Garolite Question

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Roger Thoms, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    Has anyone had success cutting Garolite with a sheet metal shear? Thought I'd ask hear before I bothered my brother who has a sheet metal shop.

    Roger
     
  2. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    The reddish brown stuff will probably crack. Maybe try a band saw or hacksaw.
     
  3. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    This is the black grade XX from McMaster Carr. I need to cut some new whole plate dark slides. My big problem is that I no longer have a shop space and live in an apartment. Boy I sure do miss my Powermatic #66 table saw. I have a portable table saw but no good place to set it up especially with the rain today.

    The beauty of the shear is that it's super accurate that is if it doesn't crack the material.

    Roger
     
  4. rmann

    rmann Subscriber

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    I've done clean cuts with a utility knife, I would think shears would be even better.
     
  5. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    A shear would make short work of it, but I'd be afraid of cracking it. A sheet metal shop should have at least a small band saw too. Try the shear with a small piece first!
     
  6. Dan Dozer

    Dan Dozer Subscriber

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    When I was using it for my 8 x 20 camera, I got a non-ferrous metal blade for the table saw and it cuts it beautifully. However, if you don't have space for the table saw, that's not a good option. The material I used was 1/16" thick - I would think that trying to cut it by hand with a knife would be difficult. When I was drilling holes in it, I had problems with it splitting out the back and I would think that a metal shear might have some of the same problems.
     
  7. TR Anderson

    TR Anderson Member

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    cutting garolite

    Hi
    I am curently making some 11x14 film folders. The third one is just about done.
    I have been using a hand held veneer saw. Spring clamping a straight edge to a work bench gives me a clean straight cut.
    Redards
    Tim A
     
  8. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    Thanks for all the input. I am just getting of a nasty case of the flu so I haven't done anything with the garolite. I did pickup a non ferrous metal blade for my portable table saw and a friend will let me set up the saw in his garage. So I'm going that route. I will try the sheet metal shear when at sometime. My brothers shop is about 50 mile from were I live and I didn't want to make a special trip just to experiment.

    Tim, the veneer saw and straight edge sounds like a good method and I'll keep that in mind. I didn't read your post till after I purchased the non ferrous blade but will keep your method in mind.

    Roger
     
  9. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    Since no one seems to have mentioned this, I'll chip in: one of the classic ways of cutting thin stock (veneer, etc.) without cracking is to lay it on a sacrificial piece of thicker stock (I would use Masonite, in this case). When you saw through both materials, the backing gives you an effectively zero clearance blade insert, and also helps to dampen any minor blade vibration. In extreme cases, double-stick tape can be used to hold the two pieces together.

    I have made dark slides from the 1/16 black Garolite, but I was using a milling machine, the garage-shop equivalent of which would be a router. It shouldn't be surprising that this works very well, considering the millions of square feet of Formica countertop that have been trimmed to exact size using either an ordinary router or the specialized laminate-trimmer version.

    FWIW, vertical-surface Formica is thinner than the usual countertop material, and would probably make a decent darkslide....
     
  10. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    I would like to thank everyone for all the advice and say that I successfully cut my dark slides. I ended up using my Makita 8 1/4" table saw and a Matsushita 60 tooth aluminum/plastic blade. I clamped a piece of 1/2" MDF on top of the table saw leaving just enough room to adjust the fence for the cuts I needed and the with the saw running raised the blade up through the MDF. This accomplished two things, first it created a zero clearance insert and second it raise the garolite up so that it didn't slip under the fence. This set up worked extremely well and I got very smooth cuts with no chipping or tear out.

    Roger
     
  11. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    Glad to hear it.

    As you have probably found out by now, smoothing the cut edges with some fine sandpaper on a block will make the slides much more pleasant to work with, as will rounding the leading corners. Then, a bit of paste wax and you're good to go.
     
  12. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    Yes I eased the edges with fine sand paper and rounded the lead corners. Hadn't thought of the paste wax, any kind in particular?

    Roger
     
  13. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Good going Roger, that's the way I would do it, I use an older 10" table saw with a nonferrous blade and clamp aluminum sheet down on the saw and raise the blade to make slots. I would however use the Powermatic 66 I have to do just what you did on your saw to make clean cuts with a zero clearance setup.

    Best,
    Curt
     
  14. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Rather than cut the material through it is often possible to snap it. Score both sides heavily with a utility knife, put the score over a sharp edge and press down on the free end. You may need to turn it over and repeat to get the cleanest snap.