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Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

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  • Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

    Hey,



    In this crude diagram is a piece of aluminum 1 1/2" x 1/2"x4-8" long and what I need done is shown: Cut a curved underside into the metal.

    What would be the best way to do this without a milling machine? I don't have a drill press but if one is needed I would get one. Is it possible to take a 2" end milling bit and put it in the drill press chuck and cut it out that way? Or is there a high-quality metal cutting blade that I can put in my table saw and run though?

    Any suggestions very appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

    the drawing did not open for me any way,
    but I was able to go to photo bucket and see it I think,

    a bar 1 1/2" tall by 8" or so long, 1 1/2" wide, with a semi circle out of the side of it, about a 2 inch diamator.

    yes you can use a drill press if you only use down cutting, if you use any side pressure the chuck will come lose if it is a tapered socket, such as a mortise taper, (most of you better drill presses have a mortise taper, on the chuck and some times there is a jacobs taper on the chuck it self) but side pressure usually will cause it to pop lose, holding a 2" cutter will be more of a problem.

    I would think a good carbide bit, (jsut a framing blade 7 1/4) in a table saw would cut the aluminum if very small shallow cuts were made, would probly have to make a jig and use a diagonal cut to get that shape,

    MAKE A JIG AND KEEP HANDS AND FINGERS AWAY, WEAR EYE PROTECTION IF YOU TRY THIS.

    as I write this a thought come to mind, use a HOLE SAW, get a block of wood the same height, clamp the aluminum piece to the wood, (I would suggest a drill press for squareness), but start the whole saw, and lap into the aluminum piece and saw through it , use wd 40 or some lubricant, (aluminium is kinda hard to mill as it will build up on the cutting tools if not lubricated and oil does not seem to work as well as something lighter) to help in cutting drill a few holes for the chips to drop out in the wood, in the circle of the saw path,

    I would suggest a hard wood so the saw does not pull to the softer wood side, as easly,

    the problem with the mill cutter is holding the milling cutter, as most chucks probly would not accommodate the shaft, size of the mill, and the cost of the mill,

    you may need to sand the cut some but a small drum sander in a drill should work,

    when I am working with steel many times I will mill/drill out the cut and then cut it in half to make two pieces many times easier than trying to mill jsut a half of some thing,

    If one has access to a lathe and a 4 jaw chuck one could chuck it up and use a boring bar and cut the shape,

    one could use a hack saw/ band saw, and saw many slots and break away the slots and sand it out with a drum sander,
    I think the hole saw would probably be the rout I would choose with minimal tools,
    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
    attributed to Samuel Johnson
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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    • #3
      Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

      Thanks alot for replying.

      Yeah, concerning the side pressure on the drill press, that's what I was unsure about. I didn't want to order a $200 mill bit and not be able to use it.

      The table saw idea would work well enough I think, but I think you're on the right path with the hole saw. I understood your description of clamping wood to the aluminum then cutting the hole through the materials to make the 'U' shape. Is there any metal bit you'd suggest for this operation?

      The purpose of all this is my building of a Vibraphone, so I'll be making about 20-30 of these cuts so I'll need a pretty solid bit.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

        Please don't use a drill press as a milling machine unless the spindle has heavy tapered roller bearing support. The normal ball bearings used aren't made for radial loading. Using a really good setup and slow spindle and feed rates you might be able to use a good hole saw. What are the quality requirements for this job?

        If you can find it REALTON A-9 Aluminium Cutting Fluid should help you. I did find a MSDS for it and that may help you with finding more about this product. Please see below. Please pay attention to all SAFETY warnings in the MSDS. There is info about contacting the manufacture.
        Attached Files

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

          Quality requirements are pretty low as the hole won't be seen, it's only for function. I just need to take that circular chunk out of the underside, I can file it smooth if needed.

          I'll look into that cutting fluid, anything can help.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

            In my area selection of hole saws is not plenty full unless I mail order, Lenox makes a good blade, http://www.lenoxtools.com/enUS/Products/HOLE_SAWS.html most all of the name brand companies make a good saw, as far as a actually suggestion I really do not have the experience in brands to guide you, and even Branded saws normally are good if there sold by a reputable company, I would probly write a few companies and ask them for there recommendations.

            If you have 20+ or so to do, you may want to jsut go ask a machine shop what it would cost to have it done, many times the set up time on one item is what kills one pocket book at a machine shop, but if you have 20+ or so, it may be worth your wile to check into it, they get it set up and probly could have them done in a short time,

            If you choose to DIY you could probly set it up to do two at once, clamped with a wood filler in the center,

            also you may need the deep saw (simply check and see how deep the saw will cut). one can cut from both sides if nessary.
            Last edited by BHD; 08-13-2008, 10:26 AM.
            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
            attributed to Samuel Johnson
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

              I would agree with BHD that for making 20+ hiring it done at a machine shop would most likely be the way to go. This could be setup in a 4 jaw chuck on a lathe and bored as a 1/2 circle using a boring bar. They could also set it up on a CNC vertical milling machine depending on what machines they have. They would have proper cutting fluids as well. All you would do is supply the material or spec it and have them supply it. This would be much easier on you.

              I had to go back and read your first post again. I had the idea you wanted one or two total.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

                just looked up to see what a Vibraphone was, won't the consistency of the cut have to fairly exact for the pitch to work out right? or to keep the tone consistence, guessing the length of the block sets the pitch, vibrations, but I would think if there are inconsistencies in the depth of that cut, (guessing it is the back side of where the mallets strikes the key, and guessing the aluminum blocks are the keys),
                does after striking the blocks the tubes then resonate at tone, of the key struck?

                from the pictures I pulled up on google (granted I do not have the plans) but the 1 1/2" looks a little thick for the keys? that I see?
                Attached Files
                Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                attributed to Samuel Johnson
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

                  I'm not sure how this became a Vibraphone but if that's the case the tone bars would have to be a special alloy steel and very careful and exacting machining done on them. Just one tiny cut with a file would really change the tonal quality and pitch. Even good quality single tone block-bars don't come cheap.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

                    Originally posted by comeondieyoung View Post

                    The purpose of all this is my building of a

                    Vibraphone,

                    so I'll be making about 20-30 of these cuts so I'll need a pretty solid bit.
                    That is his stated purpose in second post,

                    that is what I was thinking similar to Woussko in that I think one could tune the bars but if not precise I would think the quality of the vibration would change,

                    jsut like making flutes out of different woods, the pitch of the note may be the same but the sound of that is produced is different, now I am not a Luther but have made some stuff and I know the wood used makes a different in the mellowness of the sound, so I would guess the relief in the back of the key would do similar, on Vibraphone,

                    I am not saying do not try it, but I would make one or two and experiment if possible before investing a lot of time and money.
                    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                    attributed to Samuel Johnson
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

                      WHOA

                      Aluminum isn't going to work for this. Tone bars are made out of special allow multi stage tempered steel. An aluminum one would sound as bad as if it were made from scrap plastic. This is like with musical instruments. It has to be EXACTLY right in every way or the instrument sounds worse than a child's toy one would. Considering the many millions of hours in working things out and millions of $$$ spent to get the design and machining for a vibrophone worked out, please consider buying a good used (or better yet new) one made by a reputable manufacture and do play every note and chord you can on it before putting down any money. Years back in high school we had one and I can remember that a few degrees in room temp change would throw it slightly out of pitch. If you looked, there was info on the name plate saying it needed to be at 68-74F and 35-65% relative humidity before playing and to allow several hours to stabilize. I think it was made by DEGON (spelling?) It's been a long time but I still remember you could see very light hand scraping/file marks on the bars for tuning and voicing them. This is where 1/10,000 inch did make a difference. Really

                      I remember the music teacher telling that for every one good bar made they had about 50 that were off pitch or just sounded bad. They were being shipped to China as toys and/or to be tuned 1/4 tone higher as over there many instruments are made to 1/4 tones. This is why their music sounds very different. We do 12 semi tones per octive while they have many more.

                      For fun you might make up one bar and mount it on lively rubber over a hollowed out wood block. Then strike it and do a sound check. I doubt you'll like what it sounds like at all. A vibraphone has tuned tubes on the underside with moving flappers to give it the Wooo-ooo-ooo-ooo sound. If you can find a good factory made one, just stare long and hard at it. You'll see there's far more to one than we would think on first sight.
                      Last edited by Woussko; 08-13-2008, 09:05 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

                        Please read up. I think this will give us a better idea of what a vibraphone is all about.
                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibraphone

                        This is a pretty good video with respectable sound quality. Many home videos have really poor sound. This one is pretty good, but it's sure not like hearing one played live. You would not believe the sound a good one makes when well played.
                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZt7VySrAEE

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zHuZ5B0Pus&NR=1
                        Last edited by Woussko; 08-13-2008, 09:12 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

                          I'm going to try to find out what companies if any still make quality vibraphones. I would really hate the idea of digital synthetic one. Do it right. Do it REAL.

                          Here are a few videos that sort of show the parts of one made up. I think you'll get the reason why trying to make one on your own will end up with much hair pulled out and howling at best.
                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEOms...eature=related
                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0DYk...eature=related
                          Last edited by Woussko; 08-13-2008, 09:22 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

                            Originally posted by BHD View Post
                            from the pictures I pulled up on google (granted I do not have the plans) but the 1 1/2" looks a little thick for the keys? that I see?
                            Each key is actually only a 1/2" thick, by a 1 1/2" wide and varying length.

                            And concerning how exact one must be with cutting the underside, you have a good bit of room to work, surprisingly. I made a single scale "vibraphone" out of hollow aluminum and in order to make the pitch exact I had to cut quite a bit off.

                            I'm not using a high-grade aluminum as this is my first shot at a "real" vibe, so I'll be alright with what I have to test the waters.

                            But I can agree with the idea of taking it to a machine shop. I think I'll shop around to see what something like that would cost. Part of me would like to complete the project 100% and I don't mind putting alot of time into it, but if it's not too expensive, it may be worth it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Milling bit? Metal cutting blade?

                              Originally posted by Woussko View Post
                              For fun you might make up one bar and mount it on lively rubber over a hollowed out wood block. Then strike it and do a sound check. I doubt you'll like what it sounds like at all. A vibraphone has tuned tubes on the underside with moving flappers to give it the Wooo-ooo-ooo-ooo sound. If you can find a good factory made one, just stare long and hard at it. You'll see there's far more to one than we would think on first sight.
                              Sorry for the double post...

                              I've already made a single bar out of the metal I'm using and it sounds just fine. I've played the vibes in the past and I'm very familiar with their sound and construction, I just don't feel like putting down $1500 for even a used one. I've made a lot of my own instruments and I like the challenge of making a whole vibe.

                              As for the cost, all the aluminum needed was only $40. I have free access to tubes used as resonator tubes and you can by vibe stands with wheels on eBay for $30. So, the cost is incredibly low and the challenge of making something that sounds decent is appealing.

                              The only snag is getting the undersides cut out, and yeah, getting them machined would be the most accurate way to go.

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