For many, making plastic models and miniatures is a favorite hobby that involves a sprue cutter. Their make and design significantly depend on the finishing level you wish to accomplish for your project. During injection molding, there is always some undesirable buildup in sprue. They are of no use and ruin the looks of the miniature or model.
This is where the best sprue cutter can help in getting rid of these pieces. It uses cutting pliers that are made to do the job without harming the small or intricate portions of the model. As model finishing at the time of removing sprue parts demands precision, it is unwise to use any off-the-shelf or old pliers. This is where you need the best sprue remover that you can buy without shelling beyond your budget.
Overview of Sprue and Sprue Cutters
A sprue refers to the joint piece of metal or plastic, which clamps the finished portions to the runners of casting or molding. Moldings of plastic generally are flat and are likely to have portions of different sizes joined by sprues to the runners.
On the other hand, metal moldings have several portions joined by sprues to a single main runner. The appearance is similar to tree trunks having sprouted branches. This is the reason why they are called sprue trees.
Sprue cutters are used to cut these portions from the sprue or sprue tree. Model builders use them for removing plastic portions from a molding, like the ones in model flight kits. Even jewelers use them for taking off small metal portions from a molded tree and cutting wires.
Types of Sprue Cutters
Different designs of these tools are available, due to which they are better for handling a few materials or tasks. This also has resulted in different sprue cutters, which are as follows:
- Single Lever Action: This is the collection with the highest assortment of designs. A few come with a tapered tip and slim profile with some designs with angled heads for handling delicate work and reaching tight spaces; whereas, the remaining ones come with a thicker profile for cutting harder or thicker surfaces. As each side of jaws and handles is designed as one piece, it is impossible to replace the jaws that are dulled or broken. Nevertheless, you may buy replacement springs if this type of cutter snaps. A variety of cutting edges are there to make flush, ultra-flush, and micro bevel cuts.
- Compound Lever Action: This is admired for the ability to generate a higher cutting force than other sprue cutters at the cutting edge. The credit for this goes to the compound lever action’s mechanical benefit of cutting harder and thicker than other equivalents. The handle is usually longer than those on others, which indicates that its size is bigger than normal. Nevertheless, the control over the cutting force (more or less) reduces the fatigue. You can use this type of cutter for delicate tasks or accessing tight locations.
- Tweezer Action: Appears and functions like a pair of tweezers and have no spring, unlike other sprue removers. It features a bit curved shape that triggers a spring-like action to isolate the jaws once you decrease the applied pressure. The jaws’ cutting edge is finely ground for rendering a sharp edge for an ultra-flush cut. Such a cutter is ideal for getting rid of delicate parts and those in tight locations from small plastic sprues.
- Powered: Is used for making jewelry. It can be pneumatically or electrically powered.
2021’s 5 Best Sprue Cutters
The Army Painter Stainless Steel Model Sprue Cutter
This sprue cutter is designed for handling metal and plastic resin miniatures such that they become ready quickly for painting. This hobby modeling tool helps in prepping the miniatures by taking them apart from sprues, removing mold lines, and cleaning them before painting.
Made especially for miniatures of plastic and metal, this side cutter can easily handle wargaming metal miniatures and bigger resin bits. Although less precise, it is more lasting than a plastic side cutter due to its stainless-steel construction as well as a safety grip handle.
With this cutter, you build your models quite faster than using a pair of tweezers, a flush cutter leaving several stress marks, and hardware dikes together. The angle of the tips is such that you can cut the parts at their exact position. Thus, you can cut wires, clean metal miniatures, and remove the arms and legs of your model precisely. There is also no need to bother about distortion, mashing, or pinching adjacent parts due to the smooth jaws.
The lasting return spring takes the responsibility of no misalignment of the jaws. The safety grip handle facilitates comfortable cutting without slipping, especially in small corners.
Valtcan Prime Sprue Cutter for Model Kits
Consider this sprue cutter if you will be building large models using thick plastic parts. This Valtcan cutter is designed for those who are planning to get into Gunpla or a similar hobby. While not offering the best clean cuts like those of GodHand levels, the resulting cuts are satisfactory for beginners.
Tagged by the manufacturer as ideal for cutting and trimming plastic portions from sprue trees, this tool is suitable for a variety of projects such as car and plane kits, metal kits, hg, pg, mg, plant trimming, bonsai, and wire cutting.
This prime sprue cutter cuts parts of metal and plastic sprues trees in half of the time to develop a model using a kit. Otherwise, this time raises significantly due to tearing, over-cutting, or under-cutting of the model kit portions. Such outcomes can even call for another or multiple touch-ups with more sanding and trimming.
With this cutter, you can cut precisely with minimal tearing to speed your intensive building session. A long handle contributes to a more moment arm so that you can cut with less force. Another distinct feature is the control pin on the side of the jaws, which limits the extension to some limit. Thus, you can work even in the narrowed spots of the model.
The handles seem to be of rubber to ensure full control as well as a secure grip while handling even the most delicate and smallest parts of a model. There is a spring between the handles whose quick-release action decreases the time you give to your Gundam model.
The cutter is made up of Japanese steel of high quality, which contributes to smooth, straight cuts with no tearing.
TAMIYA TAM74035 Sharp Pointed Side Cutter
Consider this hand-finished sprue cutter if you handle highly delicate plastic mold pieces and wish to remove its sprue protrusions. This precision tool features thin, pointed blades perfect for getting rid of the delicate parts made up of plastic, from the sprue.
Designed especially for miniature wargaming and model making, this cutter gives a clear cut by trimming a bit far from the targeted section to get started, and then snipping off the residual such that no stress marks in white are left on the piece.
You also get a smooth, level finish. In short, this sprue or side cutter abolishes most of the work that you would otherwise do to clean nubs with a hobby knife. You can expect a more consistent and cleaner outcome than a knife.
The jaws are nothing short of sharp blades, due to which you can accurately cut the small parts of plastic from the sprue. The jaw-cum-blades are made using chrome vanadium alloy of steel, which is of top quality. The alloy ensures that the blades retain their sharpness despite much use. Further, the hand-finished approach has rendered better focus on details to give you a cutter with maximum precision and optimal sharpness.
GodHand Ultimate Nipper 5.0 GH-SPN-120 for Plastic Models
GodHand is one of the esteemed brands admired for its different cutters and nippers. This GH-SPN-120 model is designed to remove gates, and sprue bulges from any model made using plastic.
Perhaps, the best-selling point of this double-edged sprue cutter is its set of low-profile sharp jaws. These jaws can effortlessly access a small gate or sprue on any section of the model. In the case of other sprue cutters, at times, it becomes really tough to reach the tight places while cutting to a few runners. However, the thin profile of this nipper never gives rise to this issue.
You will also admire this cutter for its grip that is long and firm. As a result, it is easy to hold it with less force while using the blades. Just as the Valtcan nipper, this GodHand nipper also has a pin stopper due to which jaws do not open excessively so that you can enjoy its hassle-free use, particularly for delicate or fine model kits.
The blade cuts but it does so well without snapping parts off, especially when it comes to handling the delicate parts. You can easily rely on it for trimming some plastic pins for a tank model for which other cutters are likely to result in mangling.
No matter what you cut, the superior-sharp blade cuts are clean and straight. Most of them need no further cleaning with sanding or another knife. You simply save a lot of time with this sprue cutter.
On the flip side, the cutter will leave a stress mark on any plastic surface. Still, it is ideal for clear kits. Many will complain about its too-high price and fragile tips, but its pros and features make it worthy of your investment if budget is not a problem. It is nice to use this cutter, even on chrome-plated surfaces.
Beaditive Single Blade Nipper and Plastic Sprue Cutter
A normal flush cutter is not a reliable tool for taking off parts from the sprue for building miniatures or 3D models. It is likely to leave those white stress or cut marks. Further, you consume much time on polishing, sanding, and trimming the different sections. For building your model quickly and more easily, this nipper from Beaditive is worth a try if you wish to get rid of sanding, polishing, and trimming.
Designed only for handling plastic models, the cutter features a sharp and ultra-thin blade to give a smooth cut with minimal whitening when de-gating parts. Although thin, the blade is powerful enough to give precise and clear cuts every time. The credit goes to its body of metal, chromoly that has undergone an additional hardening process.
The cutter goes through Games Workshop (GW) or Bandai plastic as if it is splitting butter. Thus, it is better than a flush cutter for taking off-model/miniature bits from the sprue. If used precisely and taken care of properly, you get near-perfect cuts. This means you will have to use high-grade sandpaper for a smooth finish.
The cutter works well on different plastic sprues, including those of PE and ABS that are 3mm or below. There is also a blade stopper so that the blade does not break due to extreme force.
What is a sprue cutter?
A sprue cutter is a tool used primarily for cutting and discarding portions from the sprue of a metal or plastic molding. However, you can also use it for cutting thin wires while handling small electronic projects.
How do you sharpen sprue cutters?
It is easy to sharpen the dull edges of a sprue cutter. To do so, color the flat back or the beveled part of the jaws with a marker pen and sand the marked area using cushioned sanding pad of 400-600 grit across the jaws’ length. Ensure that you remove the dry mark of the pen evenly to retain the back and cutting angle intact for a better finish while cutting. Now, repeat the same procedure on the interior of the jaws.
The GodHand sprue cutter is pricey, but you get a lot of pros for your money. If you are on a budget and wish to have a better model than a general side cutter, the Valtcan cutter is a reliable tool.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.