Cutting out designs w/o sawing?

I’m not entirely sure what this process would be called. I’m also not sure if it belongs in the jewelry category, but placed here since that’s what I’m going for design wise.

I had taken the fabrication class some time ago. Loved the instructor, but sawing out pieces is not for me at all. It was not a process I enjoyed.

So what I’m trying to sort out in my head is if there is a way to cut out designs, whether geometric or something of the sort either using tools in jewelry or somewhere else at the space? Thinking mostly silver, copper, brass, who knows what else. The only thing I could thing of that immediately came to mind as an example of what I’m talking about are metal bookmarks. Essentially trying to do something similar, but for jewelry.

Ideas? Places you can point me to for resources?


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Have you considered etching the parts out of thin brass or copper?

Here’s an example from a Google search:


You can use the vinyl cutter, or a sharpie to act as your resist BTW. Etching all the way through a piece might be a bit time consuming though. it takes hours just to get a light etching.

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Acid etching or rolling mill would give you designs and texture without sawing. It would not be pierced all through, but could give designs. All through, acid could do but not at cleanly or fine detail as your pics

Production wise, pancake dies can pop out silhouettes. But that’s a whole ‘nuther can of worms.

I imagine others will have some alternate ideas

Were you having frustrations with sawing or just don’t care for it?

Frustrations, maybe one of us could help. I love sawing. It feels kinda zen. But things like binding blades and breaking are tool and technique driven things that can be improved with a few tips and practice. Feel free to pm me if you want to chase this

Just not your bag, that’s different


Etching could be an option on some pieces, but not sure that’s what I’m trying to accomplish yet. Ultimately my brain is thinking something punched out. Such as maybe a circle (not sure what size exactly I want), but then I want the center punched out. Then add texture to the item left.

Did a quick search and this is what yielded:


This is a really good example of what I’m thinking of trying.

My frustrations were more 1) it bothered my wrists. I was sore after - my guess is it was that particular motion but could have been way I was sitting/standing or something else 2) I couldn’t quite get the rhythym down right so kept getting saw snagged/hung up in spots.

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There’s a coating you can use for some metals to cut them on the laser. It would be good to ask someone from @Team_Laser to find out what metals you can use on a laser and how to prep the pieces.

Your designs are very nice.

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Nitpicky, perhaps, but…
Cermark allows our lasers to ETCH metals.
Nothing we have can CUT metals of any sort.


Correct. Cermark allows you to use the laser to create designs on things like tumblers. However, the process is ‘additive’ in that it bonds the Cermark to the surface.

Also of note, it’s considered a ‘spray paint’, so may now need to spray it off DMS property (I think).


There exists “liquids and pastes”, as well, (i.e. “brush on” rather than aerosol, and thus, capable of being used on site).
This is not to say we have any @ DMS. I do not know what, if any, we offer, though we once did offer a can of the spary-on variety.

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The coating you’re talking about allows you to mark different metals, but not cut. From a technical standpoint our lasers might be able to cut certain foils using oxygen assist, but that’s not really practical so it’d just be an expensive excuse to screw around.

We used to offer Ceramark but after the spray paint debacle we no longer do. I have seen people use the paste however it’s much harder to get an even coat.


2 posts were split to a new topic: The Whole Spray Paint Thing (Again)

Actually, Cermark MARKS metal; it doesn’t etch. It is a black mark that is adhered to the surface of the metal by the heat generated by the laser.


How thick are those designs? How large the pieces? My first thought when I looked at them was that they are stamped. Amazing saw work!

In the semiconductor industry copper leadframes for integrated circuits are generally etched (low volume or engineering samples) or stamped (high volume).

Could the Shapeoko etch this?

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I’m looking of finding a way to actually cut out without sawing. Right now not quite at the point of considering etching, but perhaps later.

I’m not sure how relevant size is, but thickness is a good question. Maybe 24ga thickness, possibly thinner. If I were to guess size, let’s just start with a 2" base teardrop, with a cutout in the center.

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Sounds like a job for a CNC. It would be pretty slow going at that size. Someday when we get the Shapokeo XL set up it would be useful for this. The small seemed driven one is a bit limited


That’s almost what I wondered as well. I had re-registered for the Shapeoko (as it’s been a while since I last took training) for Feb but then cancelled because I realized it would do me no good right now if I’m looking for it to accomplish this specific task.

I tried searching to see if there were cut-out stamps of sorts but could not quite find what I’m looking for.

“Someday” …

I’m waiting / wanting the ‘someday’ when we cut a die using the Haas and then stamp the designs.


Model builders have been using photo etched parts for some time.

There are now kits to make your own.


Ah, picture helps.

One option would be to source the disks (easier if ok with copper, used a lot in enameling). Then use circle punch in jewelry for larger interior hole and several ways to make small hole to attach findings.

I know Rio Grande has copper disks. I’m sure other jewelry and enamel supplies have.

For production amounts:

Google “pancake dies”

If you’re doing production (too expensive for just a few) these are option.

Ones from potter USA run $25-35ish, there’s some on Etsy for $100ish (they may handcut them) and custom can run $75-150ish

You need to use hydraulic press.

Not sure if current status of ones at dms (one in metal area needed gauge awhile back but maybe fixed now). Not sure if we have one in jewelry…

For the shape you show, you could cut the main shape and use disk cutter in jewelry to punch interior.

Potter USA sells them, plus Etsy artists, or you can get custom.


Paging @nicksilva

Perhaps this could be done as a custom stamp/die carved out on the HAAS. Nick’s the ornery expert at that! :smiley:

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