I have some acrylic dowels and brass pipes that I need to cut. I was planning on using the band saw and belt grinder in the meal shop, which I’d need the metal shop safety class to do. I don’t see any scheduled in the foreseeable future — are there plans to schedule one any time? Or is there a different class I’m meant to take?
P.S. I’m assuming the metal shop is the place to cut acrylic; pretty sure it’s not the band saws in the woodshop. Let me know otherwise.
The metal shop is finishing up a major reorganization, and the Metal Shop Safety class syllabus is still being finalized. Hopefully both will be finished soon and classes can be scheduled in a few weeks. In the meantime, if you need to accomplish a specific task, talk to a metal shop steward (such as myself) to get help regarding that.
Plastics are the overlooked middle child of the shop areas. As a general rule, treat soft plastics like hard woods and hard plastics like soft metals, subject to the caveat that you have to be very careful about heat buildup. Melting plastic onto a tool is very bad of course, but even short of that, heat can change the properties of plastics in all sorts of ways.
Acrylic is more forgiving than other plastics in that regard as long as you don’t melt it. And it’s kind of mid-range for plastic hardness, so generally you can use either wood shop or metal shop saws on it. Some wood shop tools specifically forbid plastics, such as the Jet band saw.
What size are the acrylic dowels? The chop saw is likely your best choice within the wood shop, and in general. The table saw with a cross cut sled might also work.
You could also probably cut the acrylic on the horizontal band saw, which is likely the right tool for the brass pipes as well. I, or any willing metal shop steward, can instruct you on its proper use if you need help before the class can be scheduled.
The acrylic dowels and brass pipes are both about ½’’ diameter. The dowels need to be ripped in half lengthwise, which is why the bandsaw was my first thought. The pipes need a long notch cut down the side; unless anyone has a better idea, my plan was to start with a cutoff wheel on the Dremel, cut the majority on a bandsaw, then finish on the metal grinder.
If there’s any legwork I can help with in getting the metal shop up and running let me know. In the meantime, if there’s anyone who can show me how to use what I need in the shop to make these few cuts, I’d be grateful!
Lengthwise… wow. Not what I was imagining, and a lot more difficult. How long are they?
I don’t know how the Rikon or Grizzly (wood shop) band saws would handle that. Your best bet probably is indeed in the metal shop, on the DoAll. But the current blade is bad and we are waiting on new ones.
I can’t quite picture what you mean for the pipes, but I suspect the DoAll is the right tool there too. So first look for an announcement, hopefully soon, that it is back in action. Then we’ll see if I or someone else can help you use it.
I’ll be sending out a call to get some help running the metal shop power soon, but right now I’m still in the planning and ordering parts stage, which can’t really be delegated.
Yep, much more difficult than just cutting the length. They’re 24’’ long. I’ve seen others have good success making a little sled to keep the dowel from rocking, will be an experiment for sure. Roger that on the DoAll; this is what I’m aiming for with the pipes, cutting this “window” or notch or whatever out of the side:
Probably not the answer you were looking for, but I’d make that brass pipe cut on the mill. It’d be really easy to get a nice even window with square corners. You’ve got enough space on each end to clamp the workpiece with V-blocks.
OK, I’ve been thinking about the lengthwise cut. What is your end goal? To get two pieces with a semi-circular cross section, about 1/8” thick, maybe 3/16” at most? Because you’re not getting 1/4”; the kerf will eat a ton of your material. If you want a half-circle cross-section, you can do it, but you’ll only get one per rod.
If you want much accuracy or straightness on either the acrylic or the brass pieces, your best bet may be the mill.
I will be scheduling more mill classes when I can, but I’m a bit overbooked right now. And I’m hoping to make the not-even-offered-yet Metal Shop Safety class a prerequisite to future mill classes. Just stay tuned; everything is in flux.