PDA

View Full Version : Looking For Advice



want2lern
10-26-2002, 09:58 PM
I am completely new to metal working and have need to make a couple of very simple motorcycle parts (of the non engine variety). Rather than get into all the whys and where fors suffice it to say that the need is there... The material I will be working with is 1/8" Stainless Steel. That said my questions are as follows:

1) How do I best cut a 1/8 sheet of stainless steel into the part shape that I need? Have been searching through tool catalogues but can't get a good description of what tool to use for this material. Will a metal cutting band saw work?

2) What would be the best way to polish the finished part (high gloss finish)?

3) What would be the best sealer to use on the polished product to maintain the high golls finish?

4) If I decided to make more than one of these parts (say 12 per year for sale on a very small scale) would the tool recommendations above be the same?

I should mention that I am very adept with wood working tools... while I expect a learning curve with metal I do have some tool oriented skills as a basis.

Thanks in advance for you help,

Chris

P.S. - I just found your discussion forum and am enjoying the reading.

Rustybolt
10-26-2002, 11:00 PM
Need a lot more information. In order to help you we must have some idea what you want to do with the SS. Depending on the purpose you could; Shear it. Torch cut it, saw it(vertical or band), turn it,mill it, drill it, shape it, bend it, mold it. Any of or all of the above.

want2lern
10-26-2002, 11:08 PM
Ok...

The part in question will be flat. I am cutting it out of a piece of 1/8" x 18" x 12" SS. The shape is mostly rectangular but with a triangular shaped tab on one of the long sides. The final part will be about 7" x 5" (5" including the tab). There will be 6 countersunk holes needed as well.

Please Advise,

Chris

Rustybolt
10-27-2002, 12:43 AM
Well.If I only had a few and if I was doing it on the equipment I have on hand, I'd lay it out then rough cut the outline on a V band saw then finish up to size in the mill.

BrianH
10-27-2002, 01:01 AM
Friction-saw the piece roughly to size. Use an old blade, pref. a finer pitch, draw the part on the sheet and run the blade wide-open. It'll sound like shjt, make a horrible burr on the back side, but there's no faster way to go through stainless sheet.

Forrest Addy
10-27-2002, 02:05 AM
Take it to a sheet metal shop having a shear of sufficient capacity and have them "blank" all the exterior straight edges to finish size.

For your first part let the first tool after the shear be a hand hacksaw with a bi-metal 18 pitch blade. 1/8" stainless hacksaws very well if you don't rush it. Make about 30 to 40 full length strokes per minute with enough feeding force to make the blade cut.

Don't let the blade glide over the metal on the return stroke; draw it back with little or no contact with the work.

Hacksawing sheet metal makes noise. Make some oversized wood jaws for your vise. Woodworker's vises aree excellent tools for hacksawing and filing sheet metal.

Hacksaw the interior angles and other features of the first pieces and file the edges of the work to any degree of perfection you can manage. Future pieces can be blanked on a shear, stacked to be milled, hacksawed, or band sawed, and then drilled and finished as needed.

If you plan to make a dozen parts at a time it becomes economical to have them cut on a CNC plasma machine. Most full service steel suppliers either have a CNC plasma cutter on hand or can refer you to someone who does. The plasma cut edge will likely need only polishing. All you need to take them is a full scale dimensioned sketch or a sample part. They can also make all the holes and shaped cutouts.

There are many options for the project you describe. I've mentioned only a few. I wouldn't suggest you friction saw stinless. It's a bit much for a low equipment metal work learner to handle.

Ther's no effective sealer for 300 series stainless. Any organic coating will eventually be attacked by the envrionment/sunlight and turn brown. A simple de-burr, dress, and polish is all you really need. There's an electro-chemical polishing/passivation process used for stainless yacht hardware that stays bright for years.

[This message has been edited by Forrest Addy (edited 10-27-2002).]

want2lern
10-27-2002, 05:36 AM
OK... now if I could get you all to be a little more specific for me (remember, I know nothing about metal working).

1) If I wanted to buy tools to make this part; specifically what tools would I need? I'm not sure if any old band saw with the correct blade will do or if there is a special kind I sould look for? What blade should I use? Any other advice?

2) If I wanted to setup a basic home work shop for common metal working tasks what tools would I want to have in that shop?

3) What could I expect to pay for the tools in question #2?

4) How do I choose which brand/model tool to buy? I see a lot of Harbour Freight type ads for mills, band saws, etc... but I
am leary of these stores for something I know little about. Since I am just learning I do not want to make things harder for myself by purchasing the cheapest tools I can find... I'd rather buy a good used tool rather than a cheap new one.

5) Could someone recommend a good book for someone starting out in metal working that would help identify what tools to use for which metal working task. Like most things the ansewer to this one is probably something like "It depends on what you want to do with it?" So... my basic interest is motorcycle customizing. I don't expect to make engine parts just the cosmetic stuff. Hopefully that will help narrow things down a bit.

Thanks again for the help,

Chris

RPease
10-27-2002, 10:23 AM
Chris,

Welcome to the WWMW (Wonderful World of Metal Working)!! I am going to leave answers to your questions to the more "expert" members (as I am a beginner myself), but would like to offer this small advice. (BTW - sometimes "beginner" means only being at something like metal working for 5-10 years -IMHO).

If you want to keep the responses to a question like, "...what tools do I need..." down to 1 or 2 pages, you will have to be "very" specific in your requests. You put (at least) enough questions to these guys to fill up a large book.

No doubt they/we will "relish" the opportunity to answer as many questions as possible, but I guarantee most answers will cause (nay I say "require") many more questions, either on your part or theirs.

Suffice it to say, "There AIN'T no easy answers". Right THRUD????

Regards,
Rodger

want2lern
10-27-2002, 11:31 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> most answers will cause (nay I say "require") many more questions, either on your part or theirs.
[/B]</font>

Thanks Roger... As a Software Engineer I shuddered as I wrote my posts on this thread because in my words I heard every lame explanation from every "end user" I have every interviewed trying to explain what some new software package or feature should do. The problem with being new to something is... you don't even know how to ask the question. The problem with being an expert at something is... at some point you know too much to answer the simple questions.... there are so many pitfalls and so many hard leassons learned that it is difficult to let yourself say the words. So, let me attempt to provide relavent detail...

I want to start working with metal as a hobby. The target project is simply making some custom (cosmetic, not engine components) parts for my motorcycle. Now here is the part where I am not sure what information would be helpfull to those trying to answer my question...

1) Scale - most pieces and parts when completed would fit into a shoe box. Not talking about large scale projects here.

2) Stock Material - I envision working with materials less than 1" thick... flat, square, and round stock.

3) Material - Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Other (harder rather than softer materials - not completely sure here what materials I will eventually need to use but given the application I assume harder rather than softer).

4) Types of alterations - cut to shape, drill/mill/countersink holes, clean/shape rough cut edges, polish.

Now the hard part...

Where do I start?

My thinking here is to take a simple project (see description of project below) and see if I can learn enough through the project to acquire some fundamental tools and produce a quality finished project. I know that if I were to take this to a professional shop the tools put to this task would be quality, high-end machines, way out of my league... so the challenge here for me is to see if I can learn what tools could be used in this project at the hobbiest/home workshop level.

PROJECT:

The project is a simple license plate mounting plate. It needs to bolt to an existing bracket mounted to the rear fender of the motorcycle. The shape is mostly rectangular with 6 holes (1 in each corner and two others 1" in from either short side but evenly spaced from the corner holes).
The stock material is 1/8" Stainless Steel 12" x 18". The stock material will need to be cut down to a finished size of 7-1/2" x 4-1/4". I say mostly rectangular because in the middle of one of the long sides of the rectangle is a triangular shaped tab that extends 3/4" from the center of that side.

(the drawing below may or may not work)

^
/ \
--------/ \---------
| O O |
| |
| O O |
| O O |
----------------------

All corners of this material once cut will need to be evenly rounded. All holes will need to be countersunk. Final piece will need to be polished to a chrome like finish.

My Objectives:

1) Learn what tools need to be used to perform these specific tasks.

2) Identify brands, makes, models, key performance metrics of those tools so that I can research and purchase from the new/used markletplace.

3) Complete my first project.

Hopefully, this will help narrow things down a bit. I very much appreciate the efforts to help here.

Cheers,

Chris

chip's
10-27-2002, 01:21 PM
Want2lern,
Welcome here. It's always nice to have more people wanting to do this kind of work.
The bandsaw you would need is of the metal cutting type with correct speeds for cutting, some have gear boxes for speeds, others pulleys and belts. It would need to be a vertical type or a horizontal / vertical. The wood cutting type goes too fast. Maybe you could make a real neat speed reducer for one though and let us know how it works when you are able.
Best of luck with learning, Rick.

Arcane
10-27-2002, 01:44 PM
I bought a smaller sized plasma cutter specifically for cutting sheet metal. On 22 gauge it makes the best cut you could ask for, just a litte slag on the backside that almost drops off on its own and the cut edge is smooth to the touch...no chance of a sliced finger or metal sliver whatsoever. I have used it on .125 and it does just as nice a job on that too. It is a drag tip variety and I have made templates to do multiple parts when I needed several of the same item. (Also straight edges for cutting straight lines.) I know they are rather pricey, but you will never regret having one if you do any amount of sheetmetal work.

want2lern
10-27-2002, 03:30 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by chip's:
The bandsaw you would need is of the metal cutting type with correct speeds for cutting, some have gear boxes for speeds, others pulleys and belts. It would need to be a vertical type or a horizontal / vertical. </font>

Rick,

Thanks for the info... any chance you could give me some metal band saw guidelines for purchasing? What speed range do I need to look for? Any brands/models that you know of that would be a good starter saw?

Thanks again,

Chris

want2lern
10-27-2002, 03:32 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Arcane:
I bought a smaller sized plasma cutter specifically for cutting sheet metal. On 22 gauge it makes the best cut you could ask for, just a litte slag on the backside that almost drops off on its own and the cut edge is smooth to the touch...no chance of a sliced finger or metal sliver whatsoever. I have used it on .125 and it does just as nice a job on that too. It is a drag tip variety and I have made templates to do multiple parts when I needed several of the same item. (Also straight edges for cutting straight lines.) I know they are rather pricey, but you will never regret having one if you do any amount of sheetmetal work.</font>

Thanks... I wondered about one of these. I'll do some research into prices and brands. Since you have been using one are there any features good or bad that you could share?

Thanks,

Chris

Al Messer
10-27-2002, 03:48 PM
Before you go out and spend a lot of money for a metal cutting bandsaw, See if you cannot "slow" yours down by changing the diameter for the drive pulleys, or make a simple compound speed reducing devise first. If you're successful in adapting your saw to cut metal, then you can invest those funds into a metal-drilling drill press or mill/drill as most of the ones sold for the "average consumer" are way too fast for drilling large holes in steel. Later on, you may want to consider buying a lathe and a mill. Good luck and may success reward your patience!!

want2lern
10-27-2002, 04:00 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Al Messer:
Before you go out and spend a lot of money for a metal cutting bandsaw, See if you cannot "slow" yours down by changing the diameter for the drive pulleys, or make a simple compound speed reducing devise first. </font>

Al,

I need to buy a band saw anyway so I wanted to make certain I was getting one with the right cutting capabilities for the project at hand. Any advice on cutting speeds, features, brands, approx. cost would be helpful. I do have a variable speed drill press. Other than the drill press I will be building my metal working shop from scratch.

Thanks,

Chris

chip's
10-27-2002, 06:58 PM
Chris,
I will email some info to you asap.
Rick