TIP: Cutting Down Large Screws

Often, it's the case that you don't have exactly the right length screw at your disposal. No problem. This series of steps will illustrate a technique for cutting down screws that are too large to clip off in a crimper with a built-in bolt cutter (as described in Chapter 8). Using the Dremel tool, you can cut your screws to any length you desire.

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The key to getting a straight cut is using a guide. In this case, I'll use the edge of a nut as a cutting guide. You want your guide to stay exactly where you put it for the duration of the cut. If it moves a little, this could cause a misalignment of the blade, causing it to shatter. You either need a nylon-inset locknut, which will stay where you put it, or two regualr jam nuts tightened against each other. In the picture, I am using two jam nuts as a guide. The third nut is a spacer, so that I get consistent positioning relative to the tip for each of the four bolts.


Clamp the screw to a stable surface. Do not attempt to hold it with your hand. The action of the abrasive disc will cause the screw to heat up. Caution: When using the abrasive disc, a full-face shield is mandatory, since the thin abrasive disc is prone to shattering.


After the cut is complete, quench the screw in water. Then you can loosen and remove the nuts.


Make sure to put a slight chamfer on the edges of the screws you cut down with the disc sander and clean up the edges with deburring wheel, so that the screw has an easier time starting.