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Cutting stainless steel

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#1 TheMuffinmaster



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Posted 24 January 2010 - 02:45 AM

So in my order I included a $6 roll of 200 feet of 19GA stainless steel. It appears to be about 1mm. So I managed to coil it (1/8") a few times with the help of a metal drill press, but now I need to cut the coils into rings, and I ended up using up an entire dremel blade without cutting even 20 rings, so that's out of the question, and my dad says that they'd damage my aviator shears' blades. Other things I have make pinch cuts and are too big anyway. Can anyone help me out here?

#2 mandaloril


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Posted 24 January 2010 - 09:56 AM

If what the cutters do to the ends of the rings isn't an issue I recommend mini-bolt cutters. They are relatively cheap, 9.99 at Sears, cut stainless well, and don't deform the end of the rings too badly(this is a relative position). If you are using this for jewelry saw cut is your only option. In which case be prepared to invest some time and money into a dedicated system. You already have a drill press so you need a mandrel for a blade and something to secure the coil while cutting. Just to inquire, were you cutting with the dremel freehand? i.e. was it strapped down so it couldn't move as was the coil or were you holding both the coil and dremel. Once you remove any chance of lateral movement of the coil with respect to the blade the dremel tends to cut rather nicely.

Edited by mandaloril, 24 January 2010 - 09:57 AM.

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#3 besserai



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Posted 25 January 2010 - 11:45 AM

You can get jewelry grade cuts using a score and break technique with bolt cutters. They might require a bit of deburring though.

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#4 Movak


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Posted 25 January 2010 - 12:13 PM

Has anyone tried using a dremel to score the coil and then breaking the rings off? I do not have the materials to try this but it should cut down on the blade wear.


#5 Narrina



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Posted 25 January 2010 - 12:32 PM

I use a jeweler's saw to cut my stainless. I use 2/0 saw blades that have close to 64 teeth per inch (this seems to vary though depending on the company). Saw blades of this are supposed to work the best for 20ga-16ga wire. When saw cutting stainless, keep your blade well lubricated, I've found that the best blade lubricant, as disgusting as it may sound, is actually the skin oils from the bridge of the nose, forehead, back of the neck, and behind the ears. Keeping the blade lubricated will help reduce friction. Also, don't try and cut too fast, the faster you try and cut the harder you tend to press down on the blade and this will cause them to shatter. Cutting stainless is very difficult and time/blade consuming, if you find yourself getting really frustrated take a break. The more frustrated you get the harder you press, and again you will be more likely to shatter the blade. Sometimes, you may have to use a combination of saw-cutting ans score-and-break. When doing this, cut as far as you can with the saw and then twist the ring the rest of the way off, this will help make your blades last longer and you should still get decent cuts. Sometimes you have to resort to this combination because of poor blades. When selecting your blade, carefully examine the teeth to make certain they are not already semi-dull. I've had brand new blades that, while they weren't too bad on other metals, would dull in seconds on stainless and sometimes not even be able to cut a single ring. Some blades will have no problem cutting stainless, while others from the same batch will be terrible. While cutting stainless, be patient, it will take longer to cut rings than any other metal and you won't get as many rings per blade as with other metals. Where as with most metals you should get a few hundred rings cut before the blade goes, with stainless if you cut around 20 or so rings you're doing well. The most I've gotten from one blade was about 60 rings. However, if you get a good blade taking the extra time to completely saw cut the rings is worth it, and if you have a bad blade, then you can always use the saw-cut/score-and-break combination mentioned earlier.

Hope that helps.

#6 Scruffy



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Posted 27 January 2010 - 04:37 AM

I tend to work a lot in 1.6mm thick stainless (16awg?) and I use a Bahco Mini Bolt Cutter (used to hand coil, but have since made a manual coiling jig using a drill chuck). I've found that the pinch cuts made by this are quite good, and neither I or my better half have noticed any sharp bits. I've some examples posted in the Gallery Discussions on the Maille Artisans forums, under this online nick.

Pinch cuts are obviously not as clean as saw cuts, but I've found that if I grind the ends together when closing, I can get pretty good closures with a pinch cut.

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