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Disc cutter brand recommendations


#1

I’ve got a disc cutter, but it’s difficult to use. I do know how to
use this, but bought a cheap one. I know you get what you pay for.
I’m seriously wanting the Swanstrom Disc Cutter that Rio sells for
$265, along with the Center Positioning Die Set. I’m sure this is
worth it, but don’t have it yet as it’s a lot of money for my budget.
I’m planning for it. I love the Swanstrom tools that I do have. I
wanted to ask for other’s recommendations. What brand of disc cutter
do you have? Swanstrom states you can use up to 16 ga. Yes, I’ll use
it enough to get my money’s worth out of it.

Also, I’m wondering is it as easy to cut disc from metal you’ve
textured, whether with a hammer, other tools, rolling mill, or
etched?

Looking forward to comments.
Thanks,
Sharon Perdasofpy


#2

Good morning,

I have the Swanstrom Disc Cutter and it is a beautiful tool to use.
You can cut textured metal as long as the the textures are not too
deep. Definitely worth the price.

Gerry


#3

Swanstrom is worth it. Every single penny. I have the round one and
the rectangular one. No center positioning dies though. But my god,
the disc cutters are amazing. You will not regret it.


#4

I have a Pepe disc cutter (round) which is about four years old now
and going strong. I so wanted a disc cutter for ovals that I
splurged and bought the very pricey Swanstrom Oval Disc Cutter from
Rio. To tell the truth, I think the Pepe cutter is better - it makes
really clean cuts. I wish Pepe would offer an oval and square set.
Good luck with your decision!

Sincerely,
Andrea Krause


#5

Ditto from here on the Swanson. I have the round one with the center
positioning dies. It is a wonderful. I hope to soon purchase the
oval set which I would have purchased first had it been available at
the time. I have learned the hard way that knock off tools end up
costing me more time and $$$ in the long run.

Kindest Regards, R


#6

That’s why I’m afraid to try the knock off brand offered by two other
jewelry supply houses. I’m having to wait a little bit longer, but
hope to buy the Swanstrom soon.

Sharon Perdasofpy


#7

I have used a perfectly good harbor freight disc cutter set for
rounds up to 12 g.together with a digital center finder ( for marking
the metal before cutting so one can layout the cuts with the least
waste) - the HF disc cutters cost around 40 dollars US, and a center
finder is about 10 bucks. However I own a PEPE disc cutting set,
actually 2 Pepe sets. while the PEPE sets cut a wider range of sizes,
if you are on a budget, and generally don’t use anything larger than
a 14mm disc, the harbor freight set is a perfectly good buy as long
as you keep the set well maintained and use a properly weighted
hammer/mallet for the cutting operation, as after about 100 cuts the
edges need dressing to stay brilliantly sharp ( any set will need
good maintenance particularly in a humid environment). I personally
would not spend the money on a Swanstrom set unless you are in
business and it is your livelihood - otherwise there are a number of
vendors that sell the PEPE sets at a discounted price.

As for cutting textured, etched, or otherwise “treated” sheet, it is
fine as long as the design isn’t a hand engraved one off piece where
the cutter would strike a particularly thin section on any point on
the diameter of the circle ( or whatever shape it is), the cut will
cause the thinned metal to flare a bit which is fixable but easier to
cut first engrave second.If it is pre-textured when you buy it, there
should be no problem as most sheet is manufactured so that the design
is not deeply roll printed to begin with.

Consider your average use of the tool in a week, or even a month- if
you think you may cut say a dozen discs in a couple of sizes a month,
then a 265.00 set seems over-the-top. Of all the sets discussed there
is really only a slight difference- all the punches are case
hardened, all the platens are steel alloy and the templates are
similar, and attached in the same way- the cheap set should serve the
occasional need until you are making money at metalsmithing or doing
production work that demands a lot of discs,etc…if it’s just a
hobby you are working at, go for the harbor freight set and invest
the other 200 into metals!..rer


#8

I have the Pepe disc cutter as I could not afford the Swanstrom, and
if you are on a budget it is a great disc cutter! Not, I am sure,
as good as the Swanstrom, but it has withheld years of use by me and
my students and I am quite happy! Wish they made one with more
sizes…

Beth Wicker
http://www.bethwicker.com


#9

Do you mean more than 18 ga Beth?

Barbara on a grey day on the island, more like November


#10

As for disc cutters, I have an old set from Gesswein that I bought
in the mid to late 90’s, and it’s still the best one I’ve had. No
longer available, and it costed $100 but it’s held up very well over
the years, better than any I’ve seen. Even cuts 16g without an issue.
I have bought the cheaper Pepe cutters for colleges I’ve taught at,
but they required so much maintainence to keep sharp. Also the larger
head ( that darnridge on the top part of cutter) does not go
through, so I was always flipping the disc cutter upside down, and
pushing out the cutter with a wo oden rod. I personally have to keep
regrinding the cutters every time I teach at a particular craft
program in New England, for the students a re so gung-ho with it, and
I keep yelling at them to be careful. I have tried the little steel
round Harbor Freight cutter which I have, and it works fine as long
as you are considerate of it. The plexiglas/steel version that Harbor
Freight had works fine if you were careful and stuck to thin gauges.
Let loose an entire class of Jewelry 101 students, and the poor
cutter will soon fall apart.

The beautiful Swanstrom disc cutters are amazing, and since one
metals guild that I teach at has it, I can do use anytime, so I don’t
have to buy my own set. If you are going to use a disc cutter
frequently, then the Swanstrom cutters are the way to go. If you are
going to use disc cutters once in a while, then a cheap cutter will
do the trick. I save my energy and buy the bronze/sterling discs in
the sizes I need, since I need so many for my custom measuring spoons
and spoons. I tell my stud ents, just buy the discs in the sizes you
need, rather than keep cutting them out.

I only wish Swanstorm wasn’t so expensive, but they are a quality
tool. Sometimes it does pay to get the best you get, and they’ll
keep you happy for a long time.

Joy


#11

Thank you for all your info. I’ve been making jewelry full time 22
yrs…so I would sure use the disc cutter. My jewelry was my only in
come up until a couple of yrs. ago. The one I have from Harbor
Freight I have a terrible time cutting with it. I know about the
hammer to use, & using lubricant on the cutters. I’m sure I haven’t
used 100 cuts. I do have those 3M gray wheels, deburring wheels for
my polisher. Would these dress the cutters?

I don’t live in s. TX where it’s more humid, but the Dallas Ft Worth
area gets humid enough. I’ve kept the disc cutter in an enclosed
plastic box & every time I’ve used it I’ve used Burlife. What else
should I do to it?

Sharon Perdasofpy


#12

Hi Joy…with you completely…I would rather buy the discs I
need rather than punching them out.

Here’s my frustration: apart from copper it is REALLY difficult to
find sterling discs in the Toronto Canada market (grrrrrrr…)
Additionally, every time I’ve ordered from Metaliferous in New
Jersey, they are out of stock…my next obvious choice is Rio Grande,
but I whimper thinking of the shipping costs.

…as I continue to look for a Canadian supplier of sterling discs.
(Hellooooooo Canadian suppliers out there…) would you have any
leads of good US suppliers on the east coast?

cheers, and thanks for any info you wish to share,
Audrey


#13
If you are going to use a disc cutter frequently, then the
Swanstrom cutters are the way to go. 

At this point I want to ask “used for what?”. Not to pick on
Swanstrom, but most disk cutters available nowadays are useless. Good
ones are made by Swiss, but it is going to set one back about $1400
for complete set. So before spending that much, it a good idea to
understand why do we need them and how to use them.

Disk cutters are used in conjunction with round bezel block and
screw press. Screw press can be imitated by two hammers for
infrequent use. These tools were used extensively during Edwardian
period. Goldsmiths were called to produce jewellery comprised of many
individual settings and tools were needed to make them efficiently.
That brings forward the main requirement of disk cutters to be
graduated in 0.5mm. That also applies to bezel block. The idea is to
cut a disk and use it in bezel block to form complete setting. The
scrap from such processes was clean and easily remelted.

Dick cutters graduated in 1/8 of an inch (most of them are) are
useless. To form complete setting requires a lot of filling and
adjustments. Scrap includes fillings and not as easily remelted. If
they are not used for settings, than what are they for? If one needs
disk from time to time, what is wrong with simply piercing it. As far
as use for students, I am against it 100%. Students need practice in
piercing, so there should not be any disk cutters in a classroom.

In conclusion, there are disk cutters made by Ikohe, which are
nicely graduated. They are not as good as Swiss, but quite useable.
cutters once in a while than to have well made, but functionally
useless, which last forever.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#14

As for disc cutters, I have an old set from Gesswein that I bought in
the mid to late 90’s, and it’s still the best one I’ve had. No longer
available, and it costed $100 but it’s held up very well over the
years, better than any I’ve seen. Even cuts 16g without an issue. I
have bought the cheaper Pepe cutters for colleges I’ve taught at, but
they required so much maintainence to keep sharp. Also the larger
head ( that darnridge on the top part of cutter) does not go through,
so I was always flipping the disc cutter upside down, and pushing out
the cutter with a wo oden rod. I personally have to keep regrinding
the cutters every time I teach at a particular craft program in New
England, for the students a re so gung-ho with it, and I keep yelling
at them to be careful. I have tried the little steel round Harbor
Freight cutter which I have, and it works fine as long as you are
considerate of it. The plexiglas/steel version that Harbor Freight
had works fine if you were careful and stuck to thin gauges.

Let loose an entire class of Jewelry 101 students, and the poor
cutter will soon fall apart. 10/16 Thank you for more info. How do
you regrind the cutters? I’m thinking, what I have is 3M gray
deburing wheels I wrote about earlier.

Sharon Perdasofpy


#15

Monsterslayer has sterling discs - also ovals and teardrops. Can’t
help you in the Canadian market, although that is where I live too.


#16

I have Pepe cutters and they seem excellent to me. I did get them a
very long time ago, so maybe quality has changed–many items in the
world have different manufacturers than they used to. Mine work very
well, are very well crafted, and look like new. I have to admit, I
do tend to take very good care of my tools… :-)…

Janet in Jerusalem


#17

Audrey - I know RIO shipping costs seem prohibitive (or, more so,
the way CBSA seems to incorrectly charge duty on things) - Have you
considered shipping to Buffalo, and picking up your order? (I live in
Ottawa and ship to a UPS store in ogdensburg - I get to pay American
shipping costs, which are low, and then self-declare when I come back
in - which allows me to ensure the duty is charged correctly on
items. It takes me 2 hours (round trip) to pick up an order, so I do
try to plan them out in advance and go once in a while (and usually
pick up a number of packages that make more sense to ship to the US)

I have the Pepe disks cutter and have found it sufficient for my
needs - though I don’t use it often (I live in an apartment - in
addition to cutting disks cleanly, it works really well to advise
my downstairs neighbour that his music is too high)


#18

Hoover & Strong in Richmond VA has any size disc you cox ever need.


#19

Sharon

Let loose an entire class of Jewelry 101 students, and the poor
cutter will soon fall apart. 10/16 Thank you for more info. How do
you regrind the cutters? I'm thinking, what I have is 3M gray
deburing wheels I wrote about earlier. 

Most of the time, all I have is a 1" x 30" small belt sander, in
most jewelry studios, so tha is what I use to regrind the disc
cutter punches.

I don’t have access to the big rough grinding wheels found in
machine shops, so I improvise as much as possible ( those non-profit
schools have no money!), so the belt sander is sufficient. I just
have to be careful and grind as flat as possible. The 3M deburring
wheels are not aggressive enough to remove steel if you are
regrinding. However, they can do an efficient job of refinishing your
steel tools.

Leonid - As for Swanstrom disk cutters, if you got the money, get
it. Otherwire, go what your budget lets you. As long as tools are
properly maintained, even cheap tools will work very well. I have
both the best and the cheap, and the cheap tools have held well, for
I know not to push it. It’s the students, that I have to watch for.
No matter how many times I explain, yell, or grab tools out of their
hands, they will always overdo things.

Joy ( who is forever improvising to make jewelry labs/studios work
for classes)


#20

I’ve drooled over the Swanstrom disc cutter for over a yr, maybe two;
however, due to the price I put off buying it. Anyway I ordered it,
just got it in last night & am using it. Also made some washers to
see how that worked. Harbor Freight may have some that are good, but
what I bought was a real lemon. I don’t remember what I paid for it,
but I really didn’t want to take a chance & waste more money on
another inferior cutter. It was well worth the money & will save me a
lot of time. I knew Rio would stand behind it.

Thank everyone for all of your input. I do appreciate it.

Sharon Perdasofpy