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Modified Aviation Snips
Article © MAIL User: Chainmailbasket_com

April 26, 2006 edit: I have long since stopped using this tool. Probably at least four years ago.. There are simply much better tools used for chainmail ring cutting, such as Knipex Cobolt cutters. With these modified snips however, I was cutting an average of 2000 - 3000 rings per hour, which I consider very fast. I only ever used them on 16 SWG 5/16", and 14 SWG 3/8" galvanized steel, but they would cut rings of brass, bronze, copper, aluminum, etc. as well. They will not work on stainless steel, titanium, and other harder metals.

Disclaimer: If you plan on modifying aviation snips by grinding a blade down, this voids the warranty. Do so only at your own will.

The snips used in this demonstration are Wiss M3 aviation snips. I modified them by grinding the bottom blade down on a bench grinder, so that the coil would better fit on the blade. The coil in this case is one of 14 SWG 3/8" galvanized steel. When grinding the blade, I dipped it in water every few seconds to ensure that the metal in the blade would not become softer and less durable (lose its temper). Next I took off the hook that holds the snips closed and put on a thin piece of steel. The piece of steel ensures that the snips can't be closed completely. The reason for this is if you close them completely with a coil on the bottom blade, the rings will be over cut and become C-shaped.

Some pictures of the modified snips opened and closed:

Image: snipsopensm.jpgImage: snipsclosedsm.jpg

14 SWG 3/8" coil on the bottom blade. Notice how it almost reaches the pivot point of the snips. The reason for this is to give the person cutting the rings more leverage and also to lessen the chance of blade breakage. With this setup a person can easily cut 4 or 5 rings with each snip.

Image: snipscoilsm.jpg

Some rings cut with these snips:

Image: comparison.jpg

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