Pancake dies – a how to…

How its made – by Nici Laskin

How its made - by me :)
this is long but maybe someone will appreciate a post like this I am showing you how a so called pancake die is made for making the same metal blanks over and over again – this one is for my new tear drop guitar pick ( yes they are actual guitar picks and playable ) please excuse my english – its my third language

starting out with a plate of Tungsten steel

starting out with a plate of Tungsten steel
its about 2.5mm thick and measures 3 inch by 5 inch in length and width

taped paper to the plate

taped paper to the plate
the design on it will be the tongue for the die

drilled some holes

drilled some holes
the holes are to feed the saw blade through and to make it easier to move the tongue in the end

the first cuts are made with a dremel bit

the first cuts are made with a dremel bit
think tiny circular saw blade ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GLASSES 🙂

the rest is cut out via Hack saw

the rest is cut out via Hack saw
the tongue does not have to be pretty (backside)
front

I stuck some label paper to the end of the tongue

I stuck some label paper to the end of the tongue
the guitar pick design gets printed out on label paper and then stuck to the steel plate right above the end of my cuts for the tongue

take a jewelers saw to cut out the design

take a jewelers saw to cut out the design
now comes the part that I hate the most , the blades are so fine that they can break with the slightest twitch or twist and cutting will take more than 1 hour – all by hand why even cut them out by hand – a laser cutter is gosh darn expensive – that’s why

this is the saw blade

this is the saw blade

starting the cutting

starting the cutting

I use chain lube for the blades

I use chain lube for the blades
makes the blades run better and cutting a bit easier

45 minutes into cutting

45 minutes into cutting
that is only my second saw blade first one broke going around the tip

all cut out and removed the paper

all cut out and removed the paper

throughout the years I cut many many dies

throughout the years I cut many many dies

now comes the fun part

now comes the fun part
the metal strip is brass and gets pushed in between the plate and the cut out die part

using my 20 ton metal press

using my 20 ton metal press
this one is not electric and has to be cranked by hand 🙂
you basically stick the die in between steel plates and then crank the handle of the press moving the lower part upwards

it makes a loud pop when the die cuts the metal

it makes a loud pop when the die cuts the metal
sounds almost like a gun shot – I am usually scaring the neighbours , if I have not done it for a while –

die – metal strip and guitar pick

die - metal strip and guitar pick
the brass guitar pick has a large bur that needs to be taken care of

cut it off with some flush cutters

cut it off with some flush cutters

the polishing for a smooth glide on the strings

the polishing for a smooth glide on the strings

this is the wheel that smoothes out the burrs

this is the wheel that smoothes out the burrs
in the early days I did the filing by hand , took me ages to produce a guitar pick

all finished

all finished
brass guitar pick , ready to be played there are tons of people who will say that you cannot play with a metal guitar pick there are tons of musicians that prefer metal and some even use old copper coins or silver dollars each different metal makes a different sound aluminum will sound twangy and metally brass , bronze will sound high metally with a short sustain copper and sterling silver will give you a rich sound with a nice long sustain
Now I just have to make a couple and list them on my website NicisPicks
TLDR, how to make a guitar pick with a pancake die