I have purchased a disc cutter- it has been a long time since using
one and I thought I knew had to use it but - I don’t get any metal
cut no matter which way I put the cutter into the hole and hit with a
hammer - I thought you could use 20g. silver and down - I have tried
thinner metals but no luck- I’ve looked it up i all the how to books
by Tim McCreight but can’t find that subject. Would appreciate a how
to from someone out there before I throw the cutter through the
I don't get any metal cut no matter which way I put the cutter into
the hole and hit with a hammer
I use a 3# short handle sledge hammer on a solid wood stump. On
thicker metal use the side of the sledgehammer where the handle goes
thru, better to aim it, I use both hands to hold the handle and give
it a good whack. So metimes I am using 16 gauge sheet. Really gotta
whack it with force and commitment. One end of the cutter should
feel sharper on the edge.
Would appreciate a how to from someone out there before I throw the
cutter through the window.
There are 2 things to keep in mind.
- The hammer must strike the punch at 90 degrees or close to it, to
insure efficient force transfer. The more of vertical, the less force
In practice we use intermediate hammer. I use a hammer with bronze
head for intermediate and 5 pound sledge to strike. Since I can
position intermediate hammer precisely, mistakes in striking are
minimized below practical significance.
- “Spring-back” should be neutralized. Even If you deliver a
powerful strike, if the surface on which disk cutter stands can flex,
the force will be wasted on flexing the surface instead of cutting
metal. In another words: The force required to cut the metal must be
much smaller then force required to flex the surface on which disk
In practice it means that disk cutter should be placed on a stump or
similar solid surface.
I use disc cutters all the time.
I don’t know exactly what you are using. I have three sets, which I
got through Contenti: a “small” set that has seven punches from 1/8
to 1/2 inches in diameter, a “larger” set with five punches from 1/2
to 1 inch in diameter, and a set of “large diameter” with two
punches - 1 and 1/2 and 1 and 5/8. The first two sets are good to 18
gauge and the large diameter set is good to 12 gauge, but they say
needs to be used with a press. I use it successfully with a vise on
thinner metals, 22 gauge and thinner. Might work in a vise with
somewhat thicker sheet, but have not tried that yet.
Here’s my experience with what I am using (and if it is not what you
are using may not be relevant): Work on a sturdy surface. Put the
metal between the two halves (upper and lower) of the thingy (some
high tech jargon there) with the holes. Close upper half down
firmly. Place punch widest end (cutting end) down into desired hole.
Use a big enough hammer to give your strike some weight (of course
take into consideration the size of the punch). Strike top of punch
firmly several times, or until the punch drops down through the hole
with the disc beneath it. Sometimes I get it on the first strike,
especially with small punches and thinner sheet, but thicker/bigger
and it takes me two or three, being a relative weakling.
It’s hard to envision what you are doing incorrectly from your post.
Perhaps you could explain more fully. It should be easy. I love
mine. They save me a lot of sawing and with my physical limitations
I am always looking for ways to save myself from unnecessary
repetitive movements. Or rather, save myself for those I really need
You did a much better job at describing what I do than I did!
Except for the hammer part, I confess I will pick up and use any of
the “hardware store” type hammers lying around, as long as it is the
right weight… I never thought to use two hammers, one that can be
positioned precisely and one to strike. Probably save on wear on my
punch heads! Thank you for posting that.
Yes, 90 degree strike, so important.
And though I mention using a sturdy surface, you really emphasize
it, and rightly so. It is absolutely key that the surface not flex
One can use a hydraulic press for disk cutters…or an arbor press
for that matter if the material isnt too thick…
Probably save on wear on my punch heads! Thank you for posting
That is correct. That is why I am using brass head hammer as an
Many Thanks to all of you for taking the time to help me with my
cutter problem. I am a new member and completely blown away that you
I don't get any metal cut no matter which way I put the cutter
into the hole and hit with a hammer I found cutting discs very easy
since investing approx. $45.00 in a Harbor Freights 1-Ton Arbor
press, I believe the 1/2 ton will be too light and there is only a
$10 or so price differential.
I set the punch squarely under the press mandrel (if that is the name
for it?) and put full force on the handle. Looking at the Press it
will be obvious what I mean. I then whack the top of the press
mandrel with a 1 lbs. hard rubber mallet, repeat if necessary. I have
not needed or used a brass mallet but I am sure it would be
effective. Do not use a steel hammer as you might damage the mandrel
as it is hardened steel and could crack. I have found this press a
very good investment, including stamping jewelry items, punching
leather accurately, bending metal, etc. The stamp is always at 90
degrees, even if the hammer blow is slightly off.
I hope this helps,
Rachel, some years ago, there was a longer discussion on using the
disc cutter – maybe you can find it in the Orchid Archives.