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  1. #1
    NE Roadie
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    Dremel cutter head for housing/cables

    Is there a specific cutting head that I should use for my dremmel tool to cut cables/housings because none of the cutters in my kit can cut the steel lined housing ?

  2. #2
    Senior Member BikeManDan's Avatar
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    Any cut off wheel

  3. #3
    seņor member seaneee's Avatar
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    The smaller brown ones are better though. I forget off had what the number is, but they are sorta reddish and come stacked in a small plastic jar.

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    A reinforced cutting disc should make quick work of steel. Computer modders use it on steel cases all the time.

    Even the heavy duty cutting wheels can do this albeit not quickly. Use a really high speed and don those safety goggles.

  5. #5
    Long haired freak. wethepeople's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seaneee
    The smaller brown ones are better though. I forget off had what the number is, but they are sorta reddish and come stacked in a small plastic jar.
    I hate those ones, all they ever do when I use them is explode.

    "the bus came by and I got on, that's when it all began...there was Cowboy Neal at the wheel of a bus to never-ever land."


  6. #6
    Senior Member BikeManDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wethepeople
    I hate those ones, all they ever do when I use them is explode.
    Problems like these occur when the material you are trying to cut is too hard for the cutoff wheel you're using or you are applying too much pressure. Sping the wheel to high RPM and let it slowly do its work. Trying to saw through something with it will only wear down the cutoff wheel eventually causing it to shatter and spray pieces everywhere

  7. #7
    seņor member seaneee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wethepeople
    I hate those ones, all they ever do when I use them is explode.
    Really? I find that the heftier ones, one lighter material like cables and even some alloys, can tend to chew whatever your cutting a bit since they have to remove more material to make the cut.

  8. #8
    Senior Member dstrong's Avatar
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    I got a Dremel for Christmas and took a minute last week to experiment with cutting cable housing. I used one of the brown discs from the stack in the little container. I think I was cutting standard Shimano STI cable housing. Each cut yielded the same result...a nice cut but the heat caused the plastic to melt and occlude the opening! I only had a couple minutes to try this...but I'm curious if anyone else has had the same experience.

    2014 Specialized RoubaixOOOOOO 2003 Interloc ImpalaOOOOOO 2007 ParkPre Image C6 (RIP)


  9. #9
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    I use the little brown cutting discs. You just have to be very careful not to push _sideways_ against the disc with the housing as you cut, or it will shatter. I think the technique that works the best, which I just came up with, is to clamp the dremel in a vise and hold the housing that you are cutting.

    I use medium high speed, and very gentle pressure. I also usually make a preliminary cut with cable cutters, and then trim off 6-7mm with the Dremel for a clean and straight cut.


    Then while the plastic is still hot, i use a ballpoint pen to open up the melted inner liner. It works well because you can kind of mold it into a slightly wider opening, which makes threading cables into the housing easier.


    For cutting cables themselves, you can use the cutting disc, but a real pair of cable cutters is far superior. I found the dremel tends to cause the individual strands of steel to kind of un-wind, which is a pain.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    The small brown disks in the container are very brittle and will crack very easily if you put a side load on them as robo stated. I much prefer to get a fiber reinforced type cut-off wheel which last for a long time.

    When cutting the liner you need to go very slow and stop a couple of times to allow the liner to cool off. If you don't do this it will get too hot and the liner will melt as mentioned by others. Take your time and let it cool and all will be well.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  11. #11
    steel lover
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    Fiber reinforced cut-off wheels should work no problem. I've used them to cut through solid steel. Just clamp the cable tightly, or otherwise stop it from moving around on ya.

  12. #12
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    If you have a bench grinder just cut the cable with good heavy duty wire cutters and then grind off about 1/8 inch using the side of the grinding wheel.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    One more thing...wrap the shifter cables with masking tape in the area you are cutting. It will help keep the outer plastic housing from cracking - which is fairly common if using Shimano housing.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  14. #14
    holyrollin' FlatTop's Avatar
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    Goggles or faceshield.
    If it turns as fast as a Dremel and has the potential to fly apart (as the cheap, unreinforced cutoff wheels do), you'll need to wear one or the other.
    One close call will convince you that a dollar store pair of plastic goggles is worth your inconvenience.

  15. #15
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessism
    One more thing...wrap the shifter cables with masking tape in the area you are cutting. It will help keep the outer plastic housing from cracking - which is fairly common if using Shimano housing.
    It's not worth using a dremel on shifter cable (the modern kind anyway)... cable cutters work fine, IMO.

    As for the safety goggles/mask, the most important thing is to keep yourself out of the plane on which the disc is spinning - that's where the shrapnel is going to go.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by seaneee
    The smaller brown ones are better though. I forget off had what the number is, but they are sorta reddish and come stacked in a small plastic jar.
    +1 and make darn sure you wear safety glasses. They have been know to just disentigrate and fly everywhere.

  17. #17
    (Grouchy)
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    a dremel to cut cable housing? that's like using a broad sword to do surgery. not only is it over-complicating the procedure, like someone posted above, it's going to melt the plastic inner housing. it's faster to use a hand tool anyway. i use diagonal cutters for brake housing, and cable cutters (like the shimanos, or pedro's or felco's) on derailleur housing. with diagonals, i can usually cut brake housing clean enough that i don't have to use the grinder to clean it up.

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