Working with brass

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Forum topic by RMP posted 02-05-2011 12:44 AM 1574 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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51 posts in 2181 days

02-05-2011 12:44 AM

Hey LJs , I have a question about cutting brass. I know it can cut fairly easy on a table saw, but I have had a project rolling around in my head for a while that requires a rabbit cut into a piece of 3/8” thick brass , round, about 2” dia. What I’m wondering is if i can cut it with a router bit without destroying the bit. They’re not cheap as you all know and I don’t have many. If any of you guys have any thoughts on this I would greatly appreciate it. Best thoughts. RMP…....

4 replies so far

View horologist's profile


101 posts in 2775 days

#1 posted 02-05-2011 01:13 AM

With the right blade you can cut brass nicely on a bandsaw. For small pieces it is hard to beat a piercing saw and a bench block. I would never recommend a tablesaw. Similarly I know of people experimenting with routers to cut out brass clock plates, I’m not convinced this is a good idea.
If you only have a small quantity of brass to cut I would recommend farming the task out to a local machine shop, much cheaper than hospital bills and replacing damaged tools. If you are going to be cutting a lot of metal then perhaps it is time to invest in a small mill, a Sherline would be worth investigating.

-- Troy in Melrose, Florida

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


16399 posts in 2712 days

#2 posted 02-05-2011 08:00 AM

I would farm it out or use a file and hack saw.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Viktor's profile


450 posts in 2455 days

#3 posted 02-05-2011 11:48 AM

1. Secure the piece.
2. Use lowest RPM and small diameter bit. At 12000RPM and 5 mm diameter you get about 3m/sec linear cutting speed. It is still too high for non-ferrous metals but OK.
3. Use small increments (1 mm or less).
4. Use guide, don’t rout free hand.
5. Cool and lubricate with oil.
6. If doing larger amount of cutting invest in specialty bit. Wood bits angle is to sharp for metal and cause grabbing, that’s why #1, 2, 3, and 4 are important.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1503 posts in 3161 days

#4 posted 02-07-2011 12:16 AM

I’d find someone who has a milling machine, and do it that way. My mill runs way way slower than my router, and the bit is open and accessible to add water and to watch the waste material’s color to see when it’s getting too hot.

Unfortunately, you’re on the other side of the country from me.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

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