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Author Topic: Bead caps  (Read 3734 times)
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Moira HFG
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« on: September 24, 2015, 05:12:19 AM »

I've been making copper bead caps. I'm happy with how they look when I get them right, but my scrap rate is rather high!
My biggest problem is centring the metal properly in the cutter. I think it looks fine, but when I hit the punch I find the circle is missing a chunk. Not sure if I was wrong to begin with, or if it moved before I hit it.

And what is the best procedure for drilling?

Advice appreciated, thanks  Smiley  !

Moira
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ajda
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 08:21:02 AM »

I'm guessing you have one of those disc cutters that doesn't screw down to clamp the sheet in place? You could try drawing a circle on the sheet with a fine marker, slightly smaller than the punch/hole size, then lining the circle up by looking straight down onto it through the hole where the punch goes. And to hold it in place once you've lined it up, maybe you could use a couple of little wedges - maybe plastic or wood? As far as drilling goes, it's best to use a pointed punch (something like a nail will do) and light hammer blow to make a small indent where you want the hole to be before starting to drill - this helps get the bit to bite in the right place and stops it skittering about on the surface. Use a sharp bit suitable for drilling metals. Slow speed with high torque is best, so a hand drill or slow speed power drill is better than something like a Dremel. Put the metal on a piece of wood so you can drill right through without damaging the bit or the surface beneath.
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Moira HFG
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 05:49:16 PM »

Thanks.
Never heard of disc cutters that screw down. The wedges sound like a good idea, I'll try that.

My main problem with drilling is how to grip the metal. If I hold the little disc in pliers, I can't easily rest it on a surface to drill. Holding it down with my fingers makes me a bit nervous - if the drill slips, it's going to hurt.

I've tried marking each cap onto a strip of material and drilling all the holes before cutting the circles - the drilling was easy but many came out with the hole off-centre. Maybe I'll try that again with wedges - and better light over the cutter!

It's like sawing jump rings, it seems like it should be easy, but in practice it's hard to get it right!
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Enchanted Cobwebs
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2015, 01:59:10 AM »

I had exactly the same problem till I was lucky enough to have a punch that has a sharp point and fitted in one of my disc cutter holes. So drill a hole in the full sheet, use the punch to centre then punch the disc. That was fine but wasnt the size I wanted, then a couple of years later I found these, they dont fit all the holes but most of them and they are bloomin brilliant http://www.suttontools.co.uk/new-set-of-13-centring-dies-for-pepe-premium-disc-cutter.html
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ajda
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2015, 03:07:13 AM »

Yes - that's the solution, though the Pepe centring dies aren't cheap. I use one or two size punches more than most and have improvised a couple of dies using tapered lengths of metal rod with a series of washers (matching the diameter of the punch/hole) wedged onto them. Because they don't do any hard work they don't have to be made of very hard material - possibly lengths of wooden dowel (if you could find just the right diameters) sharpened in a pencil sharpener might do... If you don't drill first, you're right to be wary of holding the disc with fingers while drilling it, Moira - the bit catches and it's suddenly transformed into a mini circular saw blade! You might be able to use some sort of clamp to hold it onto the piece of wood - try searching "mini G clamp" to see if anything suitable crops up.
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Moira HFG
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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2015, 03:16:01 AM »

Oh gosh Helen, thank you so much.

The thing is - and this is embarrassing - my trusty disc cutter, which I got secondhand from a fellow FHer, came with a set of these. It's the one Cooksons sell. I thought they were just for forming discs into conical caps instead of domed ones!  Embarrassed   Embarrassed   Embarrassed

I wondered how people made those clever big-hole caps! I would have been cutting 10 and throwing 9 away!

I'll still make wedges as an insurance policy.

Well, that's made my day  Grin

Moira  Kiss
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flame n fuse
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« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2015, 03:31:31 AM »

The evening class I go to has these as well. Like Moira, I and the tutor both thought they were for making conical caps.
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Moira HFG
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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2015, 03:33:39 AM »

Hello again, Alan, we crossposted.

Sharpened dowel is a good idea, I'm sure that would work for people who haven't just discovered that they had the proper tool under their nose all along (would you believe I'd tried to do something similar with a centre punch? Oh dear....)

I thought about clamping individual caps to a bit of scrap wood - but I'm working quite small, and if I want 20 caps the whole thing is getting very labour intensive.

Another idea I had was to grind a V into the end of a pair of cheap pliers, so you could grip a disc onto a sliver of wood or maybe plastic with the punch mark in the V, and drill with the other hand.
Or get a pair of those haemostats with a hollow circular end - the sort you get for gripping round objects? - and drill through the hole.

 Smiley
« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 03:37:18 AM by Moira HFG » Logged

Moira HFG
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2015, 03:34:44 AM »

Haha F&F, not just me then!  Smiley
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Mars
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2015, 03:48:36 AM »

Not just you, different issue but I discovered recently that for the last 6 months I've actually had the bit to be able to sand down small sharp edges on beads that have lost their pucker (or didn't have one to start with on my early attempts)...  Roll Eyes  I'd been trying to do it by hand and failing miserably.

Luckily I've kept my rejects in a jar as I've been able to rescue a few since that "discovery"
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Enchanted Cobwebs
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« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2015, 03:46:26 PM »

Masking tape..if you have made the discs and need to drill then try masking tape onto a piece of thin wood. Put the tape right over and mark on the tape. Dont try to reuse the tape, it will stick but may pull away making a rather sticky mess which needs white spirit to remove.

Masking tape, childhood friend, Dad was a sculptor in marble, they introduced sand blasting to do lettering to speed up the hand cutting when I was a nipper and masking tape came into my life (1960ish!) Used it for wire wrapping and loads of other things, never without a spool or 2. No use whatsoever in lampworking mind...
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Now I can play all day as I retired from the 'proper' job....
http://www.enchantedcobwebs.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/EnchantedCobwebs
Carefulkate
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« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2015, 05:20:30 AM »

I also have been using to make conical discs now I know what to do as well  Tongue
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theflyingbedstead
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« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2015, 09:08:40 AM »

Masking tape, childhood friend, Dad was a sculptor in marble, they introduced sand blasting to do lettering to speed up the hand cutting when I was a nipper and masking tape came into my life (1960ish!) Used it for wire wrapping and loads of other things, never without a spool or 2. No use whatsoever in lampworking mind...

I use it when sandblasting my beads sometimes...or when using as a resist when etching.
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Charlotte x
Moira HFG
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« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2015, 02:55:42 PM »

Great idea, Helen, I didn't think of that.

What a romantic life you've had. My Dad was what was known as a 'Board Man' - visiting families to find out why their children weren't at school. Guess how popular that made me!

(I've only used masking tape in lampwork to label my mandrels in group classes!  Grin )

Moira
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Enchanted Cobwebs
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« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2015, 04:04:28 PM »

(I've only used masking tape in lampwork to label my mandrels in group classes!  Grin )

Moira

When I was a kid, Dads glasses were held together for years with masking tape. It was use as a repair item for everything much to my total embarrassment in my teens but naturally I just reached for it when I needed to 'hold' stuff!
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Now I can play all day as I retired from the 'proper' job....
http://www.enchantedcobwebs.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/EnchantedCobwebs
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