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hughgilhespie

Waterjet Cutting Aluminium Plate

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Hi,

I have it in mind to make a fairly rough and ready AltAz mount using pre-fabricated bits of 10 mm or so aluminium plate. Does anyone have any recommendations for a UK waterjet cutting service that is happy to do one offs? Also any clue to the costs?

Regards, Hugh

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Hugh

I got this type of work done through a local college as part of a programme for businesses. I just had to supply materials.

I would also have been able to get this done by a local engineering firm, the ones who supplied the 10mm plate steel.

Its hard to recommend anywhere not knowing your location, but I would suggest ringing a few local companies and see if they can help you out.

Do you have CAD drawings done?

 

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29 minutes ago, tooth_dr said:

Do you have CAD drawings done?

Hi, One of my problems is that the only drawing software I use is Microsoft Visio. It's not a 'proper' drawing package so the best I could do would be to send a PDF copy of what I want. No doubt there would be an extra charge for doing a CAD drawing that they can feed into their machine.

I am based in North Devon, not far from Barnstaple but I was assuming that whoever does the cutting for me would send the cut pieces by courier, so distance doesn't really matter.

Regards, Hugh

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3 minutes ago, hughgilhespie said:

Hi, One of my problems is that the only drawing software I use is Microsoft Visio. It's not a 'proper' drawing package so the best I could do would be to send a PDF copy of what I want. No doubt there would be an extra charge for doing a CAD drawing that they can feed into their machine.

I am based in North Devon, not far from Barnstaple but I was assuming that whoever does the cutting for me would send the cut pieces by courier, so distance doesn't really matter.

Regards, Hugh

I don’t have any idea of cost sorry as it was done in the college, I took a day off work and assisted/watched. Although it took longer than you would think! You can download a free CAD program and that yourself.  Trial version of SolidWorks for example!

Personally I prefer to deal with people face to face for this and would certainly suggest going to a local firm, there are several cutters over here within a short drive, I’m sure in England it is no different  

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I would suggest laser cut as well, it could likely be more economical. Here is a good page which provides comparisons. Waterjet vs Laser

Or failing that, find some guy with a Plasma Cutter, but the finish would be less clean.

Edited by Phil Fargaze

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Hi,

Thanks for the suggestions. I want to use waterjet cutting as laser cutting aluminium is limited to about 8 mm thick plate and I want to cut up to about 20 mm thick.

I have found a couple of likely candidates and I will sound them out. If I get a good response I will post the details here.

Regards, Hugh

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I've had a few parts laser cut and it's a really effective approach.

Waterjet tends to give nicer results than laser and doesn't harden the edges on steel parts.

Most places that do it will tackle small runs as that's the whole point of the technology.

If you can supply the data as a DXF the cost is often comparable to buying the raw materials (don't forget to specify the size separately or you could get it back 25.4 times larger or smaller than you expect).

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I, amongst others, would be interested to hear the final cost of the water jet cutting for your project.

I built my big GEM from 10mm scrap alloy plate using a handheld jigsaw then filing or angle grinding it straight.

Later I discovered [on YouTube] that power miter saws can be used for cutting aluminum.

I then used a DeWalt sliding, miter saw with a fine toothed, carbide tipped blade for cutting my 20mm plate.

Probably not directly relevant to your needs but the information might be useful to somebody else.

My DeWalt table saw explicitly states it is not for cutting metal. So I haven't done so.

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I had most of the parts for my 16" Newt and fork mount cut by a local engineering company who at the time had a waterjet machine (they have recently replaced it with a laser). The guy running the show was happy to accept tiffs with annotated dimensions, and if I supplied the raw sheets, he would do the work for cash, and not stupid figures either.

But they replaced it with a laser, so no use to you Hugh

 

Huw

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15 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I've had a few parts laser cut and it's a really effective approach.

Waterjet tends to give nicer results than laser and doesn't harden the edges on steel parts.

Most places that do it will tackle small runs as that's the whole point of the technology.

If you can supply the data as a DXF the cost is often comparable to buying the raw materials (don't forget to specify the size separately or you could get it back 25.4 times larger or smaller than you expect).

25.4 * larger or smaller.   I sense a Spinal Tap moment coming here. 

  • Haha 1

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Hi,

I have been thinking a bit more about what I want an AltAz mount for. The first and most urgent reason is that I have just treated myself to an ASI1600 mono camera with a filter wheel and set of Astronomik filters. This is now part of my evolving OTA. When finished the OTA will consist of a Tak FSQ106ED, the ZWO camera and filter wheel, a Kingdel 12 volt minicomputer and a Pegasus Ultimate power hub with a matching Pegasus focus motor fitted to the Tak. The current state of play is that I have all the components and I have made a bracket for the focus motor. I now need to test things out as the assembly progresses and specifically I want to test the camera, filter wheel and focuser. For various reasons, I don't want to try and set up the OTA on my EQ8 in my obsy yet. Mainly because, once mounted, there is no view of anything terrestrial except some thin tree branches that are too close to be any use to man or beast.

So, my first AltAz mount just needs to be a rough and ready AltAz mount that I can use on the kitchen window sill and be able to see some distant pylons, radio masts, etc. Then the OTA computer and the Pegasus hub can sit on the kitchen table and I can use my bench power supply to get everything working. This proposed AltAz mount only has to move say +/- 10 degrees in altitude and be able to swivel over say 45 degrees in azimuth. This mount does not need any waterjet cut parts. I have ordered a Losmandy saddle from FLO and this will be combined with some chunky bits of wood, a couple of 12 mm bore pillow block bearings and some 12 mm silver steel and a lazy susan turntable - all bits I had laying around. I will post some pics of this contraption when it's made.

Now for AltAz2!!

The second reason for wanting an AltAz mount is that we keep having visitors who know I am interested in astronomy and they have some daft ideas about wanting to look through a telescope! I try and explain but................  So, I need to get a telescope you can actually point at things and look through. In my totally biased and probably totally wrong opinion the only astronomical things actually worth peering down a telescope at are planets, so I have in mind to buy something like an f/12 x 100 mm achromat. Nice planetary views and all that and it looks like a 'proper' telescope. This would be mounted on AltAz2 which would stand on the patio in the front garden. Lovely, uninterrupted southern skies. Being me, I will design the mount to cope with future follies by allowing scopes up to 6 inches and up to 2 metres long to be used. This mount will use very satisfying amounts of chunky aluminium plate, nicely profiled by water jet. A long term project but one I am looking forward to.

Regards, Hugh

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I use a company called GFM in Wellingborough for my subcontract water jet cutting work (mainly 6mm stainless but also aluminium).

Could be worth a try?

 

 

Edited by laser_jock99
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