On occasion, I have a need to cut off a nail, bolt, or other metallic excess. As a former machinist, I have had experience with Radiac cut off wheels. These cutting wheels are very similar, if not the same. I've purchased these at Home Depot, and have also seen them at Sears, and on line.
About the product
I've purchased these separately, and several are included with the Dremel Tool kit. They are almost 1" in diameter, and are used with a Mandrel (special shaft and screw assembly). They are .025" thick, so they are fairly thin and somewhat flexible. About the most you want to cut with one of these is about 1/4", otherwise, they start binding, and are prone to breaking. And because of that: CAUTION, YOU MUST ALWAYS USE EYE PROTECTION WHEN USING THIS OR ANY CUTTING TOOLS.
The cutting wheel has abrasive material throughout the disk. And in use it will break down and get smaller. This helps to both keep fresh abrasive on the surface, as well as carry heat away.
How well does it work?
In my experience, these cutting wheels work best with hard ferrous materials such as steel. Plus there, is something satisfying about seeing the sparks flying around during use. I would not recommend these for use with soft materials such as aluminum. Just as with grinding wheels, these will load up if pushed too hard. If you take your time and dress them by cutting into a hard material, you can keep a fresh cutting surface available.
I had to remove a rusted bolt on the Mid Life Crisis Car. I installed the cutting wheel on the Mandrel and tightened the screw. And carefully cut through the side of the nut in question. Because of the depth of the cut, and a little twitch of the tool, I did manage to break/shatter one, but because the wheel is so thin, it breaks into small pieces that result in not much more than sting on the skin. However, if someone were to get hit in the eye with a piece of broken flying cutting wheel, it could cause serious injury.
As mentioned, as they cut, they erode away, which keeps fresh, sharp abrasive material at the surface. But this also means that you may need to change to a fresh wheel to make a full cut. Using these takes some experience to develop the proper balance of pressure. Not enough, and you don't make much progress, and just develop heat. Too much, and you cause the cutting wheel to wear down much to quickly. Once you get the feel for the right pressure, and a steady hand, you can cut through fairly hard material just like it was butter. Fortunately, these are not very expensive, and you can afford to use a few getting the technique down.
I like these wheels. I still resort to a hacksaw when possible, since these blow the dust and debris around. But they work well, and I would be happy to recommend them to my friends and Epinons readers.
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