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Old 10th November 2009, 12:25 PM   #21
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If your working with thicker aluminum and can't use a punch. Try drilling as large a round hole in the center of the square/rectangle then square it up using a jigsaw with metal cutting blade. Works everytime.

Max
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Old 10th November 2009, 12:35 PM   #22
Xoc1 is offline Xoc1  United Kingdom
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Professionally:-
lasercutting is the way I produce cut out panels.
You can specify any shape you want, get great accuracy and a decent finish.
Only limitation usually is the hole diameter must be bigger than the material thickness.
Challenges with this are setting out a DXF file in CAD, and finding a lasercutter company that wont charge too much for a minimum order.
At home:-
I usually mark out with a soft pencil. Then drill copious holes (Centre punch the hole centres before drilling, so they don,t drift off centre when you drill through.)
Cut out extra material with a hacksaw. I have one where the blade can be set at 90 deg angles. Then its down to filling with a round and flat file set. You need to make sure that the files are sharp, and then removing material is easy.
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Old 11th November 2009, 12:18 AM   #23
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Thanks all - lots of great practical (and not so...) ideas. Envious of you who have relatively easy access to Front Panel and the likes. Here we think we are pretty damn lucky just to get a pair of pliers and a 12 inch shifter...

Distortion of the panel is the biggest problem I have, closely associated with my impatience and tight-fisted approach to capital expenditure. Guess the first thing I should buy is a can of Patience and a two-dozen pack of Realism.
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Old 11th November 2009, 01:45 AM   #24
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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If you are getting bent panels, give them some support. Clamp the panel to a wooden plank. That will support it as you push against it with a drill bit. If you want to use a saw, clamp a wood backing piece right up next to the line you want to cut.
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Old 11th November 2009, 02:01 AM   #25
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I use a Fien Multimaster, it's pretty good for doing square holes in Alu.
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Old 13th November 2009, 08:35 AM   #26
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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The key is to invest in good metal files. Rattail, triangle, flat, square in various sizes. If you've only ever used the rusty ones that were rattling around in the bottom of your dad's toolbox since before you were born, new files will be a revelation. Scribe the lines accurately, chew the hole out undersize with Unibit, nibbler, cutoff wheel, or saber saw, and file to fit. File in one direction only (away), holding the file with two hands. For small openings, like D-shaped holes for banana jacks, jeweller's files are helpful.

Last edited by dangus; 13th November 2009 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 16th November 2009, 06:50 PM   #27
mobyd is offline mobyd  New Zealand
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Flypress
Once upon a time, every little plumbing shop had one of these, but since they became supermarkets, the old presses got flogged off for scrap. They can still be found if you look hard enough.
Note hastily inserted piece of plywood - don't want the world to see how untidy my workshop is :-).
M
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Old 17th November 2009, 04:11 AM   #28
FAA is offline FAA
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I used my Rotary Tool (Dremel) with Cutting Bit i bought from Ebay..

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Old 17th November 2009, 11:06 PM   #29
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Quote:
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Note hastily inserted piece of plywood - don't want the world to see how untidy my workshop is :-).
M
Lol - in MY w/shop, you'd be lucky to FIND the press. And the cat would have been buried under something that fell over too.
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Old 21st November 2009, 08:35 PM   #30
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I used my Rotary Tool (Dremel) with Cutting Bit i bought from Ebay..

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Hmm so did I and the result was terrible I then chain drilled and filed for a much better result... my bit was slightly different though (spiral flutes) so may have been too agressive (and I was probably too impatient). Admittedly I was trying to do it quickly by using a steel template (old pc case) and just run around the existing hole. The bit just tore through the steel resulting in the mess shown

Tony.
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