Are there any alternatives to sprue cutters?

     
     
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 Some of the alternative tools that could be used instead of a sprue cutter include; craft knives, nail clippers, side cutters and bolt cutters 

There are many other tools that could be used to perform the role of a sprue cutter. While some of these may be suitable for use in some circumstances they may not be usable in others and may not be as suitable as a sprue cutter which was specifically designed for the job.

 
     
   Wonkee Donkee says: "Some of the possible alternatives to sprue cutters are listed below." 
     
   

Craft knife

 
 A craft knife can sometimes be used instead of a sprue cutter for removing small parts such as those on photo etching 

Craft knives have thin and brittle blades in comparison to sprue cutters, so are only suitable for removing the very smallest of parts from a sprue made of soft material, such as the photo etched parts used for model making.

 
     
 Removing small delicate photo etched parts from a sprue with a craft knife. 

If you do not have a sprue cutter with a tapered tip and thin jaw thickness, then using a craft knife may be a better solution for removing small delicate parts made of soft material than trying to use a larger sprue cutter with thicker jaws.

 
     
   

Nail clippers

 
 Some model makes like to use nail clippers instead of sprue cutters for removing plastic parts from a sprue. 

Some model makers like to use nail clippers for removing small plastic parts from sprues. 

 
     
 Using nail clippers instead of a sprue cutter to trim down parts removed from a sprue. 

However, like the craft knife, they are only suitable for removing small parts made of soft material such as plastic, as they do not have the strength to cut hard materials or sufficient jaw opening to cut large pieces. Also, the shape of the nail clippers can mean that getting access to some parts which are tightly packed is difficult. 

 
     
   

Side cutters

 
 Side cutters look very similar to sprue cutters and can be used as an alternative in many cases. 

Side cutters look very similar to sprue cutters and may be a suitable alternative if you don't have a sprue cutter. Like sprue cutters, side cutters come in a range of sizes, so some may be better suited to removing small parts, while others may have longer handles and thicker jaws, making them more suited to removing larger or harder parts from a sprue.

 
     
 Side cutters being used to remove parts from a sprue. 

However, side cutters usually have a brushed steel finish that not only offers less corrosion protection than the black oxide finish found on many sprue cutters but can also reflect glare, resulting in eye strain if used for long periods of time.

 
     
   

Bolt cutters

 
 Bolt cutters can look similar to large compound lever action sprue cutters and can be used as an alternative in some cases 

Bolt cutters can be purchased in a variety of sizes. The smallest are similar in size to some larger compound lever action sprue cutters. This means bolt cutters can be an alternative to sprue cutters for removing larger parts from a sprue that is made of hard material such as steel. 

 
     
 Large bolt cutters are much bigger than sprue cutters and so can be unwieldy to use at times. 

Larger bolt cutters can provide a greater cutting force than even the largest manual sprue cutters. However, their larger size may make them too awkward and unwieldy for use on most sprues. Even the smallest bolt cutters would not be suitable for removing small parts from a sprue as their jaws would be too thick to gain access between the sprues.

 
     
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