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Post Mon May 05, 2003 11:07 pm

Material cutting help

I have been given by a retiring sign writer various sheet materials.

I know how to cut foamex etc but one material seems to be a layer of black plastic, sandwiched between two thin layers of aluminium on the surface, is this the so called alucolour or similar?? How do I go about cutting this material??

also what is the best way of cutting perspex, I have always used a jigsaw in the past but this leaves a rough edge is ther a better garden shed way of cutting it??
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Post Tue May 06, 2003 8:04 am

Paddy, your sandwich material is dibond, or one of its clones.

Its brilliant stuff. Rigid, lightweight, negligible coefficient of expansion and keeps looking good for years. We use it wherever we can.

About four years ago I paid £1,000 to Keencut for a wall mounted cutter which uses two little wheels to cut this material. It sounds a lot but even though we don't do many signs we have saved that amount many times over in labour alone. In addition we get perfect edges, repeatability and no workshop full of dirt and swarf to clear up afterwards.

We have no equally good way of cutting perspex and consequently avoid using that material. When needs must we will order it cut ready to size from our local supplier.
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Post Tue May 06, 2003 9:12 am

You want garden shed method Paddy? Then use a ‘common or garden’ joiners panel saw, one with fine teeth. Use very little pressure on the saw and keep the angle low. Or use your jig saw.
To clean the edge afterwards you can use a smoothing plane followed by a file. This isn’t going to do the job as well as John’s Keencut, but it will work.
Try and get your supplier to send you an information pack. I have one that describes all aspects of cutting, shaping and joining etc.
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Post Tue May 06, 2003 10:40 am

If you want to cut ally and acrylic with a circular type saw then you should really be using a negative rake blade, prefferably one that is triple chip ground. They are not the cheapest of blades and if you have a cheap B&Q type saw then you might struggle to get one with the right bore but these blades are designed to cut this type of material.
As has already been said you would be better off with the right equipment and Johns keencut produces no dust or swarf so is much cleaner and vinyl friendly.
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Post Tue May 06, 2003 10:40 am

Sorry to be anal, the term is 'common, all garden'. It is a gardening term to describe a plant that is very common. No offense intended, it's just one of those bits of useless info you pick up as you battle through life, great advise by the way. :lol:

Is it not possible to get a wall saw that deals with all materials? I don't have space for more than one but I'd need one to cut foamex, acrylic as well as wood, alluminium and reynobond. Can you change the blades? It strikes me as a useful tool that like John says will save countless hours of labour. I'd invest a £1000 pounds in a wall mounted saw capable of cutting all likely sheet materials, has anybody got any suggestions?

Ramjam
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Post Tue May 06, 2003 10:49 am

Ramjam, yes you can buy panel saws which will cut a variety of materials, there are a few manufacturers I will try and sort something out for you. The main thing to watch is the bore of the saw that is fitter to the machine as you need to be able to change the blades (see my post just above yours). The keencut that John is talking about is not a panel saw though. It works like a big paper trimmer but is obviously much more robust.
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Post Tue May 06, 2003 12:47 pm

The Keencut machine comes with two heads.

The wheely thingy one for cutting dibond and another that takes standard knife blades for cutting foamex, foam centered card and stuff like that.

It can't do acrylic or aluminium. Everybody's requirements are different but my solution for acrylic, as I said above, is to buy it ready cut to size. The aluminium problem is easier - don't use it. Use dibond instead. :D
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Post Tue May 06, 2003 6:59 pm

Hi Guys

I have seen a Keen cut type machine witha a saw blade that clip in instead of the blades this looked like an angle grinder with a blade instead of grinding disk to me.

I wonder if you could convert yours or bolt a roto zip onto it or something to give you more versatility.
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Post Tue May 06, 2003 8:27 pm

I use a table saw that cost me about £500 pounds complete with an extension table. This works well for cutting all thicknesses of forrex, it even cuts acrylic and dibond/Alucolour producing nice clean edges. The downside is it produces a lot of dust, and takes up a fair bit of space. It's fitted with castors on it's back legs so can be lifted and wheeled about the unit when not in use.
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Post Tue May 06, 2003 9:33 pm

i use a rotatrim sawmaster it has a fine circular blade - cuts everything
from foam, dibond, perspex, engraving laminate, ply upto 10mm
50" height perfect for panels leaves a smooth edge and very quick i think they are about £1200, a waste pipe fits into a standard hoover and dust is minimal, if you turn the hoover on!! wall mounted and takes up little space. would not be without it



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Post Wed May 07, 2003 10:41 am

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Post Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:29 pm

Hi,

Sorry to wake up an old topic but...

I'm about to invest in a business expansion and I'd like to tidy up our substrate cutting in general. For a single machine what would you recommend? (Foamex, Dibond, perhaps aluminium, perhaps acrylic)

A Keencust with the cutting wheel or the power saw that Adrian has or is there something else, something new that I should consider?

Regards
Ramjam
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Post Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:33 pm

I would get a wall mounted saw. like the ones used at the DIY super stores
Not sure how much approx £2-3000
They take up no room and are easy to use.

Simon
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Post Mon Sep 08, 2003 6:34 pm

If you have the space a wall saw is a must.

Though they don't take up much room you do need plenty of space around them
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Post Tue Sep 09, 2003 4:58 pm

I've narowed it down to the following 2...

Keencut Excalibur 3000 RRP £1091 - Cuts foamex card etc with a stanley knife blade and with a change of head can cut thin MDF and reynobond Manual operation can cut upto 1600mm, no dust. This machine wth a third head (included) can score acrylic which can then be snapped though this depends on the individual acrylic as to how successful it is.

Rotatrim sawmaster - £1560 - Cuts pretty much anything, has a small motor and a blade cuts upto 1250mm produces dust but with the aid of a vacuum this can be kept to a minimum. Obviously when in use this is noisy.

We mainly make signs on Foamex, Reynobond, Corex and Aluminium. Right now we use a combination of supplier cuts and stanley knives and jigsaws.

Which would you buy?
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Post Tue Sep 09, 2003 6:08 pm

Rotatrim Sawmaster for me
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Post Tue Sep 09, 2003 10:59 pm

rotatrim sawmaster.
also inquire as i think you can put a head on like the other machine for cutting glass and card.

hope to be in haverford-west in a week or two might pop in for a cuppa e mail me a map.
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Post Wed Sep 10, 2003 10:56 am

Fantastic, thanks for the advice.

Is there a cheaper place than rotatrim themselves to buy a sawmaster?

Bob,

You must pop in... About half way between Carmarthen and Haverfordwest is a village called Llanddewi Velfrey on the main road. It has an esso fuel station on the left as you travel towards HW. Take the next right after the Esso and travel 1 mile, turn left and we're the first farm on the left.

See you soon
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Post Wed Sep 10, 2003 1:51 pm

After talking through the whole thing with roattrim I'm going for the keencut. The rotatrim won't (or isn't rated to) cut much more but it is 50% more expensive. I'm buying a keencut from Rotatrim. There are advantages with the sawmaster but not enough to warrant an extra £500 for me.

Thanks for all your advice though, much appreciated.
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Post Wed Sep 10, 2003 1:56 pm

Interested to see how you get on with the rotatrim keencut, Let us know your views - maybe post a product review??
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Post Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:00 pm

i bought the keencut excalibur, great tool and no mess,
i hate the dust!!!

Nicola

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