Copper Busbar Design for Cost

Normally seventeen thousand copper connectors, aka busbars, ship from our loading dock each day. Thousands of unique designs are included in those seventeen thousand pieces of copper busbar. Of course, we have seen numerous prints from many industries. When our process engineers look at a print, there are a few key design elements they’re straight away drawn to. These design elements mostly dictate how these busbars will be made. It also decides the price we must charge our client.

When thinking about the planning of a busbar, one or two imperative points can enthusiastically impact the price of fabrication. Even though it may appear plain, the no 1 allow for keeping busbar pricing low is frequently disregarded. Indicate only the precise size of copper stock you actually need for the job. Whether or not you are using copper or aluminium for your busbar application, reducing the metal content is your number one chance to reduce cost. You’ll find these ampacity tables particularly useful with sizing busbar. To try this correctly, you have got to know the quantity of temperature rise you are ready to accept. One word of advice while we’re on this subject ; your want for thickness optimisation shouldn’t conclude in a special mill run sizes of busbar. Unless you’re a very big user of busbar, employing freely available busbar thicknesses ( these are .062, .094, .125, .250, .312, .375 and .500 inches ) authorizes your fabricator numerous sources of supply and reduced lead times.

As of the writing of this manuscript, lead times from the 2 domestic copper mills in the U.S. are roughly eight weeks. Most OEMs we deal with need a lead time of two weeks or less on their busbar necessities. From a fabrication perspective, slapping holes in copper busbar is way more inexpensive than milling holes. On busbar less than .500″ thick, there usually are 2 design parameters which force busbar to be routed to the mill. The 1st is a hole location so close to a formed or bent area of the busbar the hole becomes misshapen. You see, busbar is definitely punched when it is flat. The only possible way we will get a hole into a bent busbar is by mounting it on the mill or machining center. This process is slow and so dear. If you can permit a distance of 1.00″ or even more from a hole location to a bend in the part, we will be able to most frequently eliminate a stop at the mill. The following reason a busbar frequently stops at the mill is toleration. Once your toleration gets under + / – .005″ on hole placement, we will be able to no long hold these dimensions on our punch presses. Additionally, the toleration of the hole diameter is a concern, + / – .001″ and we must employ a mill to drill the hole. To be completely certain your part stays off the mill, permit + / – .020″ for your toleration.

It’s important to notice that smacking copper busbar does a touch deform the outer layer of the part. Infrequently this indenting or rounding of the outer layer of the busbar may result in a loss of contact area. This minor distortion of the hole isn’t a difficulty, but worth realizing. To summarise the imperative points in reducing busbar cost :

– Use the tiniest possible size to reduce metal content of the busbar.
– Design in standard thickness busbar to boost accessibility whenever it’s possible.
– Review hole placement and toleration to cut back the chance the busbar would have to be routed to the mill.

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Working with Copper Foil

Working with metals can be confusing. There are a lot of terms that are industry specific. How does someone starting a craft attempt to make sense of it all? Well, I have set out to do a little research to make it easier for you and me to understand.

A good place to start is This will give you answers to many basic questions about what to expect from each thickness of copper foil. It will also give you examples of projects and crafts that you can create each thickness of copper foil.

If you are just starting out and would like to experiment with the different gauges/mil copper sheet, then you might consider ordering a Sampler Pack or some copper scrap pieces.

Now we must discuss the terms mil and gauge. Mil stands for 1/1000 of an inch. Mil is commonly used to describe the thickness of sheet metal; however there is also a gauge conversion. Gauge is used very often to describe the thickness of wire. The measurement in terms of gauge is inversely proportionally to the thickness. That means that the higher the gauge number, the thinner the metal or wire will be, and the lower the gauge number, the thicker the metal or wire will be. Thus the 36 gauge copper sheets are thinner than the 30 gauge copper sheets . In using the term mil, however, the larger the number, the thicker the copper sheet will be and so the 16 mil copper sheets are thicker than the 8 mil copper sheets .

From thinnest to thickest, the thicknesses of copper sheet available are 1 Mil ( copper foil), 1.4 Mil (copper foil), 5 Mil (36 gauge) , 8 Mil(32 gauge) , 10 Mil (30 gauge) , and 16 Mil (26 gauge) .

1 mil Copper Foil:
1 Mil is slightly thicker than the foil you use in your kitchen. I can think of so many uses for this foil! One of my favorite projects is to combine the copper foil with fabric. It adds an interesting texture and is very easy to work with.

One project I have done is to use my sewing machine and sew it onto some scraps left over from my heart journal swap. This thickness holds wrinkles well. When you wrinkle and then uncrumple this thickness, it does not tear apart like household foil. It would work great as part of a background for a scrapbook page, collage or painting. If you crumple it, you can use some acrylic paint or fluid acrylic on it. When it has dried, you can go over the peaks with a permanent ink stamp pad or use a sanding block to take the paint off the peaks.

Wonderful contrast! If you want to paint on it as a smooth surface, you can do it with acrylic paint and fluid acrylics. It might smear a little since it is a smooth, nonporous surface. If you wipe down the surface with alcohol first or sand it a little, the surface will hold the paint better. You can also use Golden GAC 200 the paint will adhere to the copper foil better. This copper foil will work well with many mixed media backgrounds. You can cut this thickness with a pair of scissors or even tear it with your hands. The 1 Mil copper sheet will not hold its own shape without something behind it to reinforce it. I would not use this for metal embossing.

1.4 mil Copper Foil:
1.4 Mil is slightly thicker than the 1 Mil . You can also cut it with scissors and wrinkle it easily. You can use in pretty much the same way as the 1 Mil copper sheet, however it is thicker and may be a little sturdier. I would recommend this thickness for light textured backgrounds and for putting over objects that you might want to metallicize (and even distress). The 1 Mil or 1.4 Mil should only be used for die-cuts or punches that you want to be very thin and wispy. The images would be cleaner with the 5 Mil or 8 Mil .

5 mil/ 36 gauge Copper:
5 Mil copper is thick enough that it will hold shape pretty well. You cannot tear it with your hands, but it can be be cut with scissors. It is very flexible and pliable. I would not use this thickness as art jewelry unless you have something solid backing it. It is perfect for die-cuts and punches and It is also a good choice for dry embossing or repousse. You would want to reinforce your dry embossing with something like light spackle or fill in large areas with a polymer clay so that you do not lose the image over time. One approach I like to use is to paint the sheet metal first, let it dry, and then emboss. After that I sand the peaks which produces a great contrast between the copper and the paint. I would also use this weight for focal image frames, as contrast behind my focal image, and for collage.

8 Mil/ 32 gauge Copper:
8 Mil is the next thickest copper sheet. It is still quite pliable but to punch it requires quite a bit of pressure. I have had a hard time trying to get a punch to work with this thickness. (I had to step on it to get the punch to work.) You can still use a pair of scissors to cut it. I would use this weight for art jewelry but would use two layers cold connected together or have something solid in back of it.

It is also a good coiling thickness. You could use round nosed pliers and create some great coils or rolled beads with this weight. You could stamp it, paint it, or put some transfers on it first. This thickness would also work in a lightweight capacity in assemblages. You can also use this thickness for dry embossing but your images or designs would have to be more broad as it would be more difficult to get fine detail with this thickness. Puffing out the copper would work well with this thickness.

10 Mil/ 30 gauge Copper:
10 Mil is the thickness that I use the most often because of its versatility. It is pliable, easy to work with and yet thick enough to hold shape. I use it in assemblages, mixed media art, and in certain art jewelry pieces.

I usually use a pair of snips to cut 10 Mil . You can use a pair of scissors or a utility knife, but the edges are very sharp so you will want to be careful. I have created metal ATCs and metal collage cards with 10 Mil copper sheet. The 10 Mil can be texturized with a variety of objects, such as a small hammer, or polished for a smoother finish. (By the way, a Crop-a-dile will easily punch a hole in your copper sheet up to the 16 mil thickness. You can see the Crop-a-dile hole in the 10 Mil and 16 Mil sample photos).

16 Mil/ 26 Gauge Copper:
16 Mil / This is a good thickness for sculptures, assemblages, and art jewelry. I have created quite a few piece of art jewelry with 16 Mil . I have also created some art cards using this thickness. It is not so thick that I can’t bend or form it, but it is rigid enough that it will hold whatever shape I create out of it It is a good choice when you want to sacrifice pliability and ease of cutting for a more rigid final result that will hold shape very well without the need for a backer. I would not try to emboss with either the 10 Mil or 16 Mil copper sheets, however both respond to texturizing very well. You can hit it with a variety of objects to create your own unique texture. 16 Mil copper definitely needs to be cut with a pair of snips or something similar to cut it.

As with any sheet metal, the edges can be extremely sharp. Be careful when cutting or working with it. Whenever I create pieces that have sharp corners, I usually use an old pair of scissors (so I don’t worry about ruining them) and trim the corners so that they are slightly rounded. You can use your Dremel, sand paper, or sanding block to sand the edges so that it is not sharp or rough to the touch.

It can be an intimidating challenge to start to learn a new craft, so the most important thing is to have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment. You will certainly be rewarded for your efforts by the countless objects you can create with this beautiful and unique metal.

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