Continuing with the “small is beautiful” theme, here’s something I cut today, along with the tiny bit I used to do it. The material is machinable wax, and it’s for the guy across the hall from my shop, who is expanding and developing his foundry skills. This will be used to make a pattern for casting the parts in aluminum. He provided me with a 2D drawing, which I then converted into 3D geometry. This is my first real foray into the world of engraving, and I’m looking forward to doing more of it.
On a recent sign project with some smallish letters I cut this with a 1/16″ (1.6MM) bit and it turned out pretty nicely:
If you’ve never tried to cut aluminum with a router, you might not know that it can be pretty difficult to keep little “tongues” of metal like you see in the above photo from bending and moving around from the force of the spinning bit.
I cut matching pieces out of acrylic that exactly fit in the cutouts above, but I forgot to take pictures of them.
The material is .050″ thick aluminum, provided by the guy who was assembling, finishing, and installing the sign. It comes with the white paint expertly applied at the factory, and it’s easy to just scuff sand it a little bit and spray whatever paint you want over it. Considering how hard it can be to apply a coat of paint on bare aluminum that will resist peeling, it seems like a pretty smart move. It cuts just as well as shiny bare aluminum.