This is a review of the Shadow Hobby Thinnerline Circle Cutter 2018 Black Edition.
- NEW: user-calibrated precision diameter scale
- NEW: laser-engraved markings (no longer uses decal)
- NEW: black on black finish
- No center-point punctures
- Sturdy main ball bearing outer frame
- Secondary ball bearing cutter blade swivel
- Step-less diameter adjustment (.020~1.967″ / 0.5~50 mm)
- Precision adjustment of cutter blade pressure
- Cushion base grip helps prevent slipping
- One standard 60° cutter blade included
What attracted me to this circle cutter is its ability to cut diameters down to 0.5mm, that’s half a millimeter.
Its unconventional design (built on a ball bearing) means that there is no needle, and no hole in the circles that are cut out. This will be ideal for cutting out instrument panel decals.
I placed my order at Shadow Hobby’s online store on 15 February 2018, and the items arrived on 20 March in Singapore.
In actual fact, the items were only dispatched on 5 March, because Shadow Hobby were producing this new 2018 Black Edition, which features laser-engraved markings, as opposed to the stickers in the original Orange-coloured version. Well worth the wait.
A review of the original version can be found on Hyperscale.
I also ordered their new Thinnerline Center Locator TLCL-000, and spare blades for the circle cutter.
The items arrived nicely packed in a compact cardboard box.
The contents are protected in bubble wrap, with the blades in a plastic tube.
First up, the Circle Cutter.
Some assembly required; the small zip-loc bag holds the supplied 60-degree angle blade, the blade holder, and stickers for the size indicator.
Unlike the original version, where the size indicator arrow was pre-attached, this version requires “user calibration”. The steps are detailed in the enclosed instruction sheet.
The picture below shows the white triangle sticker in place, indicating a diameter of 3mm.
To start, first insert a blade into the blade holder; which is a tiny ball bearing.
This allows the blade to rotate whilst cutting in a circle.
The cutting action is very smooth, with the ball bearing offering a little bit of resistance, almost like a fluid-head of a video tripod.
Here’s a close-up of a 2mm circle I cut.
Next up is the new Center Locator.
To help align the Circle Cutter over instrument panel decals, or to cut concentric circles for masking roundels, the Center Locator enables us to precisely place the Circle Cutter exactly at the right spot.
The clear plastic template lets us see the correct placement, after which the L-shaped jig is aligned to two of its flat sides.
Replacing the plastic template with the Circle Cutter (without moving the jig) will locate the center accurately.
The bottom of the jig has a grippy material to prevent slippage.
Here is a test of cutting some concentric circles in Tamiya masking tape.
First, place the center locator at the desired center position.
Then carefully place the L-shaped jig to contact the 2 flat sides of the template.
Without moving the jig, replace the template with the Circle Cutter. This will align the center point at the exact center of the cutter.
Hold the large knob and rotate counter-clockwise to cut. The direction is clearly indicated on the top panel.
Perfectly aligned circles, without a needle mark in the center!
Lastly, a set of three spare blades.
I ordered the 45-degree ones, which are labelled as suitable for cutting material thicknesses from 0.1mm – 0.2mm
The cutting tips are protected inside the red rubber tips.
The blades are extremely sharp.
These tools are not cheap, and they have the build quality that reflects the price. With a little care, they should last a long time; a worthwhile investment.
Highly recommended for the serious craftsman.