Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Disc Cutter

A disc cutter has been on my wish list for some time now, and I recently purchased one and am now wondering how I've lived so long without it! The one I chose has a clear perspex top as opposed to the majority I have seen which have metal as the uppermost layer. I'm very glad I made this choice as it's a big advantage to be able to actually see to line up your sheet, and in the case of cutting a circle out within another circle, it's a must to be able to visually line it up.

A circle punched within a circle

This particular disc cutter is able to cut circles to the sizes of 1/8"; 3/16"; 1/4"; 5/16"; 7/16"; 1/2"; 5/8" and 3/4" and neatly stores in it's own case.

Disc Cutter Case

Disc Cutter Set

It's a simple process to follow, just slip the metal in between the top perspex layer and the bottom metal base, lining it up with the required size hole.

Sheet Metal inbetween the layers

The cutter punch has a bevelled end and a straight end. Place the straight end into the hole.

Bevelled Edge

Straight Cutting Edge

Place staight edge in first

In all the instructions I have read for disc cutters it mentions only a couple of hits with the hammer is needed. I am using aluminium sheet in mine, so that may be harder to cut than silver sheet, but my experience so far is it requires a lot more than a couple of blows with the hammer, or maybe I'm too light with the hammer as I find it needs several hits before completely cutting through, and the disc will drop through.

Strike several times with the Hammer

I found the most challenging part of the process was releasing the cutter punch once the disc has been successfully cut. I've now solved that problem. I looked for a piece of dowel but settled on a small piece of tree branch instead.

Stick with a straight end

I then placed this on the cutter punch and hammered the punch right through. You may need to place a block of wood under the edge of the cutter to give enough height for the punch to safely drop through on a bench top. It should come out quite quickly and easily.

Releasing the Cutter Punch

I purchased my cutter from Carol Braden of Mastery Tools on Ebay US. If she doesn't have any listed at the moment I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you emailed enquiring about them.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Working with Aluminium

While I am having a slight hiatus in my aluminium anodising project due to waiting for the arrival of 200 litres/ 52 gallons of distilled water, I have another aluminium necklace and earrings in the making.

Domed Discs, drilled, filed, sanded and polished

I'm loving working with aluminium, it is such a soft metal to manipulate, and so very light. I have given these pieces a final polish on my electric wheel, using a green bar compound. I've then soaked them in thinners to remove the polish grime as this will prevent anodising if it does not have a clean surface.

I'm planning to anodise these pieces in a combination of violet and blue, but at this stage of course I'm still waiting to succeed in achieving a result I am happy with before I can finally put my pieces together.

Hey, it's my birthday today!! :-)