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Maplehead

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Hi All
I had 3D printed versions of my guitar pickup covers made and they came out pretty cool. However, with my thickness requirement of .020” walls, they are pretty fragile, plus they just don’t have a top knotch quality finish. A lot of work forward woould be needed to get them to a nice finish, but I don’t think it’s worth it given their fragility. So I am back to wanting these covers in nickel silver metal. As somebody stated earlier in another thread of mine on the covers, getting punch and dies made could be $5000 or more. There’s got to be another way around that.
I’ve got the LMS 4700 micro mill, (Sieg SX-1P). Maybe converting it to CNC wouold be much better on cost?
The parts would be small and seem relatively quick and easy on a CNC mill. Does anybody here offer their services?
Any ideas fro how to obtain punch and die for my covers is greatly welcomed.
 

derf

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Have you thought about aluminum? They could be cnc milled and highly polished clear powder coated, or plated. I be willing to give you a quote.
 

Maplehead

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Hi derf
Aluminum isn’t a desired metal for pickup covers, whereas nickel silver is the most preffered. Also, my wall thickness is .020”. That would be hard to mill. However, I think milling the punch and die would be easier than trying to mill the final product. I’ll gladly look at a quote for you milling a punch and die for me. If you can PM me your email address I can send you my CAD files.
 

middle.road

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What was the type of 3D material used?
 

derf

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If you are intending to stay with your original design of the double radius, form stamping is not gonna work because where the 2 radii meet there will be tear out. The only way that might work is to form it progressively. Any way you look at it, the die would have to be a progressive die with at least 3 stations and require a 5 ton press. The first station would punch the holes, the next is forming and the last would be trim. That means it would require a material feeder. I don't believe stamping is a feasible way to do this, given your small quantities.
You mentioned you had some 3D printed, plastic I will assume. If plastic will work, consider this: you can resin cast the parts in a cool color, such as mother of pearl. Casting the parts in a silicone mold will yield parts that are just as smooth and shiny as the master pattern.
 

ttabbal

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For better finish on 3D printed parts, send them to a pro shop with an SLA printer.

Can't really help on doing that design in metal.
 

P. Waller

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Unfortunately you are inside the box.
What you require may easily be produced in VERY large numbers at a price that people will buy but will be prohibitively expensive in small quantities, if you want to make them yourself a Haas TM1 mill may be purchased for less then $45,000 new and is well suited to such small parts.

Set it up, mill the parts then send them out for secondary finishing, plating, painting and so on. This will likely prove entirely to costly for the consumer.

I have a very good friend/customer that is in the contract manufacturing business, a majority of his work is done in China, your part is the type that would benefit from this approach. Large quantities are required to make this profitable however.
 

Maplehead

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Hi ttabbal, the parts were 3D printed at a pro place, Sculpteo. They are just way too flimsy as plastic.
Derf, when you say double radius, do you mean the side plane and top plane with the right edges? If so, I originally wanted the outter edges where the two planes meet to be curved but TurboCad wasn’t letting me do it. I imagined that with a sharp angle as in the pics from the other thread that the edges would just cut through the nickel silver plate.
But given all that, how difficult would it be to make a punch and die for the covers without the holes and without the D logo? I could manually trim andfile the extra and then drill the holes. Maybe I could get the D made elsewhere, like custom lapel pins, and just glue them onto the top of the cover, or press the D in later using a punch and die of the D alone.
One more thing, would the punch and die need to be steel or would aluminum do? The nickel silver sheet is so thin I figure it wouldn’t need too much to form. I have a 12 ton press.
 

GL

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Tom Lipton at Oxtoolco is working on a YouTube series about a micro drill tool and had some of the parts 3D metal printed. I am unfamiliar with the current capability of the process - minimum thickness, material options, etc. He sent a 3D model and got parts back in reasonable time frames, plus seemed pleased with the price. There would be some finish work to polish them up, but if nickel is possible or something close and plateable you may be able to get there in metal instead of plastic. Others may have more expensive and input.
 

whitmore

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I had 3D printed versions of my guitar pickup covers made... wanting these covers in nickel silver metal
I'm not sure how nickel silver works in stamped sheet-metal (nickels are coined, though, so it can't be impossible),
but if you have 3D print of the shape, can you use that to make forms for casting, or even
lost-wax style?

Multiple dies would likely be required to make a deep-drawn shape, but sometimes those aren't expensive
at all: one technique presses the sheet with a block of rubber against the die, so there's only one hard item
for each of the successive forming steps. Annealing between operations is required, and that kiind of
die-forming doesn't make apertures, as I understand it.
 

derf

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The 2 larger radii need to connect with a smaller radius, not a sharp corner. You also need a radius all along the top edge. Everywhere there is a sharp corner needs to be replaced with a radius. I have an idea how to form these without a press, but will require manual trimming and hole drilling, and this could be done on a mill with a hold down fixture.

I pondered this for the last few hours and remembered a project I done over 40 yrs ago.
This is definitely out of the box thinking, but it works because I have done it. I'll probably take some crap about it, but it works.
It's called "fire forming". Back when I was in jr. high school shop class, our instructor was into flintlock rifles and such, and built many by hand "old school". He had a lot of unique methods that he taught us. One of them was fire forming, a process he used to make powder flasks.
One of the projects we done was a copper ash tray that was formed in a die with black powder.
The die simply used a cavity formed like an ash tray, about 1" thick steel block. The copper sheet was placed on top of the cavity, and a 1" cover plate was bolted down to the bottom die. The top had a threaded hole in which a steel nipple was threaded into. We used 15 grains of FFF black powder, and set it off with a percussion cap, using a ball peen hammer. Once you unbolted the 2 halves, you had a perfectly formed ash tray. You then trimmed the outside with shears and finished up with a file.
 

Maplehead

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Rubber die sure sounds like an interesting approach, but then so does forming it within an explosive chamber. Ha! This is thinking out-of-the-box. Interesting gents.
 

GL

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Based on the current thinking (both scholasticly and legally), can you even imagine how fast that would get him fired today, if they even had shop classes still. He would get pounded for making bombs, and again for making ashtrays. But if we get rid of the pyrotechnics, hydro forming is essentially the same process. Wonder how much pressure you would need. A portal power will get 10,000psi, intensifier would get some more. Containing that much pressure might get interesting. May get you out of progressive dies, even if you have to anneal in stages.
 

middle.road

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As GL mentions above, you might look into 3D printed metals.
They can do Steel, SS, Titanium, Aluminum, even precious metals.
Lipton went into a good amount of detail in Part 1 of his series.
 

derf

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See....I knew I'd take some flack about that idea. This was the same class I built a hunting knife that impressed the instructor enough that he told me to go to the office and show the principal. The principal was so impressed, he wanted me to make one for him. I was 14 at the time......those days of common sense, integrity, trust and honor are gone forever.
 

NortonDommi

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Have you thought about using a Hammerform? I don't know what the shape is or how many you want to make but hammerforms are easy to make and depending on complexity piece can be quickly clamped and parts made pretty fast.
 

dulltool17

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See....I knew I'd take some flack about that idea. This was the same class I built a hunting knife that impressed the instructor enough that he told me to go to the office and show the principal. The principal was so impressed, he wanted me to make one for him. I was 14 at the time......those days of common sense, integrity, trust and honor are gone forever.
Yep- just like my High School dean was the man who taught me to make gunstocks...
 

Norseman C.B.

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We had a full on gun smithing class series at my high school, as well as
metal, wood, auto shop, Ag shop and drafting classes WTF happened to our education system ?!?!?!
 

GL

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Derf - Absolutely no flack intended. I wish kids today, and their parents, could learn like the old days. I remember riding in the back of station wagons on foam pads across the country on vacation. And riding in the back of pickup trucks sitting on the edge of the bed leaning on the cab. No seat belts, no cell phones, but no one really worried about where you were. Personal responsibility ruled the day. Other than that barely noticeable tic, we're all just fine - and that magnet doesn't really stick to the plate in our heads much ;). Life involves risk, our tools present many, but being so risk averse that we don't do anything, and blaming someone else for our mistakes, is a poor long term strategy. Nice to have a group of thinking people around where "out of the box" could be most anything, regardless of political correctness.
 

MarkDavis

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Just been reading on 3D metal filaments, the material is powdered metal, 50-70% and polymer.
If the choice of nickel-silver was due to it's ringing quality, my guess is a printed cover will be unsatisfactory.
Not very strong either.

Taking a sheet of nickel silver and hammering to shape in a form will be much stronger than any thing cut from a billet or glued together with plastic.
 

Maplehead

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I agree Mark, I don’t think anything 3D printed is for final work. I bought a bar of aluminum and I will attempt my own simple punch and die and figure out how to draw press these covers. If that works then I will figure out a way to do the real covers with the rounded sides and D logo.
 

Maplehead

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Hi All
Ok, so I made my drawings for my simple punch and die. I'm going to be forming nickel silver that is .020" thick. The dimensions will be 1.25" long by .75" wide with .25" walls.
So here's my approach on how I will make this aluminum die set.
Die opening will be 1.79" x .79" x .406" deep
The bottom inside edge will have a .031" radius
The top of the die will have a .125" radius
Punch will be 1.25" x .75" x.426" tall
The punch top will have a .031" radius on it's edges
I made the .125" radius on the die for allowing the sheet to slide into the die. That portion of the sheet will be trimmed off.
That means the total height of the finished cover will be .25" + .031" equalling .281".
The sheet blank will be 2.14" x 1.64" and will basically go up to the .25" aligning holes.
Any thoughts on how this will go and/or improvements?
 

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whitmore

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So here's my approach on how I will make this aluminum die set.
Die opening will be 1.79" x .79" x .406" deep
Punch will be 1.25" x .75" x.426" tall

The sheet blank will be 2.14" x 1.64"
The sidewall area, that 0.4" step, represents stretching of the sheet; instead of stretching,
it can alternately wrinkle, and pull the edges of the blank sheet out-of-rectangular.
Stretching a sheet of nickel-silver that is 2.14" long, to a length of 2.8", requires your
die to exceed the tensile yield strength of the 0.020" material in that strip,
Alloy 770 (some data here) <http://www.nealloys.com/nickel_silver.php> wants
something like 40kpsi to stretch, and that means the long dimension has tensile stress
of 1300 lbs. The narrow dimension has maybe three times that.

I'm thinking the sheet edges won't remain straight, unless you clamp them hard, and starting
with an oversize blank (maybe with a few holes that slip over pegs) will be required. The 'waste'
area of the blank will act as a frame to keep the center stretching, rather than wrinkling.
 

derf

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A simple form operation like that will still require a pressure plate. Basically a spring loaded ring around the cavity to hold the material down while stamping.
 

Maplehead

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I was incorrect on the die opening being 1.79”. I meant 1.29”. Basically, .040” more than the punch to compensate for the sheet thickness, times two.
I have to digest the last two replies as I don’t understand them fully. I guess I have some more research to attend to.
 

Maplehead

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Update
I made a test die set out of aluminum and then pressed a nickel silver test cover.
This can be done!
The sides of the cover are not perfectly smooth because my die sides were not perfectly smooth.
I need to drill out the middle of the die waste first, AWAY from the final edges. I always forget about doing that.
Anyways, now I just need to get the real die made but I nee CNC to mill the curves.
 

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