Swanstrom Disc Cutter
Manufactured using hardened, tempered, shock resistant tool steel in the U.S.A.
Maximum recommended metal thickness 1.3mm
10 punches descending from 1 -1/4" to 1/8", in 1/8" increments.
Rubber storage base ( which can also be used as a support as you cut.)
The Swanstrom disc cutter is, unfortunately, only available to purchase in the United States and at $250 is quite an investment, but after several recommendations I decided to bite the bullet and get out the trusty credit card.
After many years of using the economy version disc cutters the Swanstrom is indeed a revelation, the design has been well thought out to provide maximum ease in utilising the tool, whilst ensuring quality results.
Economy punches tend to get stuck in the die plate and the poorer quality steel generally means the blades on the punch become blunt quite quickly therefore substantially reducing the quality of the cut.
The Swanstrom secures the sheet between the two die plates preventing movement between blows, the punches glide through the die without getting wedged in the die hole and it efficiently cuts clean crisp discs with minimum finishing requirements time after time.
Swanstrom have also now developed a set of centre-positioning die plugs, which ensure perfectly symmetrical washers every time!
The upper and lower die plates are springloaded, the sheet metal is placed between the two plates and the lever wrench handle in the centre is easily wound down to ensure that the metal is held securely in place. A piece of sheet of identical thickness should be placed on the opposite side of the die plate from the disc you are cutting to ensure that the plates remain parallel and provide optimum die alignment.
Each punch is precision ground to ensure the punches slide easily through the die plates, they are manufactured with a slightly angled sloping base which provides sharp force to one side resulting in a cleaner cut and reduces the likelihood of distortion. Using a lubricant such as Burr - Life assists a smooth cut and helps to keep the punches sharper for longer.
Ensure that the disc cutter is placed on a solid surface. Using a 1 or 2 lb brass hammer strike the punch firmly, on thin sheet a single strike will produce clean crisp discs, thicker sheet will require a couple of blows.
To make perfect washers using the plugs, simply punch out the inner circle with the desired diameter, remove the sheet and reposition at the hole in the die plate which you wish to use for the external diameter, before tightening the plates, place the correctly sized plug into the hole and this will align the centre hole to ensure that you have a a perfectly symmetrical washer. Tighten the plates, remove the plug and punch out the metal in the usual way.