Scissors Make Great Automatic Cable Cutters

The team at [2PrintBeta] required a bunch of cables, heat shrink, and braid to be cut for their customers. They looked into an industrial cable cutter, but decided the price was a little too high, so they decided to make their own. They had a bunch of ideas for cutting: Using a razor blade?  Or a Dremel with a cutting wheel? What they came up with was a DIY cable cutter that uses a pair of scissors, a pair of stepper motors, a pair of 3D printed wheels and an Arduino.

The first thing the team had to do was to mount the scissors so they would cut reliably. One of the stepper motors was attached to a drive wheel that had a bolt mounted on it. This went through one of the scissors’ handles, the other handle was held in place on the machine using screws. The second stepper motor was used to rotate the wheels that drives the cable through to the correct length. [2PrintBeta] used a BAM&DICE shield and two DICE-STK stepper motor drivers on an Arduino Mega to control the cutter.

The [2PrintBeta] team are pretty good at doing things themselves, as we’ve seen previously with their DIY plastic bender. And again, with this automatic cable cutter, they’ve seen a need and resolved it using the things at their disposal and some DIY ingenuity.

23 thoughts on “Scissors Make Great Automatic Cable Cutters

    1. as wire cutters age, they tend to get worn in such a way that they don’t completely cut the cable – they leave a bit of stranded wire, insulation, or thread connecting the two cables. this is inherent to their design. to get around this, shears are necessary. household scissors are by far the cheapest shears, and experience tells you if they’re sufficient for your task.

      1. My experience of whatever scissors i can find lying around is that they are loose and blunt enough for the blades to separate and mash the wire up when they hit copper instead of cutting through it.
        I was imagining a pair of scissor like cutters when i made the comment because they are just like a specialized pair of scissors. I can’t imagine doing it with one of the cutters where the blades meet instead of pass each other. no i don’t know the technical term! i’m sure gardening shears use shear vs anvil but that doesn’t exactly translate does it.

          1. Well the ones that cut sharp edge against a blunt edge are called anvil cutters, but sharp against sharp, I don’t know, they all seemed to be named individually, like diagonal cutters, nippers, pincers, clippers etc.

  1. Been using scissors as manual stripping tools for like 50 years, excellent tool for everything from solid core high voltage to coax, given experience. My mom also loved that use case whenever she needed to cut fabric afterwards.

  2. Pat on the head for getting it working, but not the way I would have gone. Don’t like how much the wire can move up the scissors, even if it can’t move that far, means you might be getting quite a bit of variance.

    I would put into consideration 3 devices for modification or replication of their working parts. First parrot-beak pruning shears, bi-concave shears so the thing cut can’t get far up them. Guillotine type pet nail cutters, the wire would be completely contained in the main outer ring, and a concave or vee shear blade would center it up on the cut. Or a third possible for higher volume is the shearing mechanism in a mincing machine, you have a multibladed blade sweeping around a die with sharp holes. Possible then to feed 4, maybe even 8 at once to be cut in 1/4 rotation.

      1. Hmmm I wonder how easy that would be to make filament with, replace chopping blade with spacer nut, make die with one hole, or maybe two… steal heater from appliance that has insulated heating element, like maybe a crockpot or iron?? and wrap that around it…. thinking that stuff in like a fibreglass sock… anyhoo, I digress.

  3. It happens the bottom of my 2 front teeth have a gap just right for most electronics-type wire. Dunno their actual AWG number.

    I must have stripped miles of wire like that. Important tip – if you’re stripping wire for a phone extension with your teeth, make sure the plug at the other end is NOT plugged in to a live phone line.

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