I’ve had many comments saying I wish I had a CNC Machine to make stuff like that. I wish I did too! Out of necessity and stubbornness I have learned to make a lot of things with basic hand tools. With a little practice you can learn to fabricate some amazing things without a CNC Machine. I prefer to work with Aluminum and copper because you can repair most mistakes to the face of your piece. Acrylic is great too but you have to take more care not to scratch the face of your piece, because it’s almost impossible to polish it back to a factory finish. These techniques work on most materials, but the softer materials conform to your wishes with less effort.
My methods are very Caveman, but they achieve great results for the minimal investment in tools. Also there is a great satisfaction in crafting something by hand. Make no mistake, this can be a lot of work, but if you have more time than money like me the outcome is well worth the effort.
Files and more files. I have 29 so far.
Needle files of all shapes will be your main tool. Full sets are fairly cheap. I have one set that is extremely small for the tightest spots. Assorted Larger files for fast removal in open areas. Don’t get to ruff of a file! We are working with thinner materials and by working slowly you avoid most of your mistakes.
Power drill or drill press if you have the money and room. I just use a hand drill.
I lost my drill press in the divorce, got the girl back and no drill press. Ripped off again!
Drill Bits and Bimetal hole hog bits if you want to cut any large circles or holes.
Adjustable Clampsto hold pieces in place while you are working them.
Razor knifewith sharp blades
A printer or good Pattern to work from.
Painters masking tapefor easy removal
Good quality Jig Saw. Remember to always tape the surface to avoid scratches!
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