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Cutting curves in plasticard? Cutting brass (at all)?


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I have been struggling to cut curves in plasticard without the knife doing straight segments in it, so I have been wondering, how do you do it? I've seen people's work with curves cut into them, but I just can't seem to do it myself. Do you have any tips?

 

I've also thought a little bit about working with brass, but I don't really know what tools to use to cut it. Any tips here?

 

Thanks for any information you can provide!

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Try using a 'compass cutter' for curves in plasticard - as for cutting curves in brass or very thick plasticard (>46 thou) , a fretsaw with a fine tooth blade is your best bet.

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For curves in plastcard I use a Olfa compass cutter.

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/OLFA-Compass-Cutter-And-5-Cutter-Blades-CMP-1/164010523107?epid=2254772265&hash=item262fc9f9e3:g:zogAAOSw50VeCPKI

 

For brass the most useful tool is a piercing saw.

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Adjustable-Jewellers-Piercing-Saw-Frame-Tool-With-Over-100-Spare-1-0-Blades/324177175563?hash=item4b7a77240b:g:ZLgAAOSwIzpey6yR

 

For thin brass you need fine blades typically 4/0, but best to by a bulk pack such as

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-0-to-6-0-1-to-6-Jewellers-Saw-Blades-Pack-288-Various-Piercing-Blades-tool/293187973421?hash=item44435d712d:g:kg0AAOSwB-1Y79fp

 

The saw will take some practice to get use to, and is also best used with a table such as this. Either bought or home made.

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Tony Cane said:

The saw will take some practice to get use to, and is also best used with a table such as this. Either bought or home made.

 

AKA a "jeweller's peg" - useful to know if you want to search for one online.  Brenton, the silversmith on The Repair Shop, is often shown using one.  Can be acquired fairly cheaply if you shop around.

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Agree with all the above. Make sure the saw is the adjustable type.

The choice of blade is important for cutting Plasticard. Everyone has their own favourite but it is important to use a small sharp blade in a handle you feel comfortable with. My choice is the  Exacto #2. 

Thin plasticard ( and shim brass) can be cut with a pair of sharp scissors. The thing is to keep trying and learning.

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All good tips above. If I can add a couple more, firstly for plastic, don’t press too hard. For both materials if you cut on the waste side of your line you can then file back to shape, cheap nail files are handy for plastic.

 

Don’t worry if you get it wrong first time, it is all part of the learning curve, we have all been there.

 

Brian

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2 hours ago, ejstubbs said:

 

AKA a "jeweller's peg" - useful to know if you want to search for one online.  Brenton, the silversmith on The Repair Shop, is often shown using one.  Can be acquired fairly cheaply if you shop around.

 

If you want to use it for brass, I recommend to drill a 3mm hole into one of the wings. Thread the saw blad through the hole or use the saw to make a narrow slot to the hole. The advantage of the small hole is that thin brass doesn't bounce while sawing.

 

If the saw isn't moving smoothly, your blades are too coarse. As a rule of thumb, at least three teeth should be in contact with the brass sheet.

 

and most importantly: cheap saw blades are a pain in ....

 

For straight cuts in brass, use an OLFA PC-L scorer and a steel ruler.

 

Michael

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6 hours ago, TrainMan2001 said:

I have been struggling to cut curves in plasticard without the knife doing straight segments in it, so I have been wondering, how do you do it? I've seen people's work with curves cut into them, but I just can't seem to do it myself. Do you have any tips?

 

I've also thought a little bit about working with brass, but I don't really know what tools to use to cut it. Any tips here?

 

Thanks for any information you can provide!

 

I rarely use a blade to cut plastic card, I use a scriber (kept for the purpose so it stays sharp) and use several passes, rather than cutting through it one go. 

 

As other have said there are several proprietary products for cutting circles, but for other curves I use the scriber and either a card template, french curves or one of those flex-curves as a guide.

 

jh

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I've recently needed to effect a repair on an older Wickes electric tile cutter. The part, which enclosed the blade underneath and went into the water bath, was 2mm thick plastic.

 

I sourced some off ebay, used the older part(s) as a template and scored round it. I then cut it out using an electric jigsaw with a fine toothed blade, on a low speed . The work of two minutes to produce quite a complex shape.

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It's been a while since I cut curves in brass, but for plasticard I stick a drawing into it and then, with a sharp, pointed scalpel, just push into it. Finish off with a file, using a finger to judge if the radius is constant. 

Cheers

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For cutting thin brass (< 0.5mm) snips may be better than a saw. It's hard to get enough teeth in contact on 0.35mm sheet, so the saw catches and judders. Finer blades judder less but are easier to brake. Snips are quicker and easier to control, but do tend to curl up the brass. If the brass is very thin (0.25mm or less) it can be cut with good scissors ... but they won't stay good scissors for very long if used like that.

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1 hour ago, Guy Rixon said:

For cutting thin brass (< 0.5mm) snips may be better than a saw. It's hard to get enough teeth in contact on 0.35mm sheet, so the saw catches and judders. Finer blades judder less but are easier to brake. Snips are quicker and easier to control, but do tend to curl up the brass. If the brass is very thin (0.25mm or less) it can be cut with good scissors ... but they won't stay good scissors for very long if used like that.

Amazingly I have had only two pairs in twenty years. Both ( pinched from the kitchen) have had a hard life in the garage cutting fibreglass etc etc. The first pair were retired when the plastic handle broke. Neither were expensive, the type that can be bought in the kitchenware department for around a fiver. Thicker brass goes through the bandsaw leaving around a millimeter to clean up with a file. It helps to feed it through the bandsaw on piece of sacreficial hardboard.

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