Saturday, December 15, 2007

Olfa Plastic Cutter

olfa cutter
Originally uploaded by Phil_Parker.
Having mentioned this tool a couple of times, I’ve been asked what it actually is.

That’s it in the photograph. Tools like this used to be known as “scrawkers” for some reason. They also used to be hand made by people using left over hacksaw blades and bench grinders. I only have junior hacksaw blades, which are too small, and an angle grinder, which would do the job but I’d probably lose a limb in the process.

My tool came from Squires. Part number CKP450. Current cost £5.99. Spare blades available for £2.99 for five – I’m still on my first one though.

In use the tool is held parallel to the material being attacked. You drag the blade backwards along the sheet and a sliver is removed. The effect is different from a knife cut because the later doesn’t remove material. On plastic you get quite a nice styrene spring shape of waste which I’m sure must be useful for something…

To cut plasticard, make the groove with a couple of passes and then snap the sheet. You can do this with a knife as well if you prefer. I reserve the cutter for scribing plastic which it’s much better at than any other tool.

It also helps with metal. Here I do use it to scribe a line and then snap the sheet. I’ve never found a better way of cutting straight lines in sheet nickel silver or brass. For the kitbuilder it’s a good way of improving relieving lines on the back of bends if they aren’t etched deep enough.

All in all, a very useful tool. Until I bought one I didn’t realise just how useful but now I wouldn’t be without it – hence it’s position in a drawer within arms reach of the workbench.

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