Is a normal cutter is good enough to cut parts of card model?

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by PModel Rookie, May 10, 2009.

  1. PModel Rookie

    PModel Rookie Member

    I normally use a scissor and a cutter to cut parts of models.The problem is,is a normal cutter is good enough to cut parts of card models?I personally don't have an xacto knife or whatever cutting tools you guys have,as I don't see them in shops near my place.


    NULLMOON Member

    invest in a scalpel dont bother with x-acto rubbish scalpels can easlily be found on ebay
  3. PModel Rookie

    PModel Rookie Member

    Okay but what are the differences of them?is it the blade type or the grip comfort or something else?

    NULLMOON Member

    with scalpels its blade type mainly they are fairly confortable to use i put a pice of rubber tube pulled off a pen on mine the blades on a scalpel are very sharp and will cut very clean they wear out faster than other types as they a chemicly sharpened but are cheap there are also several types of handels of varous shapes and sizes and each handel normally has about 5 types of blade to fit it
  5. cdavenport

    cdavenport Member

    I evaluated tools for a modeling magazine quite some time ago...all types of tools.

    As far as hobby knives go, the best available is the Olfa brand hobby knife. You can get one on Ebay.

    It is more expensive than the "X-acto" type, but Nullmoon basically touched on the correct highlights.

    The Olfa handle is weighted at the tip where you need it for cutting. It is miles ahead of any of the X-Acto type handles.

    The average "X-Acto" type blade is made from a low-grade carbon steel which looses its edge quickly. Some guys try to regrind the blades, but I want to build models, not sharpen blades.

    The drawback of surgical steel blades is not so much the rate at which they dull, but rather how fragile they are. Remember, they are designed for slicing through skin, not 1mm thick cardboard! The shank tends to snap under the kind of pressure the X-Acto type blade easily handles.

    Olfa's #11 blades offer the best of both worlds as far as a cutting tool goes. It is made from high carbon tool steel, precision ground and sturdy enough to take even more pressure than its X-Acto counterpart. It will retain its sharpness far longer than either the surgical or X-Acto type blade.

    Of course, you pay a premium for this quality. But, when I use a tool, I use the best I can find.
  6. PModel Rookie

    PModel Rookie Member

    cdavenport,sounds like you really love your Olfa hobby knife.

    And NULLMOON,I think I'll go with a scalpel.It's fairly cheaper than an x-acto and comfortable to use but it wears faster...can you really take off an x-acto blade and use it on a scapel for good gripping and long lasting blade instead?Or it won't fit on a scalpel?
  7. cdavenport

    cdavenport Member

    Not really. In my professional life, I have worked with tools and machinery of all types from aviation to ditch digging. I even enjoy designing and making my own tools.

    My philosophy is very simple: I don't fool around with substandard equipment or try to make something work that isn't designed for the purpose. Similarly, I purchase the best tool I can afford; I'll save if need be.

    For what we do, there is no better cutting tool in its class than the Olfa and the Olfa cutting blades. Unlike the average hobbyist, my 50 years of modeling has given me the opportunity to work with the industry that supports us. So, I have every, not just a few, but every hobbyist cutting tool on the market. I use them all for various cutting chores.

    Of those, Olfa offers more advantages and fewer disadvantages than any of the other cutting tools available to us.
  8. CK Styles

    CK Styles Senior Member

    Hey PModel, PM me, I'll hook you up with an Xacto, Consider it a gift to a fellow modeller! To bad U can't find them there! I find Sclapels way to "floppy" and flexible, although they are not to bad for cutting circles. I work in a hospital, so I have access to all the old, expired scalpels that would normally be thrown out. I can throw in a few of those as well if you want to try them out!
  9. Retired_for_now

    Retired_for_now New Guy

    Experienced carpenter - tyro at card modeling, but my 2-cents anyway. The important thing is to get building.
    The best tools work great - but you can work with what you have (may not be as durable, precise, or quick but should be serviceable).
    Any good hobby knife will work (2cm straight, thin blade with a sharp point). I find utility knives (wide, thick bladed knives) too clumsy for cutting small parts. Scissors are actually very good for cutting circles and curves (just "roll" the part as you cut ... slowly). High quality knives will last longer, but whatever you can find locally with a fresh blade should work fine. A very fine tip blade is good for detail work, though the tip will likely break off before the blade gets dull. Just go slow and don't use any more pressure than necessary (cut the part, not the cutting mat).
    Cutting coarse (gray) or heavy stock is when good equipment will really pay off. Then again, the coarse stuff will dull your blades really quickly.

    Apologies in advance if this is too simple (and correction taken if wrong).

  10. Paragon

    Paragon Active Member

    Just throwing in;

    I'm one of the X-acto users who sharpens my blades. Since I began resharpening them, I've been able to get far more use out of them than before. I use a simple, cheap sharpener with a carbide side and ceramic side. Three or four quick swipes through the sharpener and the blade cuts like new. I've actually been able to make a single blade last about a month of heavy cutting by sharpening, though I personally don't recommend trying that; near the end, it gets harder and harder to sharpen it and you might end up screwing up some cuts before realizing you need a new blade.

    Here's the sharpener I use:

    Its actually the cheapest sharpener I've bought, but by far the best as well, I can't really explain it.
  11. davelant

    davelant Member

    I have seen some very skillful modelers who use mostly scissors, holding the scissors with one hand , and moving the paper held in the other. Use the best scissor or cutter you can find, and use what you like.
  12. SCEtoAux

    SCEtoAux Member

    I use that same sharpener for my pocket knives. Like you said it is inexpensive and works real good. I like the coarse carbide side because my pocket knives are also pry bars, screwdrivers, hole punches, spades, probes, and whatever else seems to be needed at any specific time or situation.:mrgreen:

    I use a Fiskars hobby knife handle with Excel #11 blades. The blades seem to hold an edge longer and the knife handle is comfortable and won't roll away. I also use Fiskars Micro tipped scissors for some cuts.
  13. Deepshark5

    Deepshark5 New Member

    Re Nullmoon's comments -
    Indeed, a Scalpel is a very good idea, I have a No.4 sized handle, as well as a No.5. Blades are very cheap (get them from your chemist/pharmacy/apothecary/witchdoctor ;-) ).
    The blade is excellent for mounting aeroplane wings into fuselages (my flying models need to be single-piece wings for strength and rigidity, especially when they are carrying undercarriages - so through the fuse they go!)

    But -
    Modelling 'X-acto' style blades are equally useful - for small apertures etc, and for some cutting jobs.

    Traditional snap-off blade knives have their place too - when making a 1/48th scale B-52, I always use a long blade for cutting breaks into the fuse for the BIG swept wing. B-52's are huge fun - and huge - and I need all three tools to do a good job, or else the plan won't glide very well. And the slotted flaps won't work either ! But they do, so lets hear it for all three kinds of knife blade.

    Hope this helps

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