Circle Cutter

Is a circle cutter better than a hole saw?

For those of us making wooden toys, finding the right kind of wheel can be a challenge. Many of us make our own wheels for many different reasons, and the question is wether to use a circle cutter or a hole saw.

Use A Drill Press

Reasonable care should be taken when using this tool.

To use a circle cutter, you will need a drill press with a recommended speed below 500RPM. The cutting action is more of a scraping action, and the tool must be fed into the workpiece slowly to allow the waste to be removed. If not, there is a build up of heat and both the tool and the workpiece will be ruined. It is also very important to have the workpiece firmly clamped down.

Beware the spin.

The spinning arms which seem to "disappear" much like the propellor of an aeroplane. This can lead to injury if you are not paying attention. One way to mitigate this is to paint the ends with a bright fluorescent paint.

Remove the beveled edge.

The cutter is designed to cut holes, and the beveled angle leaves some waste material on the plug (if that's what we can call it) which we want to use as a wheel. It can be a pain in the you-know-where to have to remove this on every wheel, so what I did was to grind the bevel in such a way that the waste bit is left in the hole, so to speak.

There are a few brands with reversible cutters.

Advantage of Hole Saw

Hole saws have also been used to make wooden toy wheels, and they can be used with a hand held power drill if you have a steady hand. Normally used for cutting holes in doors for locks, they come in sets, and the size shown is for the holes they make. Therefore, if you want a wheel of approximately 2 inches in diameter, use the next size up which is 2.25 inches in diameter, which make a wheel ever so slightly larger than 2 inches. Of course, this is fine if the finished size of the wheel is not all that important.

A variety of materials.

In my experience, a hole saw does not leave as good a finish as the circle cutter, but that may be because I was not using it correctly. Most hole saws have the advantage of being able to be used on a variety of materials, including wood (of course,) plastic, aluminum, brass, cast iron, and stainless steel.

High Speed Steel.

According to Wikipedia, high-speed steel (HSS or HS) is a subset of tool steels, commonly used in tool bits and cutting tools.

Also known as M2 steel, it is often used in power-saw blades and drill bits. It is superior to the older high-carbon steel tools used extensively through the 1940s in that it can withstand higher temperatures without losing its temper (hardness). This property allows HSS to cut faster than high carbon steel, hence the name high-speed steel. At room temperature, in their generally recommended heat treatment, HSS grades generally display high hardness (above HRC60) and abrasion resistance (generally linked to tungsten and vanadium content often used in HSS) compared with common carbon and tool steels.

Is it just me, or is it getting hot in here.

Applying too much pressure and trying to cut too much too fast can clog up the tool and lead to a build up of heat and smoke.So, be patient and ease up on the pressure, and you will feel so much better for it.