Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Measuring for Circle Cutting

Often there is uncertainty about which way the cutting head should be placed on the bar of the circle cutter to get the right diameter.  And the distance markings on the arm often get worn away.

It is for these two reasons that I have given up trying to get the right diameter circle from the measurement markings on the arm of the circle cutter.  Instead I measure and mark out the centre point and the radius of the circle directly onto the glass.  Only a few tools and supplies are needed.

Glass, measuring stick, marker pen, oil and circle cutter are all that are needed to measure the circle

First you need to decide on the centre point, leaving at least 2cm at the edge of the piece the circle is being cut from to allow a clean circle to be broken out.

The four black does are for measuring from the edge to the axis

Once you have done that, mark an axis at right angles at the centre point.

This shows the axis established and the radius marked out on the left.

Measure the radius from centre line , mark that on the line. 

Place suction cup at the centre of the axis. In the case of the cutter I use there are four markings to assist in the centering of cutter.

Move the cutting head along the arm until the wheel sets right on the radius mark.  I find that getting low helps a great deal in seeing the placement of the wheel.

Tighten the locking nut.

I put a drop of cutting oil on the wheel, so that in a preliminary run, I can both see where the scoring line will be and be sure everything is far enough away that the arm does not hit something on the way around.

Score the circle, making sure your fingers are only on the knob. If your fingers slip down, they can loosen the locking nut.  Some people score in an anti-clockwise direction to ensure they do not loosen the locking nut.  An anti-clockwise motion means that if your fingers do touch the nut, it will be tightened rather than loosened.

This photo shows the circle scored and to show the spacing between the edge of the glass and the score line.
Once you have set the cutting head on the arm of the cutter, you can cut as many circles as you wish of the same size without needing to do further measurements.
Further information on breaking out the circle is given in this blog post and a more comprehensive guide to measuring and placing all sorts of sizes is given in  Drilling Glass, guide no. 7.

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