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Perforated Plating

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  • Member since
    November 2018
Perforated Plating
Posted by techsoldaten on Monday, November 12, 2018 8:51 PM

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I'm preparing to scratch build some industrial bases for miniatures. Having a hard time finding materials for the floors, could use some advice.

I have a specific idea for how the floors will look, a perforated metal deck with 3/32" holes at a 5/32" stagger. While it's possible to buy sheets of aluminum with this pattern, they're not cheap and it feels like real metal would be overdoing it.

So I've been looking for styrene or plastic for this purpose, but I haven't been able to find a way to get it pre-cut. I emailed Evergreen, they said they're not able to, and I talked with a number of laser cutting firms who said the material would be too thick.

Wondering how people on this forum would handle a project like this? Drill it yourself, find a supplier, suck it up and work with metal, other ideas?


  • Member since
    October 2010
Posted by hypertex on Thursday, November 15, 2018 7:27 AM

Have you looked into a CNC company? It sounds to me like a job for a CNC router.

What I would do is buy one pre-drilled aluminum plate and use it as a template to drill out some sheet plastic.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, November 16, 2018 8:59 AM

I have seen some PE brass sheets, but I suspect these are even more expensive than aluminum.

I am experimenting with one of those CNC vinyl cutting machines (I have an old model Cricut machine I bought at a closeout sale when a new model came out).  Micro Mark now has one that looks better than what I bought, and I am sorry I bought the one I did, I wish now I had waited and bought the Micro Mark one.

I had originally bought it to mask painting masks, for camouflage and  logos.  Then, I found it could be used to make masks for doing photo etching, and then that the machines will cut through thin styrene sheets.  I am still learning to use the machine, and how to make the drawings properly.  I am using 2D CAD to make them, but there are some tricks for files to be used for these vinyl cutters.

For a project like yours, I think one of these machines would be great.  A simple pattern could be made using the array tool.  Once you have the file, upload it to the vinyl cutter, put the vinyl sheets in, and let the machine do the work.

The limiting problem may be the scale you want, and how tiny you need the cutout areas.  I am running tests to determine the minimum feature size I need, which seems to depend on how good my CAD drawings are.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by PFJN on Friday, November 16, 2018 10:22 AM


In addition to what Don has said there are a number of small laser cutters/engravers for a relatively low price that can cut thin woods and card stock etc that could be of use. I've seen them for as low as $150 or so, but have never tried one so I can't attest to whether something at that price would be suitable for your needs, though.



1st Group BuildSP

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Friday, November 16, 2018 2:12 PM

A low-tech, old-school solution would be to make a jig of the pattern, and then use the jig to make the holes.  If you're talking about round holes, it'll be relatively simple.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.



  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by Dima210 on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 12:57 AM

CNC would be crazy overkill.

you could go with a pneumatic punch press, but also would be overkill.

If you want to put in the time, then I’d say go for drilling the plastic using a template.  

Honestly I would just buy a sheet of perforated cage metal, that way you are using the real thing and don’t have to replicate. Also this is the best in terms of cost and time to result ratio.

I actually have some old perforated sheet cage metal which I can send to you if you’d like. 


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