Make Your Own Rotary Cutter in Six Simple Steps

Need a new rotary cutter? Then make your own from scrap metal.

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There is nothing worse than having to fiddle with a cheap plastic pizza cutter. So, why not dispense with the fuss and make your own beefy metal one? 

Follow this simple guide to find out how. 

diy rotary cutter complete
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Like any project of this nature, you'll first need some stuff to get you started. 

Tools and equipment needed

Step 1: Sketch out your design

The first step is to sketch out the design for your DIY rotary cutter. Take a circular object about the size your want the cutter wheel to be, and draw a circle using it. 

diy rotary cutter draw circle
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

With the cutter wheel sketched out, you can then free-hand the rough design for the main cutter body and grip. Sketch out the design roughly and gently first before committing to the final design. 

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Once you are happy, finalize the design and cut it out using a knife or pair of scissors. 

diy rotary cutter cut out design
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Step 2: Cut out the basic body of the rotary cutter

Take the cutout and transfer it to a piece of metal. Secure the template into place using magnets or tape, and mark it out on the metal using a marker pen. 

You will want two identical pieces of the full design, and one missing the top "hook" to fill the middle of the handle and leave space for the cutter wheel to rotate. 

diy rotary cutter transfer design
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Once complete, grab your plasma cutter or angle grinder, and cut out the design. Be sure to wear appropriate protective equipment when doing so. 

diy rotary cutter plasma cut
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Once complete, clean up the cuts using an angle grinder. 

diy rotary cutter clean cut
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

With that complete, transfer your cut metal pieces (two full and one missing the "hook), stack them on top of one another, and drill a series of holes along the centerline.

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diy rotary cutter drill holes
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Step 3: Shape the rotary cutter

With that stage complete, grab your metal files and begin to work the cut edges of the metal. To do this stack the pieces together and hold them in a vice.

You want to remove as many of the cut marks and barbs as possible. This will take some time. 

diy rotary cut file cuts
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Keep going until the cut edges are a smooth as you can humanly make them. 

diy rotary cutter file edges
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

With that complete, test the drill holes of the pieces of metal using appropriately sized nuts and bolts, and adjust as needed. Next, mark the mounting point for the cutter wheel and drill another hole through all layers of the two longest pieces of metal. 

diy rotary cutter cutter mount
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Step 4: Create the cutter wheel

Next, take another piece of scrap metal and mark out a circle the same size as the cutter wheel for your rotary cutter. Either use the same template object, or a pair of compasses to do this. 

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diy rotary cutter draw wheel
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

As before, grab your angle grinder or plasma cutter, and cut out the circle. Once liberated, clean up the cut edges using an angle grinder.

diy rotary cutter clean cuts wheel
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Next, sink a hole through the dead center of the wheel. Add a bolt through the center, and transfer the rough wheel to your lathe. 

Turn on the lathe and then begin to work the shape of the wheel using a metal cutting tip. Continue until the cutter wheel is the diameter you want. 

diy rotary cutter lathe wheel
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Then change the angle of the cutting edge, and work a dual-tapered edge to the perimeter of the cutter wheel. 

diy rotary cutter cutting edge
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Next, drill a series of wheels at equal spacings around the sides of the cutting wheel. Next, bevel the holes. 

diy rotary cutter holes
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

With that complete, place the cutter wheel onto a heat-proof mat or fireproof board, and heat-treat it using a blow torch. 

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diy rotary cutter heat treat
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Once red hot, flash cool the piece using a pair of tongs. Next, sharpen the cutting edge using a belt sander or whetstone. 

diy rotary cutter sharpen
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Step 5: Fine polish the main handle

With the cutting wheel effectively finished, grab your Dremel and polish/angle the edges all the way around the handle piece of the metal. If not already done so, also polish up the other parts of the metal surfaces. 

diy rotary cutter polish handle
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Finish off using sandpaper, where required. 

diy rotary cutter polish handle
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Step 6: Assemble the cutter

Take the main components of the cutter and begin to assemble them from one side. Add bolts to one side of the handle, add lubricant to the wheel mounting axle, and add on the cutter wheel. 

diy rotary cutter lubricate cutter
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

Next, add the central part of the handle and a washer to the wheel and then add the final outer length of the handle. 

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Tighten the bolts by hand. 

diy rotary cutter tighten bolts
Source: Zihwaza Workshop/Interesting Engineering

With that, your DIY rotary cutter is now complete. Now you can proudly add it to your kitchen utensils collection. 

Why not order a pizza and put it to work immediately? If you liked this project, how about making your own giant razor blade handle?

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