I am thinking about getting a disc cutter. However, I haven't yet taken the plunge as I am unsure if I want to make that many round discs enough to justify buying one. I did do some research though so I will share what I found out in case you are also trying to decide.
|Economy disc cutter|
All the demonstrators featured here have excellent tips.
Roma Buchanan demonstrates a typical economy model disc cutter in this video. The block unit or die is one piece so the gap where one slides in the metal sheet is preset. You cannot change it. So Roma shows us the trick of pressing down the punch firmly before striking. You could also use double sided tape to help keep the metal sheet still. If you allow the sheet to shift, then repeated strikes will leave unwanted edge marks and a ragged cut. Many artisans also use a large and very heavy brass hammer so they can cut with just one or two blows.
Pepe Disc Cutter
The Pepe disc cutter costs a bit more than economy models. It avoids the set gap problem because the block unit is in two pieces. You assemble the top one over the bottom part by slotting onto the pin (red arrow). The result is both the top and bottom pieces will firmly hold the metal sheet everywhere.
Jill Erickson of Art Jewelry Magazine demonstrates in a video how to use this model. You will have to register (free) with their site to be able to see it.
The striking section of the punches are colored black so it lessens the risk of accidentally hitting the cutting side. The cutting edge of the punches is also not flat like the economy models but slightly angled. This improves the cutting performance because that angled edge helps pierce the metal efficiently.
Swanstrom Disc cutter
This is the deluxe model and it will set you back $250! Like the Pepe, the cutting edge of the punches are all angled. But unlike the Pepe, the unit doesn't come apart. The distance between the top and bottom parts is adjusted with the clamping bolt (black handle). You can thus clamp down on the metal sheet and it will be held firmly. Check out this video and see for yourself.
The Rio Grande instructor uses a shim on the other side as well as a punch lubricant which eliminates the stuck punch problem. Both handy tips. Center positioning plugs (not included in the main disc cutter set) are also available for making your own washers.
Melissa Muir over at Kelsi's Closet Jewelrybox wrote an excellent review of her experiences with different disc cutters. Pangea Designs bit the bullet, bought and raved about her Swanstrom and the centering plugs.
Before You Go :
- How to Make Metal Stamped Jewelry Tutorials
- Book Review - Mixed Metal Mania
- How to Use a Jewelry Saw, Metal Stamping Set and Dapping Block Tutorial Links
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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