Wire cutters are an essential part of any electronics tool kit or workstation, but you may not know the benefits of different types of cutting edges. Three of the most common cutters are bevel, flush, and shear. Below we have an explanation of each of the cutters and what to consider when purchasing a wire cutter. By using the proper tool for your job you can ensure the best cut every time, reduce worker fatigue, and minimize the cost of replacing worn out cutters.
If you have a cutting application that is non-critical, then bevel cutters are your best bet. Bevel cutting edges tend to last the longest, but they leave a pinch/spike behind on the wire which can be damaging to very sensitive parts. It is best to use bevel cutters if it is ok for your wires to have a pinch or spike at the site of the cut, as you do not have to replace these cutters as often as more precise ones.
If you need to reduce the spike left from cutting then flush cutters work well. Not only do they reduce the shock of cutting the wire, but they also require less pressure from the operator to cut. This can be a big deal if your job requires you to cut hundreds of wires a day, as worker fatigue can cause serious problems with accuracy as well as lead to carpal tunnel and other medical problems.
There are different classes of flush cutters, but they are typically divided into flush and super/ultra flush. The super/ultra flush cutters require less pressure and reduce shock on the wire more than normal flush, but you must be careful when using them. Super/ultra flush edges can break or wear out easily, so they have to be used properly and only on materials that the cutter material can handle.
Near shear cutters require less force than flush cutters, and only leave a slight step in the wire rather than a pinch/spike. Pure shear cutters typically require the lowest amount of pressure of all of the cutters and leave no pinch or spike in the wire. There is still a small side deformation with pure shear, but you can get one of the cleanest cuts possible with them.
Just like with flush cutters there is a trade off for reducing the amount of pressure it takes to cut as well as lessening shock on the cut wires. Shear cutters require the operator to make each cut with precision, as pressing too hard, cutting at a wrong angle, or cutting the wrong material can lead to the cutter wearing out faster than normal. Always consult with the manufacturer of your cutter to ensure you are using it properly so you can avoid having to replace cutters more often than necessary.
For more information and illustrations you can find a great article by Swanstrom Tools about how to choose a cutter head. Also make sure to check out the wide selection of cutters that All-Spec Industries offers on our website!