G’day; Several folk have written about the cutting of thin sheet
metal. Only one has suggested a paper shear/guillotine for thin metals
and card. One can cut up to 0.3mm thick sheet sterling silver,
giving a dead straight line - so long as the strip is to be fairly
short - say, about 12 cms if you only have an A4 guillotine. I use
mine for just about everything from labels to bezels to computer
printed documents and photos. I even put a strip of masking tape
down one edge of a sheet of wet/dry abrasive paper of various grits
and cut strips down to 2mm wide to use as part of the jewellery
finishing process. Just the job for saw pierced work.
Such a device is easy to make, not needing a great machine shop.
You don’t even need to grind nice bevelled knife edges on the blades -
yes; believe it!
I use two pieces of steel strip one about 45 cm long, 2 cms wide,
and 6 cm thick and the other only about 32 cm long. Clamp them
tightly together and drill a 6 mm hole about 2cm from one end of both.
This is going to be the pivot. Take the shorter strip of steel and
drill at least 4 holes along the length. Deeply countersink all the
holes and use them to screw the stationary blade to one long edge of a
piece of stable wood (fibre board is excellent) around 2.5 cm thick
and a bit bigger than an A4 sheet, so that one edge of the blade is
exactly at the same level as the board. Pre-drill the wood screw holes
and a wipe of epoxy will help keep them in place over long usage.
Fasten the pivot end to the second moving blade with a heavy, fairly
long wood screw into the wood. Either make wooden facing pieces to
fasten to the other end as part of a handle, or if you can’t be
bothered, wrap insulating tape to protect your hands. I’m sure handy
people will fit a bit of thin wood or plastic to be exactly at 90� to
the fixed blade to act as a guide to cutting, and a strip of 3mm clear
plastic almost touching the fixed blade to help hold down the material
to be cut. HOWEVER!! the top edge of the stationary strip and the
bottom edge of the moving strip must be filed dead square (90�) to the
sides of the blades. What is needed is 2 sharp edges at right angles
to each blade - which believe it - will cut cleanly, if you pull down
the blade sharply whilst pulling it over against the stationary
Ever heard of draw filing? No? Well, fasten one blade securely
in the bench vice (but don’t let the vice faces bruise the strips) Get
a fairly new flat file with fine teeth. DON’T use this to file across
the strip, but stand at one end, place the file flat on the strip
edge, and with a hand at each end of the file draw it towards you
along the whole length of the strip, keeping it at right angles to the
strip edge and pressed down hard. Repeat this a few times and you
will find the edges of the 6mm thick strip are sharp enough to cut
your finger if you are silly enough to draw it along hard enough!
OK, all this sounds confusing at first sight. So next time you pass
a good stationery/office shop, go in and see how the guillotines work.
Don’t worry that they have a lovely bevelled knife edge; I assure you
my device will work well. Or if you really want, I’ll take a picture
of mine (which I have used nearly every day for 16 years) and put it
the orchid ftp site so you can see what I’m on about. Now I’ll sit back
and await cutting remarks. –
John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ