Thanks to everyone's suggestions, I'm just about there. I hope to cut some good ones today.
The key points were:
1. Lower the wire temp. I was cutting at 5 1/2 on my power supply dial. I find it can still make the cut at a setting of 4 1/2.
2. Make the blank wider. With the blank 1/2" wider, I can trim off the part with holes and get a nice clean TE.
3. Make the tip template slightly larger. I went to 12% thickness vs. 10%.
4. Keep the wire very clean. A fair amount of "slag" remains on it after each cut, and I have been scraping it off with an old #11 blade.
5. Get the geometry of the cutter right and use the gravity drop arm. I was having trouble with this and had switched to pulling by hand, but I would always get waves in the cut. The gravity arm makes a wave-free cut. (This is the part I still have to completely work out.)
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