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akis 28th December 2012 08:41 AM

Cutting openings in metal panels
 
Is there an easy way to cut apertures into thin metal panels like the ones that come with enclosures? I can drill holes easily on aluminium metal, have not tried on steel, but am not sure what to do for square openings. On a PCB I would start with a round hole and then I'd insert the jigsaw blade and go that way, but that tends to destroy blades almost instantly and also on metal it'd be impossible.

thanks

FdW 28th December 2012 08:47 AM

Insert the metal plate between 2 wooden boards and then make the hole with the jigsaw.

FdW 28th December 2012 08:49 AM

Also, use a small (Dremel) grinder/cutter disk (in a tool like the Dremel) :)

balerit 28th December 2012 08:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FdW (Post 3301731)
Also, use a small (Dremel) grinder/cutter disk (in a tool like the Dremel) :)

I agree, that's the easiest on thin sections. Also place masking tape on first then draw your cutout on this, this prevents scratches.

Mac

FdW 28th December 2012 08:56 AM

And more idea's are here Make Square Holes in Aluminum Sheet Metal

FdW 28th December 2012 08:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by balerit (Post 3301738)
I agree, that's the easiest on thin sections. Also place masking tape on first then draw your cutout on this, this prevents scratches.

Mac

Yes, that's true, never (ever :)) forget the masking tape (it also adds a kind of an anti-slip surface).

JMFahey 28th December 2012 11:39 AM

I hate iron, so won't comment on it.
Plus *really* you need industrial type machinery to deal with it.
Now, aluminum is better for the home builder.
For one-offs you can drill the approximate shape and finish with a nibbler (best) or filing , if you want to work out at the same time.
Personally I had to buy punching machines with an assortment of dies, but the next best is finding a friendly neighbourhood shop which specializes in "Aluminum Carpentry", those guys who make custom windows, sliding doors, office divisions, etc.
By trade needs they usually have a specialized puncher with an assortment of dies.
Any square or rectangular one can make a bigger rectangular one in so many "bites".
Be sure to visit them carrying an ice cold sixpack or a couple cigarette packs or whatever, so you are always welcome.
Mind you, only aluminum.
They hate iron too, because its hardness will at least take the sharpness of their tools and at worst damage them.

oz7aff 28th December 2012 11:46 AM

Try to search for a q-max metal punch

akis 28th December 2012 11:46 AM

hmmm, my own, DIY, set of round and square dies as well as some sort of punching machine? any idea where to get these from?

cervelorider 28th December 2012 12:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FdW (Post 3301740)

Good Stuff! Thanks for posting this link.


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