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Author Topic: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?  (Read 43468 times)

bill t.

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Re: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2015, 11:28:59 pm »

Old threads never die.

Does anybody here have any experience with the Keencut SteelTrak media cutters?  Was wondering if the rotary ACM cutters on the SteelTrak models are the same as on the Excalibur models used for Johnny_Boy's pictures earlier in this thread, and how the SteelTrak ACM cutter performs in general.

Also, I notice that in the brochure for the ST250 model that can make 8 foot long cuts, there is an obscure footnote that suggests there are unspecified materials limitations on that particular model only.  Anybody know what that's about?
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Justan

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Re: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2015, 12:52:14 am »

^Don't have a direct answer but have you tried:

KEENCUT LIMITED HEADQUARTERS:
Baird Road, Willowbrook Industrial Estate, Corby, Northants, England, NN17 5ZA, United Kingdom

All Enquires Tel: +44 (0)1536 263158 (Keencut HQ)

FAX: +44 (0)1536 204227

Email: info@keencut.co.uk

from: http://www.keencut.com/contact-us/

bill t.

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Re: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2015, 01:20:15 am »

I have talked to one of the US distributors and they're being a little dodgy about some things, probably because they honestly don't know the right answers.  So I thought I'd get the info straight from those who have studied that device in the school of hard knocks.  Most salemen have not been knocked around nearly hard enough.

I need to cut 3mm Dibond and 6 to 13mm expanded PVC.  The Dibond is not a problem but the PVC may be an issue with the 8 foot ST250 model, for reasons unknown.  Maybe PVC is too slippery for the clamps, or it's not clamped full length, who knows?

Would be nice to cut those panels in the same room as the printer and framing operation, and lose the nastiest sawdust on the planet.  ACM has been getting heavier over the years, and I now have this vision of panels leaned up against the wall mere centimeters from a clean cutting panel slitter, where I could then just turn around and dump the pristine, dustless, fully deburred, and precisely sized panels on my worktable.  Won't tell you what I have to go through now, would bring tears your eyes.
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Justan

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Re: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2015, 09:13:27 am »

The video i saw on yt makes it look very capable.

I can believe sales folk donít have the answers. Perhaps they can direct you to some of their customers in the US?

Also you might try asking at the Grumble. Having put in text, most there appear to use largely more traditional materials and i haven't seen menton of DiBond or similar....

Edit: Take a look at the following link. Looks like a good resource: http://www.signs101.com/forums/showthread.php?108004-Foster-Keencut-SteelTrak-Anyone-have-Anyone-recommend
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 09:16:57 am by Justan »
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bill t.

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Re: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2015, 01:53:31 pm »

Oh yeah, have checked all those sources many times and have even had a demo of the smallest version of the machine.

What I'm really looking for is input from somebody who has used the largest version in the context of fine art production.

Minor issues not be worth the mention for a slam-dunk sign maker might be deal-breakers for the likes of us.  LuLa in most likely to have the droids I seek, if they would only speak up.
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Richard.Wills

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Re: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2015, 03:49:18 pm »

I only have the 210 (ceilings are too low...) but do not believe that the clamping mechanism would change that much on the larger model - I'm sure that it would handle 8' PVC without problem, and given the construction of the cutting track, I'd have difficulty imagining it flexing.

Every time I've had dealings with Keencut, they've been extremely responsive - either phone (helps that I'm over right-ponded) or email. They've always been very straight and open to deal with
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jferrari

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Re: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2015, 10:01:38 pm »

Bill, take a look at this video. Might help, might not.
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bill t.

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Re: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2015, 02:05:42 am »

Thanks to all for your input.  Forgive my nervousness, that's a pricey machine that would only be worth it if it would eliminate all the current rough spots in my production, which it seems capable of doing.  No panel saw, no table saw, no making 27 ragged knife swipes at 6mm PVC, no Gatorfoam chips in my ice cream, and lovely cuts on ACM.  But there was this ominous little quote in the product .pdf:

** some restrictions may apply to Acrylic, Glass and PVC materials. on the 98Ē
model. Please contact your local Foster Keencut Dealer for more information.


Well, I was not the only person confused by that, but now it looks like the restrictions have to do with glass, and who uses that anymore?  PVC seems to be not a challenge, nor is Dibond, Gator, etc.  Have already had a demo of one of the smaller machines from a more-than-happy fine-art customer with some great stories to tell over lunch.  It's a very well built device that I am sure I will pass it on to my grand children.

As Richard says, Keencut is a very attentive company that always picks up the phone and tries hard to address one's issues, both in the UK and over here in the US.  I believe I may be the first ST250 user in the US, or at least an early adopter, so that's where the confusion evolved.  Here's to high ceilings.
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Justan

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Re: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2015, 11:19:07 am »

Thanks for explaining the reasoning for your reluctance. Being the first on the block with anything requires a significant leap of faith.

FWIW, when in doubt always purchase using an AMEX CC as they back the buyer where other CC vendors typically back the seller.

Richard.Wills

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Re: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?
« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2015, 02:06:52 pm »

Looks like the glass cutting accessory tops out at 65". This is not the cutting wheel, but rather the raised section for snapping the glass. In my wildest nightmares, I (don't) picture myself cutting 2-3mm glass that is three feet higher than me. I don't have the glass kit (nasty sharp stuff), but when do need to trim glass, then just cut a section of 5mm pvc which makes a reasonable snapping line.

Afraid to say that on 6mm PVC (at least, the good stuff), you're looking at two passes of the blade, and if your workshop gets cold, some of the cuts can go very slow (to avoid the hideous cracking sound of the material fracturing). But they are lovely smooth clean, easy cuts to make.

I dread the day we get higher ceilings and they bring out a 3m cutter - the idea of 10x5 sheets could only lead to cravings for a 60" printer...
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bill t.

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Re: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?
« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2015, 03:18:54 pm »

Yes I learned about the two pass PVC thing from my local contact.  No problem, it's pleasantly warm here and having a clean-cutting, perfectly aligned blade is an improvement over the dozens of shred-inducing, wiggle-waggle cuts I now have to make by hand.  I can hand cut up to about 30" quite nicely, but as soon as walking becomes involved it's all over.

Yes, I too worry about size creep.  I established a 90" limit in the days of my 9880 with its famous length limitation, but even now there is some pressure for more.  48 x 98 (framed) sounds big, but that can seem tiny in large rooms, where the client can not be talked into multiple pieces.  Big sells, no doubt about it.  Have been trying to shoot much taller panos, to pump up the on-wall presence without passing the 96" mark.
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Richard.Wills

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Re: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?
« Reply #31 on: February 19, 2015, 05:37:55 pm »

I reckon you could change the proportions a tad, say 48x96. If only sheet materials came in an 8x4' size...

Until we shift locations (first floor, no lift), we are absolutely limited to 8x4's - larger won't make it up the stairs. Actually, as someone is building a hotel opposite us, and the road will be closed for 14 months, we're having real troubles getting anyone to deliver 8x4's at the moment.
</rant>
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bill t.

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Re: Dustless way to cut Dibond and other aluminum composite panels?
« Reply #32 on: February 19, 2015, 07:41:34 pm »

Yes, there is more to this business than keeping our nozzles clean.  My location is a dead-end, curb-crushing trap for large trucks.  I have to fetch stuff at the freight terminal in my small Tacoma pickup truck, with 41 inches between wheel wells, where objects over 6 foot long hang out the back.  Somehow I manage, the lack of stairs is merciful.  The SteelTrak will be an adventure in moving.  It's a complicated chain of events that converts charges on our credit cards into art on our customers' walls.
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