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Square holes in aluminium...
Square holes in aluminium...
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Old 21st November 2009, 11:02 PM   #31
kruesi is offline kruesi  United States
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Location: Chicago - Gritty, Grey and Windy
Laser? EDM? CNC mill?

I usually mark it out, drill near the corners, and file, file, file. Nice job when I'm done, but there's GOT to be a better way. Takes forever and calls for a lot of patience. Out of all the things that are done by drilling/filing, the IEC 320 mains connector thing turns out to be the most difficult for some reason.

For larger rectangular holes, I drill near the corners and use a sabre saw with the finest blade obtainable, going very slowly, giving the edges a wide berth and taking care not to mar the finish (if BOTH sides have to be finished, this is a BAD IDEA!). In any case, this requires great care to avoid marring the surface with the saw's sole plate. Beats anything else I've tried for larger holes, (6-8" square or larger)

For smaller square holes (1/2"), I just drill the largest hole I can and file the edges square.

I'll admit to sometimes drilling a series of close-spaced holes (3/16 or 1/4), using dikes or a fire-ax or something to break the "web" between holes, then file, file, file. Good for odd-shaped holes of medium size, say 2-3" -or narrow slots. Have bandages handy.

Nibbling tools- I have to really consider if there might be a better alternative- and there usually is. They tend to mar the surface about 1/8" on either side of the slot they cut. Still need to file or otherwise finish. And for VERY large holes, my hands give out before the slot is cut. I generally agree- these instruments of torture offer only false hope, and should be banned.

A set of high-quality, perfectly clean and SHARP files is invaluable.
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Old 9th January 2010, 09:47 PM   #32
cddeluca is offline cddeluca  United States
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Join Date: May 2009
Default Practical but not pretty

Buy an IEC extension cable: the male end accepts the female end of a regular IEC cable. Cut the end and connect it to the amp via a round hole and grommet. I'm not sure what makes an IEC connection so desirable - all my pro amps have little pig tail sort of cords on them, like a toaster. I don't se what's wrong with that approach for DIY too.
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Old 9th January 2010, 10:05 PM   #33
Fuling is online now Fuling  Sweden
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Sweden (Mora)
From now on: EDM. My brother owns two Agiecut 100 wire EDMs. This technology is absolutely "the ****" when it comes to cutting non-circular holes in sheet metal...or in 10" thick blocks of hardened steel for that matter.
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Old 21st February 2010, 07:52 PM   #34
drspiff is offline drspiff  United States
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Here is something that will make the filing easier. Put pieces of wood on both sides of the panel and clamp them in place with a couple of C clamps. Make sure the wood edges are lined up on your target line. Then file away.

Putting these pieces on either side of the panel makes the panel stiffer and makes the filing much faster. They also serve as guides to keep you filing flat and to tell you when to quit.

Dr. Spiff
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Old 21st February 2010, 08:27 PM   #35
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Square holes in aluminium...
I dont know if its been mentioned
But files fore alu are made with a very special "cut"
They really are way more effective than ordinary ones
Especially if a lot of material is to be removed, or fore massive alu
Fore the last finer work, ordinary files are ok

Fore thin alu sheet I have also used a slim(5-10mm) and very sharp carpenters chissel, and a hammer and its important to remember hardwood as backing, or it will bend

What I find the hardest is to avoid scratching the surface
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