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Old 2nd October 2002, 04:10 PM   #1
jwb is offline jwb  United States
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Default Metal work needed

Here in San Francisco, none of the metal shops can be bothered with basic machinery, because the prima donna machinists are too busy pretending to be artists. But, I'm not bitter.

Anyone on this board want to offer their services as a machinist? I only need some holes bored in aluminum, in the style of the classic nearly-rectangular audio chassis. Here is an example part:
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Old 2nd October 2002, 04:19 PM   #2
jwb is offline jwb  United States
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By the way, the units in the above drawing are inches. This part seems uncomplicated no? And I just wanted it to be sanded in one direction and clear anodized. I don't know why no shop wold take the work. Maybe the five other sides were too complicated. Maybe the whole job is just too small.

Maybe one of you will take it!

 
Old 2nd October 2002, 06:13 PM   #3
mltaunt is offline mltaunt  United States
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Since I no longer work as a machinist I can't offer my services for after hours jobs, but I can make a few observations that are intended to be helpful.

Most of your dimensions are to 4 decimal places. This implies that you want this work done to one ten thousanth of an inch (commonly known in the trade as working to tenths). this is approximately +/- one twentieth the thickness of a piece of paper! These tolerances are not generally within the capabilities of a run of the mill machine shop.

Your post states " I only need some holes bored in aluminum" but your drawing shows a milled 1/8" relief in the top view, rounded corners, and a square (punched) hole. This is This is a minimum of seven setups on three different machines for just this one part.

I gather that you are very concerned about appearance i.e. "brushed in one direction and anodized". One thing you learn on the shop floor is the finished part is never as pretty as it looks on the computer monitor. What you are asking for is hundreds of dollars worth of work to be done to consumer grade finish while exhibiting little knowledge of process. I suspect the people you dealt with simply assumed the chances of ending up with a happy custumer were pretty slim.

Beyond that your dimensions imply something close to a standard rack mount size case. Why don't you buy an off the shelf case? (do a search here for cases) with blank front and back. You can then modify it using a cheap Home Depot tabletop drill press, a Unibit, home made disc sander and a file. The total cost for these tools is probably less than shipping and material costs let alone labor for full custom.

Please understand I'm not trying to dump on you. I just trying to educate and help you accomplish your goal.

"WORKING HARD IS VIRTUE, DOING WORK THE HARD WAY IS A VICE."
 
Old 2nd October 2002, 06:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by jwb
By the way, the units in the above drawing are inches. This part seems uncomplicated no? And I just wanted it to be sanded in one direction and clear anodized. I don't know why no shop wold take the work. Maybe the five other sides were too complicated. Maybe the whole job is just too small.
I can recommend some folks who'd be happy to do the job. Problem is, it won't be cheap. One offs never are. That's because all the set up costs are going into just the one piece.

So the question is, how much are you willing to pay for just this one piece? Unless you can find a friend willing to donate their time and just charge you the materials costs, you're looking at a faceplate that will cost you hundreds of dollars minimum. And for about the same price, you could have a dozen of them made.

But if price is no object, let me know and I'll hook you up.

se
 
Old 2nd October 2002, 06:55 PM   #5
jwb is offline jwb  United States
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Hi mltaunt! Thanks a lot for your input. It sounds like you are pretty familiar with the goings-on in the shop. Just so we understand each other, I studied mechanical engineering at university, although I never practiced outside of internships, so I'm more well versed in manufacturing than a random guy off the street. I realize the dimensions are all to .1mil, but I explained to the machinists, who were all working from paper-napkin sketches when I visited their shops, that this is just the default dimensioning style in AutoCad R13. The tightest actual tolerance on here is 4mils in six places, and 10 mils everywhere else.

Yeah there is a milled relief on the back panel. It is the only way to have the counterbored fasteners and still mount the connectors. The relief is on the inside so it doesn't need to be faced.

I know full custom is unusual, but I have particular taste, and this unit is a gift. My main problem isn't cost: I offered the first shop I approached a lot of money, but I got the "sorry I'm an artiste" brush off.

Thanks a lot for your input. Maybe I should redo the drawings to make them less scary.
 
Old 2nd October 2002, 07:05 PM   #6
jwb is offline jwb  United States
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Steve, I'd love to get hooked up with a shop, if only so they can finally tell me WHAT it would cost to make such a thing. And if they are in the Bay Area, so much the better.
 
Old 2nd October 2002, 07:53 PM   #7
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Originally posted by jwb
Steve, I'd love to get hooked up with a shop, if only so they can finally tell me WHAT it would cost to make such a thing. And if they are in the Bay Area, so much the better.
Alas, they're not in the Bay Area. They're a bit east, up in the foothills in Shingle Springs (just east of Sacramento).

Carlton Metal Craft, Inc.
4191 Business Drive, Suite A
Shingle Springs, CA 95682
530 677-5729

Your existing drawing should be sufficient to get a quote, but they may ask you to fill in a few blanks. You can either FAX it to them or send it as a DXF file in an EMail attachment.

Good luck!

se
 
Old 2nd October 2002, 08:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by jwb
Yeah there is a milled relief on the back panel. It is the only way to have the counterbored fasteners and still mount the connectors. The relief is on the inside so it doesn't need to be faced.
That's what's going to be the bank breaker, regardless of whether it needs to be grained.

Why not go with a 1/8" panel with a 1/16" counterbore and use some low profile socket head screws? That would give you virtually the same look as a fully inset, full height socket head while dramatically reducing the machining costs.

se
 
Old 2nd October 2002, 08:04 PM   #9
grataku is offline grataku  United States
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jwb
comment about your drawing: it's going to be time consuming and hard to reduce the thickness of the plate in the way you are showing. Not to mention that you are going to lose alot of rigidity.
Do you really need that?
To do what you have drawn will probably take a machinist 4 hrs of work @ $60/hr unless they have highly specialized CNC machines. There has been some talk on this website about a place in EU were they do this type of panel work.
Some guy from south africa that build an aleph used them, I can't think of the name.
 
Old 2nd October 2002, 08:08 PM   #10
jwb is offline jwb  United States
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Thanks again for the advice folks. You see, this is exactly what I want the machinist to advise me on. I don't want them to just say "that's really expensive", I want them to say "that would be a lot cheaper if only ..."
 

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