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Which kind is best pneumatic sprue cutters


#1

The pain in my hands after cutting the sprues off of the last batch
of bronze castings is telling me it’s time to buy a mechanized sprue
cutter. After shopping around the internet, I see a few different
brands of pneumatic sprue cutters out there (Giles, Niles, Rio), as
well as one that would use my sprue cutting pliers instead of
dedicated cutter heads. (I can’t afford the really cool
guillotine-style ones, so those are out of the question.)

Which kind is best–dedicated cutter head or pliers insert, and
which brand is the most reliable and the safest?

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry
www.fgemz.com


#2
The pain in my hands after cutting the sprues off of the last
batch of bronze castings is telling me it's time to buy a
mechanized sprue cutter. 

I have a Nile Air Nipper that cuts effortlessly, but the bite is
rather small. I use a giant bolt cutter I picked up at Harbor Fright
for cheap to cut think metal things. I rest one side of the cutter
on my stump, put the metal between the jaws, and push down on the
other.


#3
I have a Nile Air Nipper that cuts effortlessly, but the bite is
rather small. I use a giant bolt cutter I picked up at Harbor
Fright for cheap to cut think metal things. I rest one side of the
cutter on my stump, put the metal between the jaws, and push down
on the other. 

That’s exactly how I hurt my hands, pushing down on my big sprue
cutter against my workbench. Bronze sprues are way too hard to cut by
hand, at least with my hands…

I found the Nile nippers online–they seem to be the most widely
available brand that can be found outside of the jewelry industry
(for a fraction of the jewelry industry’s pneumatic sprue cutter
prices), and they have a number of different sized heads. I plan to
call the distributor on Monday to find out which head they recommend
for my purposes.

Kathy


#4
That's exactly how I hurt my hands, pushing down on my big sprue
cutter against my workbench. Bronze sprues are way too hard to cut
by hand, at least with my hands... 

Kathy, while the cutters sold to jewelers as sprue cutters are
indeed nice tools, they don’t compare to an actual bolt cutter.
Industrial bolt cutters are (or can be, since they’re made in
different sizes) substantially larger, and are always a compound
action, so that a large movement of the handles translates to a
small movement of the jaws. That results in enormous mechanical
advantage, meaning that unlike the commercially sold jewelers sprue
cutters, a properly sized bolt cutter does not need much effort to
cut. Keep in mind that they’re intended to cut steel bolts, so a
cutter that can slice through a 1/4 inch or larger steel bolt will
handle a bronze sprue like childs play. Beyond the already mentioned
advice to just rest one handle on your stump or bench, you can mount
it permenantly, strapped to a sturdy bench. That makes it truely a
one hand tool.

The main downside to bolt cutters as opposed to specialized sprue
cutters is that bolt cutters are designed with jaws sturdy enough do
to their job, which means kind of thick and blunt. So you cannot cut
quite as close to your casting as you might with an actual sprue
cutter. But you’re casting bronze, not gold, so the slight extra
waste shouldn’t be an issue.

Also, I’d suggest that rather than Harbor Freight, you get a
Craftsman brand from Sears. Unlike their power tools, many of their
hand tools still carry the traditional Craftsman’s lifetime warranty,
so if that applies as well to their bolt cutters (I don’t know for
sure, but believe it would) If you ever break the jaws, they’d simply
replace them. And, the quality of their tools, even the ones made
these days in China, are better than what you’re likely to find at
Harbor Freight.

If you’re unsure, take one of your bronze sprues and go into Sears
and try them out, perhaps with a sales person’s assistance, and
you’ll see what I mean about how little force these things require
for even heavy duty cutting, if you get one sized correctly for your
sprues. The potential cost savings makes that little shopping trip
worthwhile over buying a powered cutter. Note too, that power cutters
are also not immune to chipping and breaking cutter jaws, and some
of them get pricey to replace. If you do large volumes of such
casting, then perhaps the faster power cutters would justify that
cost, but at least check out the bolt cutters first. With the right
one, you will not be hurting your hand at all.

Peter Rowe


#5

I am a studio goldsmith and new to the forum. I would like to add my
2 cents ( cheap perhaps ) in that we have been using the Matix plug
in for Rhino for several years and we are quite happy with it. It
seems to be the most popular program of this type in our specialty of
fine jewelry design. I think it is not only cost effective, but
easily supported by sub-contractors who can do the CAM growing or
milling. This is in fact a critical advantage in that an easily
communicated dialog is essential for the inevitable mistake or glitch
that will turn a project into a problem.

Christopher Duquet Fine Jewelry Design


#6
substantially larger, and are always a compound action, so that a
large movement of the handles translates to a small movement of the
jaws. 

True. I failed to mention mine are 24" long, and they come even
bigger.