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  • That old age questions, how the hell do I cut composite boards

  • Daniel Evans

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Evening all

    I’ve just spent far to long cutting composite boards and the amount of time it’s gonna take me to clean up the mess is more than likely gonna take just as much time.

    How the **** do I cut these boards.

    At the moment I am doing the following

    • Applying my print with trim lines
    • Use a knife and do 10 strokes for each cut
    • Once all the cuts are complete, I snap off the edges

    Pretty simple apart from the 10 strokes for each cut.

    The major issue I’m getting is trying to deburr the edges.

    After I’ve cut the edges, the aluminium is raised slightly on the print side which gives a horrible look and feel. To get rid of this I end up filing it down and this causes a whole load of mess. Finally I use my deburr tool but I can’t use this when the edges are raised as it just gets caught.

    How do you all do it and more importantly, how do you do it without getting the raised metal edges?

    Dan

  • Chris Wilson

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Edge racer from Signgeer. Best £50 you’ll ever spend!

    We score but normally only 2-3 times. Not 10. Takes very little to snap it clean.

  • David Rogers

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Cut to size with a few heavy passes of stanley and snap off.
    Use a deburring tool (best tool ever).

    Apply print…wrapping the edges round by 10-20mm. Better finish and doesn’t leave exposed edges…

  • Simon Worrall

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    I use a hand-plane to deburr. Easy peasy.

  • Iain George

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Also cut on the back side then snap as the raised area is then on the back edge and the side for the print is flat.

  • Pane Talev

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    I score with knife as others…

    Same as Simon for years I’ve used hand planer but recently I was given this tool.

    Fantastic.

  • John Lacey

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    Since i don’t own a table saw I’ve gotten quite good at this. 3 or 4 swipes along a straight edge, hang over edge of bench, quick snap so as not to distort the sheet, hand plane to remove rough edge and finally a smooth off with a file both sides.

  • Daniel Evans

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    Ok, so to make sure I have this right.

    Cut the board on the backside before applying the print and deburr, 3-4 strokes should do.

    What knife are you using?

    Thanks everyone

  • John Lacey

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    I’m not so sure you need to score both sides, i never do because its quite tricky to get both cut lines in exactly the right place you see what i mean. You could end up with a slightly bevelled edge. I use a Stanley knife, try and get quality blades because the less scores you have to do makes a cleaner cut in the long run. Its the tidying with the plane that makes the difference. Once you’ve squared off the snapped line with a sharp plane you just have to remove the slight burr thats left over with a fine file. Just remember to add a ‘smidge’ onto your cut sizes to allow for fettling afterwards..

  • Iain George

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    I was always told to cut the back side, not the front, as the blade raises the edge as it cuts through. So if you cut the back and then snap the front should be smoother and a little debur should do you.

  • Robert Lambie

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    £12 from Amazon and B&Q.


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  • John Lacey

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 8:11 pm
    quote Robert Lambie:

    £12 from Amazon and B&Q

    I have one of those de-burring tools but could never get on with it. I couldn’t stop it from digging into the very thin sheeting and taking chunks out. I have a better feel using a file but then i was mostly an ally sign fabricator for the first 15 years of my career. I guess we all have different ways of getting to the same conclusion :smiles:

  • Robert Lambie

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    yes, you need to have it at the correct angle and force for it to splice off nice even consistent pieces.

    I am the same, I prefer a file for many things.

  • Chris Wilson

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Normal protractible scalpel for me I find and a good old 10a blade.

    We cut in the reverse as if you slip you have a nice knife mark on the face.

    We also have cut proof gloves that we got from screwfix. About £10 for a pair and they work. As a man who has had a full blade in just about the knee let alone countless fingers I can’t recommend them enough.

  • Wayne Maxwell

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    Why not order your boards cut to size. That’s what I do 🙂

  • Hugh Potter

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 8:54 pm
    quote Daniel Evans:

    Ok, so to make sure I have this right.

    Cut the board on the backside before applying the print and deburr, 3-4 strokes should do.

    What knife are you using?

    Thanks everyone

    cut on the reverse side, ie. the side you’re not using. a few scores (or enough to do the job), I always then fold the panel upward and back until it breaks off… this still leaves the raised edge on the rear but, a nice smooth edge on the front.

    I use a small Stanley hand (jack) plane to remove the heavy raised edge.

    on the front edge (if required) I use a small deburring tool like the blue one shown above, just lightly so it takes only off what you need without digging in. On factory cut panels I always use this tool.

    Apply your over-sized print and then finish as I’m showing in this video…

  • David Stevenson

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    Maybe I’m weird but I do the complete opposite. I used to have the same problem with the raised edges when you scored it a few times. Now what I do is gently score it once, line it up with the edge of the bench and start to snap it as close to the bench as possible. Once it starts the rest snaps quite easy and doesn’t bend the sheet. I was amazed how gently I could score it with a really sharp knife and get it to snap.
    Gave up with the deburring tool, would have made a neater edge with a hatchet!

  • John Lacey

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 9:10 pm
    quote Wayne Maxwell:

    Why not order your boards cut to size. That’s what I do 🙂

    Tricky for one off quick jobs though. And some suppliers charge saw time…

  • Robert Lambie

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    We use a 3-metre wide Guillotine, cuts the sheets like butter and perfect clean edge. I know, that’s cheating and takes the fun out of it! :smiles:

  • Daniel Evans

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    I think I have every deburring tool mention here, the edge racer is the best in my opinion but only if you have a flat edge to begin with.

    I also found the double edge deburring tool got caught and ended up making a mess.

    I’ve been using the biggest knife possible here diy.com


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  • Pane Talev

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    I use 18mm Olfa for scoring dibond.
    I also was thinking 25mm will be better but this is not the case.
    25mm blade is thicker and more force is needed to cut.
    I retired the 25mm Olfa blade after a day.


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  • David Stevenson

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Olfa 9mm 30degree blades. Perfect result everytime 🙂

  • Hugh Potter

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    The other way I cut boards – longer cuts anyway.. when the fitting bay is empty, is to quickly set up the trestles with a couple of sacrificial scaffold boards I keep around, clamp straight edge across the board with speedy clamps and use a cordless metabo circular saw (that i only use on sign materials), always cut as shallow as possible with the blade depth and you’ll get a better edge.

    If I’m cutting ply etc. I’ll throw an old blade in!

  • Richard Wills

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    Is no-one going to say Steeltrak?

    I know that the pizza wheels cause subtle roll on the front edge (and, yes a couple of K purchase price). But now you’ve got me thinking about using the stanley blade and snapping on the work bench.

    If you don’t have a vertical cutter, then a javelin bar gives controlled cutting (I’ve used it a few times when the pieces need more than a 2100mm cut). Also puts far less strain while cutting, and grips very well, and is oretty straight.

    Never got on with the double Noga deburr, but use the single swivle all the time with aluminium.

    As an aside, the carpenter/handy chap in the building has recently got himself a Mafell track saw. Damnd thing, on extraction, rips through a sheet of ply or MDF, with virtually no dust. Very well designed, and with some tinsell, might be another option. But, I can live with lightly rolled edges this week.

    Just popped tendon in my right index finger, have 45 photograpic prinst, on Dibond to mount and trim tommorow, for an exhibition Thursday. Trying to work out safest accurate method to get the mounting and trimming done, pottentially with the help of office staff (no apprentices, Yet), that won’t have people (alu) paper cutting themselves.

    Sorry for typos, trying to relearn typing, and…

  • Chris Wool

    Member
    February 3, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    i am with david the smaller blades do better , i did buy one of those exakt saws but never got on with it and it made a lot of dust stuff even with the hover attached. and the Excalibur is crap at it newer ones my be better.

  • Gordon Smithard

    Member
    February 4, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    I score the back about 3 times with a Stanley knife, hold over the edge and snap. Any burred edges get rollered back down with a plastic wallpaper roller.

  • Simon Worrall

    Member
    February 5, 2020 at 6:33 am

    Sanding and filing introduce dust into the workspace.
    With my luck it gets under some vinyl. c:
    Thats why I use a block plane.

  • John Lacey

    Member
    February 5, 2020 at 9:10 am

    You guys are overthinking this whole cutting thing – my method is the simplest and has the best finish :tongue: :tongue:

  • Phill Fenton

    Member
    February 5, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Steeltrack all the way for me. Easy and clean with a neat slightly bevelled edge

  • Daniel Evans

    Member
    February 5, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Steeltrack? Is that a keencut thing?

    So an update on how I got on.

    Bought a new 9mm knife which improved it straight away even using my old technique.

    However, I now cut on the other side and only do 3 light scores which is enough to snap off.

    Thanks everyone for your help and that 25mm knife can go in the bin.

  • Jonathan Dray

    Member
    February 6, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    Tried lots of methods.

    Didn’t get on with the deburring tools.

    The Steeltrak we found very hard to get completely square. Particularly when trying to cut an 8ft sheet along the length. It also bends the off cut, which is fine if it’s not needed but if you’re cutting a sheet in half it’s not ideal.

    Currently if we have lots of sheets to cut we use a Mafell track saw which is very accurate and gives very clean cuts but even with extraction is quite messy.

    If we have only a couple to cut we use a Javelin to cut all the way through. Accurate, no mess but slightly raised edge and takes a bit of effort. We roll the edge down with a wooden wallpaper roller as someone mentioned above. This is much easier on the thinner skinned sheets.

    If you’re cutting loads of this stuff you really need a CNC / flatbed cutter of some type particularly if you want to print / mount then cut.

  • Simon Worrall

    Member
    February 8, 2020 at 7:47 pm
    quote Daniel Evans:

    Steeltrack? Is that a keencut thing?

    So an update on how I got on.

    Bought a new 9mm knife which improved it straight away even using my old technique.

    However, I now cut on the other side and only do 3 light scores which is enough to snap off.

    Thanks everyone for your help and that 25mm knife can go in the bin.

    I find the blade of a 9mm knife is a bit too flexible and waves about the line, resulting in a wavy cut.
    I agree the 25mm blade is too thick. A good compromise is the 18mm knife.

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