How to cut brass discs with woodworking tools

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Snettymakes

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I’m after some advise on cutting brass (also copper, bronze and aluminium) discs from 25mm diameter rods (round stock?). Obviously the right tool for this would be a metal cutting bandsaw, but alas all I have is a woodworking workshop.

I have successfully cut brass on my cheapo bandsaw with a fine toothed blade, but the blade wandered setting awful and parallel cuts are critical. Copper overheated the stock (I think it melted a bit 😳).

I’m guessing that to cut through metal that thick I need to use a low tpi blade as if I were ripping planks, and a wide blade to keep the cut true?
 

Alpha-Dave

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Sounds like you are making life hard for yourself; cutting discs from a sheet would be far easier than from rod.

If you are committed to using rod, then how many do you need? Less than 10 per week, I would use a hacksaw by hand, then use a file to clean up the surface. Solid fixing the workpiece is key, where a vice is useful, but a couple of G-clamps will do the job.
 

Alpha-Dave

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Using a ‘cutting’ chop-saw (rather than grinding), I can get slices of aluminium and steel that are <0.5 mm but will lose 2-3 mm in the cut as swarf.
 

Snettymakes

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Sounds like you are making life hard for yourself; cutting discs from a sheet would be far easier than from rod.

If you are committed to using rod, then how many do you need? Less than 10 per week, I would use a hacksaw by hand, then use a file to clean up the surface. Solid fixing the workpiece is key, where a vice is useful, but a couple of G-clamps will do the job.

yes some context would have been helpful. I’m making walking sticks for sale on Etsy, and the metal discs act as a transition between cane and handle. So I need the process to be repeatable and quick . Using hand tools is out of the question unfortunately.

I started out using brass sheet but it results in to much cleanup. Though now I think about it, a circle cutting jig would obviously improve that and as each disc ends up with a hole in the middle (for a pin/tenon that joins the handle and cane) then I could start with the hole and use that for the jig pivot 🤔.

I should have posted here weeks ago 🙄.
 

Snettymakes

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Perhaps find someone with a metal lathe, and have them part them off ?
What thickness do the discs need to be, and how many do you need to
produce ?

Approaching a metal worker to make these for me is definitely in my plans for the future, but I need income from my Etsy store to fund that.
 

Daniel2

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Can't you find a model engineer local to you, to knock off a few ?
I would happily do it for you (for nothing, to get you started), but
I'm too far away.
 

Snettymakes

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Google them, they are washers after all,
edit, quick 30 second search Brass 10mm Inside Washer and 25mm Outside [PLU71075] - Lampspares
OK there is a cost, but you will spend more in time faffing about making them

I had the same thought. They aren’t thick enough, but I bought some anyway and they turned out to not be completely flat either, somewhat cone shaped. Shame because washers would be the perfect solution if they could be obtained in the right sizes ☹️
 

Snettymakes

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Can't you find a model engineer local to you, to knock off a few ?
I would happily do it for you (for nothing, to get you started), but
I'm too far away.

Maybe this would be easier than I expected. I’m going to try a circle cutting jig first, and then maybe.

It’s not just the price, but agility. I’m learning a lot about dimensions and materials, and that involves trying many things, so being able to do it myself speeds all of that up.
 

Fitzroy

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Would a hole saw in a drill press not produce what you need from a sheet?

Or the correct blade on a table saw with a cross cut sled, from bar stock.
 

Snettymakes

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Would a hole saw in a drill press not produce what you need from a sheet?

Or the correct blade on a table saw with a cross cut sled, from bar stock.

would it be ok to use a table saw? I know brass is soft and you can use a bandsaw to cut it, but not so sure about a table saw blade.

I’d be afraid to put that big a blade through that much material. Even with an appropriate jig for safety, bar stock would make a hell of a projectile.
 

Sideways

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Brass is horrid to clean up. I renovated an old lathe that had been used to turn brass dry and it was everywhere. Personally I would not want it in my tablesaw, BUT, thinking aloud :
An old Metabo KGS variable speed circular saw I owned was rated for metal cutting. The manual said to dial down the speed and I have happily cut several feet of 16mm thick aluminium plate with it this way.
You could reduce the speed and increase the torque of a tablesaw by fitting an undersized blade that gave you just enough depth of cut to get through your 1" brass. I would be aiming for half speed or less so would suggest as small a blade as you can as that will be a challenge to reach.
 

Alpha-Dave

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I have the Evolution Rage4 saw, which I mostly use for steel and aluminium, It would probably do what you want:

~£100 from various places.

 
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