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Inssomniak
The Glitch
Premium
join:2005-04-06
Cayuga, ON
kudos:2

Cutting square hole into steel?

I've been googlin
Im looking for a way to cut a professional looking square hole (ie straight smooth square) into steel about the same thickness as a good quality computer case cover.

I thought of using a router table with a template and appropriate bit like 1/8?
Open to suggestions. .?
Also it could be aluminum too about the same thickness.
Thx!
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iknow_t

join:2012-05-03
you're going to get hurt trying to use a router on steel. use a knockout punch.


Inssomniak
The Glitch
Premium
join:2005-04-06
Cayuga, ON
kudos:2
Hmm. It's a reasonably large square hole that needs exact measurements. Where does one get a punch like that?

4x5 inch approximately.
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shdesigns
Powered By Infinite Improbabilty Drive
Premium
join:2000-12-01
Stone Mountain, GA
reply to Inssomniak
A punch that large would be expensive and probably custom.

I use a nibbler similar to ebay iten 231098092576

iknow_t

join:2012-05-03
reply to Inssomniak
said by Inssomniak:

Hmm. It's a reasonably large square hole that needs exact measurements. Where does one get a punch like that?

4x5 inch approximately.

yipes, it's like $1900 for something similar, and you'd have to get it custom made for 4x5 inches.. maybe get a milling machine, or have a company punch it out for you..

iknow_t

join:2012-05-03
reply to shdesigns
said by shdesigns:

A punch that large would be expensive and probably custom.

I use a nibbler similar to ebay iten 231098092576

yeah, but he said it needs EXACT measurements.. the good thing about a milling machine is you can stack them, and do many at once..


Inssomniak
The Glitch
Premium
join:2005-04-06
Cayuga, ON
kudos:2
reply to shdesigns
I don't understand the nibbler? Doesn't look like it would cut a smooth straight line?

But this:

»m.youtube.com/watch?v=ro-Lp5VS_D···Lp5VS_Ds


Would be perfect but the odds of finding one in my size ? And affordable? Bad I imagine.
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Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara

1 recommendation

reply to Inssomniak
You can do a very nice job with a dremel, small cut-off discs, and a small grinding bit to smooth it down the last bit of the way. Definitely want your earplugs, safety glasses, and patience though.


shdesigns
Powered By Infinite Improbabilty Drive
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join:2000-12-01
Stone Mountain, GA
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reply to Inssomniak
A nibbler cuts a notch about 1/4x1/8". I use it all the time to cut square holes.

A straight line is easy, just takes a while. It will leave a slightly rough edge but a few seconds with a file and it is perfect.

Tin snips can be used but they distort the metal. Aviation or HVAC type cut a strip out and don't distort the metal. I have those also but are difficult to use.
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garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
reply to Inssomniak
If you have to do dozens of them, get the punch. If you're doing one, nibbler or Dremel. I've done it both ways and usually have better luck with the Dremel, but the nibbler can work well, too.


Inssomniak
The Glitch
Premium
join:2005-04-06
Cayuga, ON
kudos:2
I like the punch

65x108 mm min
67x110 mm max

I wonder if a square one could do 2 punches cleanly if I found at least the short size. But my gut thinks its still expensive as hell.
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UHF
All static, all day, Forever
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
reply to Inssomniak
I'd check with a local machine shop and see if they can help you.

iknow_t

join:2012-05-03
reply to Inssomniak
said by Inssomniak:

I like the punch

65x108 mm min
67x110 mm max

I wonder if a square one could do 2 punches cleanly if I found at least the short size. But my gut thinks its still expensive as hell.

greenlee, ridged etc. $1900 for something close to that size. search here.
»www.google.com/#q=knockout+punches maybe a shop that does CNC water cutting could do it cost effectively? you said you want it to look professional..


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to Inssomniak
Cut a rough hole with a rotary tool and a cutting disc. Finish with a file. Works like a charm, probably 30 min total.


Inssomniak
The Glitch
Premium
join:2005-04-06
Cayuga, ON
kudos:2
I would only be doing a handful.
What about a cross slide milling vice on a drill press? I don't need to be fast and an end mill could cut it slowly with good precision using the mill vice?
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Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
reply to Inssomniak
As mentioned, find a machine shop or someone with a water jet cutter:
»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_jet_cutter

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cb14

join:2013-02-04
Miami Beach, FL
reply to cowboyro
+1. A regular angle grinder with a very thin disc for metal cutting will do it.

zach3
Zach
Premium
join:2000-05-04
Saint Louis, MO

1 edit
reply to Inssomniak
I just cut one in a computer case a few weeks ago using a Saber Saw with a metal blade.

Worked very well when I supported the piece to be cut on a board and clamped it securely.

Use a drill to make holes where needed to start your cut and finish the part off with a flat file to smooth the edges.

Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV
reply to Inssomniak
You could also find a welding shop or person with a plasma cutter. It does a nice job on thin metal.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to Inssomniak
A sheet metal shop can do this easily with a manual punch press...


Inssomniak
The Glitch
Premium
join:2005-04-06
Cayuga, ON
kudos:2
said by John Galt:

A sheet metal shop can do this easily with a manual punch press...

Yea I believe you but would they not have to custom make the punch for me first? ($$$)
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54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL
said by Inssomniak:

Yea I believe you but would they not have to custom make the punch for me first? ($$$)

Not necessarily, an undersized punch can be used and the work moved until the hole is of the correct size.

Andy S

join:2009-05-14
Stockbridge, GA
reply to Inssomniak


Msradell
P.E.
Premium
join:2008-12-25
Louisville, KY
reply to Inssomniak
A machine shop that had a laser cutter could do a great job for you very quickly at a reasonable cost. Since it's just a square hole programming and set up would be minimal. It could also be done very easily with a waterjet cutter but that would be a little messier. Unless you have an awful lot of them to do he would probably be ahead of the game having a shop to them for you.

MacSierra

join:2013-11-22
United State
reply to Inssomniak
I'd use the Fein Multimaster or similar tool with a straight metal blade. It cuts square holes in thin metal like a dream. It just takes 4 stabs for a square in metal or wood. The patent run out so there are many of the same tools for sale cheaper than Fein.

iknow_t

join:2012-05-03
said by MacSierra:

I'd use the Fein Multimaster or similar tool with a straight metal blade. It cuts square holes in thin metal like a dream. It just takes 4 stabs for a square in metal or wood. The patent run out so there are many of the same tools for sale cheaper than Fein.

again, like so many other suggestions, this would work IF the OP had the necessary skills and tools to make the holes look professional, which is what he wants. you can't cut professional looking holes with that without a lot of work with other tools.

TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:3
Reviews:
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reply to cowboyro
said by cowboyro:

Cut a rough hole with a rotary tool and a cutting disc. Finish with a file. Works like a charm, probably 30 min total.

This. I've done it plenty of times before, even for round and odd shaped holes too.

Mark out your hole, cut with rotary tool (aka "Dremel") just a tiny bit smaller than the marks, then finish off with a file until you just touch the marks. You'll have a nice looking square hole in no time.


Inssomniak
The Glitch
Premium
join:2005-04-06
Cayuga, ON
kudos:2
reply to iknow_t
Yea I don't have the tools, I don't mind buying tools but I'm not buying a laser cutter or a water jet or a CNC machine or plasma cutter. I don't live near anyone with these resources.

I'd buy a mini milling machine if I got up to doing 30-40 square holes because it could have other uses as well as cut square holes in plastics.
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MacSierra

join:2013-11-22
United State
said by Inssomniak:

Yea I don't have the tools, I don't mind buying tools but I'm not buying a laser cutter or a water jet or a CNC machine or plasma cutter. I don't live near anyone with these resources.

I'd buy a mini milling machine if I got up to doing 30-40 square holes because it could have other uses as well as cut square holes in plastics.

I have a Bridgeport milling machine here but holding down a thin oblong piece of metal with a milling vise or hold down clamps would be difficult if not impossible. I put a rectangle shaped hour meter in a thin aluminum panel not long ago and used the Fein oscillating tool with a series of plunge cuts on a wood bench. I was done by the time I could have set the R8 tooling up in the mill. The Fein is a good tool but too much coin. You can find others new for 50 or 60 bucks and they have hundreds of uses for the DIY folks.


Inssomniak
The Glitch
Premium
join:2005-04-06
Cayuga, ON
kudos:2
I'm sure it does but an hour meter would cover the cut edges. The edges I need to cut would be the finished edge, not covered by anything I insert into it. I can't see a handheld tool like a dremel or a fein creating the finished edge.
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