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Old 08-17-2019, 09:22 AM   #1
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laser cutting questions


My hobby is making jewelry out of copper, then firing colorful glass powder to enamel the copper. Cutting shapes from copper is slow and tedious and keeps me from the part I love which is enameling. I have purchased some pre-cut "blanks" online but the supply is limited and expensive. I'm thinking about having a large number of my own blanks made by a laser cutting outfit. The problem is, I know nothing about the feasibility of this idea and hoping some more knowledgeable people here will educate me.


What I want:


Small (approx. 2 inch) blanks/charms cut from 22 gauge copper. Finished or semi-finished edges on them would be important.

Multiple cuts of the same type
+/- 30 different designs
Willing to request enough to make the cutting worthwhile, I think but have no idea what "enough" might be.


Am I dreaming or is this possible and who/ what kind of outfit would I go to get the work done?



Is what I want possible?
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:09 AM   #2
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Re: laser cutting questions


Where I live is pretty industrial, so laser cutting places are pretty common. Some shops will do primarily just the laser cutting, but its getting more common for sheet metal shops to have a laser cutting machine. Just google "laser cutting name-of-my-town".

Copper is pretty reflective, so is not great for laser cutting, but since you are only talking 22 GA, I doubt they will have any problem with it, but you will have to check with the shop.

If you are talking small squares, that is pretty easy to define. But don't assume they will have 22 GA copper in stock. If you are talking about shapes, I doubt they will have much interest in drawing/programming shapes from your hand sketches. You would have to get Draftsight or similar and learn to draw out the shape, and give them a .dwg file.
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:00 AM   #3
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Re: laser cutting questions


Thanks! Exactly the information I need. I have an autocad .dwg file ready to go. Had no idea reflective material would affect cutting, but yeah, 22 gauge is just about right for my work, and I'm pretty sure there is a metal seller near me where I can buy copper sheets.
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Old 08-17-2019, 05:36 PM   #4
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Re: laser cutting questions


I own laser and waterjet equipment. It would be important to have flat sheet, not a roll so the material can lay very flat in the machine.

You are probably best to convert your dwg file to DXF, as this is a more universal format for 2D patterns. Autocad can export a dxf.

Be prepared that most larger shops will not run just 20-30 of these, they will want to run an entire sheet or have a hefty minimum charge to cover the time for programming, setup, and detabbing.

On the flip side, you may find some fun ways to make punch dies to use at home, though that will take some metal skills to make them.
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:53 PM   #5
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Re: laser cutting questions


For lots of small cutouts in metal I would use a stamping machine or find someone in China or Vietnam who is already doing this. Check the Alibaba website.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:31 PM   #6
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Re: laser cutting questions


You didn't specify the intricacy of your shapes, but 22 ga sheet stock is about 1/32, well within the capability of common hand held snips. Or even a small band saw with a 1/4" blade for scrolling and very fine teeth could cut out shapes. A small bench disc sander with a fine grit disc could be used to smooth out the edges.
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