the material and a small amount of cutting fluid(WD40 works good) applied to the bit, or even a bushing mounted to the router base to follow the template etc. You want to feed the bit into the material so the rotation will always cut into the material(conventional cut) so make sure you rout the material in the right direction. Also a router table works very well to do chamfer and radius work on brass and aluminum for small parts. For instance we punched the .125" brass
in the CNC turret press and radiused the edges in a router table, worked very good.
I have done a lot of aluminum with my Craftsman small sized router in my SX3 mill including 3D carving, and for this type of work I suggest using minimal cut depths and slower feed rates to start with(maybe .005" cut depth and 15IPM feed rate). You can get a feel for how well the process is working just by viewing it and listening to the motor. If it seems like the feed can be faster then increase the feed rate(in moderation) and give it a try on something small to see how it does. A simple trial and error study of the process will tell you more than anyone can give you because your machine and tools may be a bit different than that other guys. I think for my 3d work in aluminum with the small router motor(Craftsman) I was using .010" pass depth and something like 15-30 IPM feed rate. The finish pass is very minimal anyway and I believe I ended up overriding the feed rate in Mach3 up to say 30 IPM. I would strongly suggest doing some tests on some scrap pieces with very slow and modest cut depths to begin with and tweaking your settings to what seems to work best on your machine. You probably have an idea what your router sounds like when it is cutting good so you will recognize in your test if you can speed things up or need to go slower. I hope something here helps and that I am not way off target from what you were asking for.
I just reread your post and see "on a CNC" so I guess I posted a lot of un-asked for info, and I'm sorry for the extra text but maybe it will be useful to someone.
Best regards,
Wes
wes.spence@comcast.net
Gingery Machines:
Lathe, Horiz. Mill, Shaper, Leaf Brake

wcarrothers
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Re: Anyone ever routed sheet metal

Post by wcarrothers »

I've done alot of aluminum substrate material (like alupanel and such)..

I have not done any steel or galvinized (like heater duct type sheet metal)

But with the aluminum the correct bits make all the diference, Single flute super O's are best.

Down cut bits (if you don't have vac hold down) also help alot and give a clean upper face edge.

Also feeds/speeds are important. (think Faster then you would want to go.. at least in my case has gotten way better results then slow. Go to slow in alum and you will gum up your bit. I cut alupanel on my machine at least 90ipm and in most cases over 100ipm.

b.

Gerry Perrault
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Re: Anyone ever routed sheet metal

Post by Gerry Perrault »

Hi
It is funny that you inquired about routing sheey metal, because this is what i have done today.
First of all,i went to my supplier in my town,and ask questions about what i wanted to achieve,and gave good advice,he should know he has been a machinist for 30 years and now is a salesman at the desk.
First of all he supplied me with a 1/4 slot drill carbure (SOWA 103-854) AT $10.41 and
sold me a tube of ALUCUT cutting lubricant to paste on the surface i had to cut. First you put some on your bit and when the first cut was done i put some on the cut for the second pass. I forgot to tell you ihad a two pass for my cut.
Actully what i had to do,was a sheet of aluminum .040 thick laminated on 2'' of foam.

First i wrote the program to have 2 passes of .022 ,was more then .040 thick,reduced the
cutting speed to 30 ips (inch per second) and ajusted the speed of the router about 6 000. The job went ok just like the salesman told me,called him back to thank him.
Then i wrote another program ,this time to be able to cut my 2'' foam at .5'' at a time.

The salesman told me also that some guys use w-40 lubricant, as for the name of the product i used it is: WALTER that can be reech at www.walter.com
i will try to send pictures ,if i arrived to know how,or some one can tell me how to post.

Finally don't be shy to ask question,nobody knows everything,but with this community of

Vectric we can succeed.Gerry
I rather be the leader,than the follower

Gerry Perrault
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Re: Anyone ever routed sheet metal

Post by Gerry Perrault »

here is a picture,Gerry
Attachments
test photo.jpg
I rather be the leader,than the follower

Gerry Perrault
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Re: Anyone ever routed sheet metal

Post by Gerry Perrault »

2 nd picture,Gerry
Attachments
photo 2 test.jpg
I rather be the leader,than the follower

atripp
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Re: Anyone ever routed sheet metal

Post by atripp »

Thanks for the input everyone. I have cut aluminum before. Didn't know if cutting sheet metal (like ductwork) is the same. My customer would be providing me the material and i would just be cutting out letters so he would be left with a template of sorts.

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