Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?  (Read 10142 times)
bill t.
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2693


WWW
« on: June 26, 2012, 10:26:41 PM »
ReplyReply

Don't want to hijack the aluminum panel thread.

Was wondering if anybody has found a particularly good way to cut Dibond and similar aluminum composite panels.

I have table-sawed and then sanded Dibond in the past, but I would prefer to avoid the nasty plastic sawdust and time intensive sanding.

On thegrumble.com there are a few threads about the Fletcher FSM media cutter which has a specialized, dual wheel cutting assembly for aluminum composites.  It's sort of like a wall mounted panel saw.  There is some suggestion that while it creates a very clean cut it also crushes the corners somewhat, where two cuts intersect.  Which possibly results in corners that are cosmetically unacceptable for a bare print-on-panel presentation.  Anybody have feedback on this?

Any other methods for dustless, low hassle Dibond cutting?

Logged
Ernst Dinkla
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2850


« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2012, 03:07:39 AM »
ReplyReply

To cut DiBond, Alucobond etc without dust and without deformation of the sandwich at the edges will be difficult. The softer polyethylene in between the hard aluminium being the main cause. I have seen samples that were die cut and cut in other ways and the edge always deforms. The saw is the best option. I do not think laser or plasma cutting etc if possible will change that, the polyethylene melts faster and pulls the aluminium inwards. Waterjet cutting might be possible. I have done routing on Alucobond that cuts one aluminium surface side and then fold the edge + hot air welding the polyethylene core at the inside of the fold and it is a tricky job. When the thicker sheets are sawed the edges can be sanded and the rough polyethylene side can be polished with a hot air gun. Do not overheat, the color becomes darker.

For mounting and a cut precisely at the edge of the image it is much easier to mount on solid aluminum, say 2 mm thick and cut print + aluminium in one step and make the total more rigid with an aluminium frame glued on the back.

Check PDFs for machining DiBond etc, a wealth of information.

 
--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

Dinkla Grafische Techniek
Quad,piëzografie,giclée
www.pigment-print.com
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 03:31:33 AM by Ernst Dinkla » Logged
lfeagan
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 208



« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2012, 03:19:55 AM »
ReplyReply

I have never used my Festool TS 55 EQ on a sandwich of aluminum and polyethylene, but I have used it on plexiglass and aluminum sheets and it does a pretty amazing job along with a Festool CT dust extractor. Festool's dust extraction is excellent and a rail saw gives quite a bit of flexibility without requiring the space, cost, and weight of a sliding panel saw. Festool makes a blade specifically designed for aluminum and plastics. By using the saw's variable speed control you can slow things down to avoid melting the plastics and causing the blade to bind or lead to a bad surface finish. The rail + splinter guard yield splinter free finishes on the top and bottom faces and on the waste and kept sides.
Logged

Lance

Nikon: D700, D800E, PC-E 24mm f/3.5D ED, PC-E 45mm f/2.8D ED, PC-E 85mm f/2.8D, 50mm f/1.4G, 14-24 f/2.8G ED, 24-70 f/2.8G ED, 70-200 f/2.8G ED VR II, 400mm f/2.8G ED VR
Fuji: X-Pro 1, 14mm f/2.8, 18mm f/2.0, 35mm f/1.4
Luca Ragogna
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 163



WWW
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2012, 09:43:39 AM »
ReplyReply

If you have access to a CNC router or a contour cutter with router head, they work beautifully for Dibond, Sintra, acrylic and whatever else you might print or mount on.
Logged
Bob Smith
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 83


WWW
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2012, 01:36:02 PM »
ReplyReply

I have the Fletcher FSC (Fletcher Substrate Cutter).  Works like a charm.  Very smooth edges.  Kind of like a Rotatrim on steroids.  It uses a rotary blade system for composites like dibond.  Put other blades in it and you can cut foam board, gator, mat board, glass, plexi etc.  I bought it specifically for Dibond without the mess of using a saw.  There are similar cutters from other manufacturers that do the same thing.

If properly adjusted, it shouldn't give you the corner problems you describe.  I don't have an issue with it.  I've sold many prints flush mounted to panels straight off of that cutter with no extra edge finishing at all.  Also, I'm not using DiBond brand material.  I use Nudo PolyMetal.  Exact same specs last time I checked but more readily available in my area and more attractively priced.  It may be the brand difference that is giving me better cuts.  Is so, all the more reason to use PolyMetal.

http://www.fletcherviscom.com/FFSC/main.html

Bob Smith
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 01:42:50 PM by Bob Smith » Logged

Johnny_Boy
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 133


« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2012, 05:24:41 PM »
ReplyReply

I have a Keencut Excalibur that I use to cut large boards. (Got a great deal via Craigslist from a graphics shop that was closing. Had to drive several hours to pick it up though).

It has the twin wheel cutting device for cutting aluminium composite. I bought it thinking I will do do a lot of acrylic face mounting with dibond backing.

I've only made a few test cuts only so far, but it cuts very smooth and no sanding required. It does roll off the edge round on ONE side, but keeps the other side relatively straight. So, I think it will work as long as you mount on the none rounded edge side. 

I will take some test cuts tonight and post the macro picture of it.
Logged
Johnny_Boy
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 133


« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2012, 12:46:17 AM »
ReplyReply

OK, I took a test cut and took some pictures. This is not Dibond, but 2mm e-Panel. It might have been 3mm, but not certain.

As I remembered, I get a flat cut on one side but gets a rounded edge on the other side.

The first image shows the side that was facing out while I was cutting. That side comes out mostly flat with no rolled edge. there is generally very slight bend at the entry and exit point when the wheels bites or leaves the panel. Pretty minor though. The cut side, btw, is the up and down direction on this photo. the horizontal part is the "factory cut". It came that way. It fact my twin wheels seems to cut cleaner.

The second images show the other side. You can tell the edges are rolled a bit. Also there is a slight scratch mark on the surface that comes from the twin wheels. Again, the top section is the factory cut which is rougher looking.

If you are mounting photo or canvas I think you can use either side for sure, but if you are going to sandwich it between acrylic or something, than I would make sure I used the flat cut side and not the rolled edge side for mounting the photo/paper.

I am assuming the Fletcher Twin Wheel version will do the same thing, but I don't know. Third image shows the twin wheel setup on mine.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 12:48:52 AM by Johnny_Boy » Logged
Johnny_Boy
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 133


« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2012, 01:07:40 AM »
ReplyReply

Actually now I remembered some more details!  Angry  (Sorry, I've tried a few times several months ago and since then I've been only cutting Gatorfoam on this)

So the above piece was the piece on the LEFT side of the cutting wheel. The remaining piece on the RIGHT side of the cutting wheel will have rolled edges on BOTH sides.  I had to compensate for this the last time by flipping pieces around back and forth. It was a bit of pain!
Logged
bill t.
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2693


WWW
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2012, 01:21:43 AM »
ReplyReply

Thanks to all for those replies!

Hey Johnny_Boy, great detailed information there, exactly what I wanted to know.  Thanks for the research!
Logged
Bob Smith
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 83


WWW
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2012, 02:08:47 AM »
ReplyReply

I don't see that much of a rolled edge on what I get.  I'll try to post some images soon.  I've also never noticed a difference between the two sides of the cut on my system.

Even taking that slight rolled edge into account, this is WAY better than any of many sawed versions that I have tried.  I used a table saw trying a variety of blades for about a year before getting my Fletcher cutter.  Even the best cuts still left a fairly rough edge that needed sanding.  But the worst part was the "dust".  The fine particles that result from the cut, unlike wood, are static charged and will stick to all sorts of things in places you don't want them.  One tiny misplaced piece that makes it way into a mounted print can ruin it.  It was MUCH more work to get a good finished print out that way.  One of these panel cutters makes the process a relative breeze.  If you want to use any type of saw system you really need a separate room completely sealed away from any print production area.  That plastic dust will drive you nuts.

Bob Smith
Logged

a.lorge
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 72


« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2012, 10:53:32 AM »
ReplyReply

Just to add a few points about the FSC cutter:

When cutting dibond, I've had better luck getting a nice edge by mounting prints to the dibond first and THEN cutting.  The cutter comes with a laser guide than makes this relatively easy.  It's also nice to be able to mount a few prints to one big board and trim them afterwards (saves a bit of time).  I've never tried to do things in this order with a saw, but I imagine it would make a mess.

A few negatives (relatively minor):  When cutting dibond, It's not possible to cut off just a sliver.  I find if I try to remove less than about 1/2", the cutting wheels migrate off the side of the material.  Also, I've had bad luck getting square cuts on smaller pieces of dibond (less than a square foot or so).  It's possible that this is because I don't have the vice clamp adjusted perfectly.  but, just thought I'd throw it out there.  Smiley
Logged
Mulis Pictus
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 79


WWW
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2013, 11:23:17 AM »
ReplyReply

I don't see that much of a rolled edge on what I get.  I'll try to post some images soon.  I've also never noticed a difference between the two sides of the cut on my system.

Bob, do you have by a chance a close-up image of an ACM/dibond with mounted photo cut with Fletcher FSC cutter?
Logged

Bob Smith
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 83


WWW
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2013, 04:40:12 PM »
ReplyReply

Sorry... forgot all about this thread until your post.  I'm attaching a quicky snap of a sample print that's been tossed around and handled quite a bit... so probably a bit rougher than most but I think it still shows the straight non-rolled edge.  I cut the dibond first, then mount, then trim the print from the back with an xacto knife.  Let me know if that helps...

Bob

« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 04:45:23 PM by Bob Smith » Logged

Mulis Pictus
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 79


WWW
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2013, 03:56:25 PM »
ReplyReply

Thanks a lot!

My local framing tools supplier sells only Fletcher cutters (and not Keencut), so I wanted to see how it looks, when cut on the FSC. I am still undecided, whether to maybe try going a CNC router direction, but I fear it would cost me much more time and/or money. It will also require more space for the router table.
Logged

rmyers
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 80


« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2013, 05:00:56 PM »
ReplyReply

I've not done this, but I've seen routers mounted under table saw extensions so that you can use the rip fence on the table saw. Would this allow you to cut the sizes you need?

If you use a high quality spiral router bit, I think it would make a clean cut without blowing out the back layer.  Onsrud is probably the best brand of bit for this type of process.  They have been used to cut metals and composites for industrial processes for many years.
Logged
Johnny_Boy
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 133


« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2013, 01:29:10 AM »
ReplyReply

Bob, your rolled edge image is definitely looking better than mine. Is yours actually dibond and not the chinese made e-panel? I wonder if that makes a difference? If I remember correctly, real dibonds have thicker metal portion than e-panel, on one side or possibly both sides. That might be the reason why it is not rolling the edge as much?

In regards to router bits, I guess that could be useful for final trimming to the size, but you will still need the table saw or a substrate cutter to cut the large sheets into rough dimension. Table saw makes a huge mess even after I used a huge wax stick on the blade before cutting the sheet to collect the small metal shavings...
 
Logged
Dan Berg
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1534



WWW
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2013, 04:59:50 AM »
ReplyReply

Bob, your rolled edge image is definitely looking better than mine. Is yours actually dibond and not the chinese made e-panel? I wonder if that makes a difference? If I remember correctly, real dibonds have thicker metal portion than e-panel, on one side or possibly both sides. That might be the reason why it is not rolling the edge as much?

In regards to router bits, I guess that could be useful for final trimming to the size, but you will still need the table saw or a substrate cutter to cut the large sheets into rough dimension. Table saw makes a huge mess even after I used a huge wax stick on the blade before cutting the sheet to collect the small metal shavings...
 


We cut almost all Dibond on our sliding tablesaw with aluminum cutting blade.
With good dust extraction it still needs a little cleanup.
I blow it off with compressed air and then wipe it down with a tack cloth and its ready to go.
Takes about 15 seconds in all to cleanup.
My cabinetry shop and studio are separated by my spray booth and assembly room so I rarely get any dirt or dust in the studio.
If your doing this in one room I can see a problem.
I have the festool 55 saw and track system,it works but takes too much time for setup compared to sliding a sheet through the saw.
The Fletcher would be ideal if your looking to add another piece of equipment.
Logged

Bob Smith
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 83


WWW
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2013, 11:33:50 AM »
ReplyReply

Is yours actually dibond and not the chinese made e-panel?

I'm using Nudo PolyMetal.  That's what my supplier stocks.  When I last checked it had specs virtually identical to 3mm Dibond... in terms of metal thickness etc.  There seems to be about a bazillion Dibond clones out there.  Many have the very thin metal coating.  This one seems to be about the same as Dibond but I really can't say for sure.  It's all I've ever used. 
Logged

Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad