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Hot knife for ultralight fabrics: your recommendation?


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Home Forums Gear Forums Make Your Own Gear Hot knife for ultralight fabrics: your recommendation?

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  • #3717905
    Randolph J
    BPL Member

    @moab-randy

    Hi all,

    Do you have any specific recommendations for a hot knife to cut ultralight fabrics?

    I have used a gun-type soldering iron, but it’s too awkward for careful work and too hot–it has even caught fabric on fire.

    Online I have seen two basic types: One is essentially an angled continuous circuit electrode, like that used to cut sail fabric. I’m sure this would work, but these are expensive (around $75 plus) and maybe wouldn’t have as much control as I want.

    The other type is cheaper, essentially a heated XActo knife. Mixed reviews on these as to whether they get and stay hot enough at the tip, and the ones I was tempted by don’t allow returns on Amazon.

    Any great solutions out there?

    Thanks.

    #3717943
    Michael B
    BPL Member

    @mikebergy

    I used a standard pencil-style soldering iron with a round point, and that worked fine for me as long as I pulled it along the straight edge at the right speed. Too slow, and it does indeed start to melt in ways that are unwanted, too fast, and it doesn’t melt cleanly through. Mine is a Weller, but any low-wattage iron should work. It even cuts through 420 Robic just fine. I’ve seen people rig up an exacto blade to them, but I found it unnecessary.

     

     

    #3718138
    Randolph J
    BPL Member

    @moab-randy

    Thank you, Michael. I’ve gotten hold of a pencil-styled soldering iron and it seems to work fairly well.

     

     

    #3718473
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    I use a Weller with a custom ‘knife blade’ at the tip. It works fine on silnylon, even quite heavy stuff.

    Cheers

    #3718693
    Randolph J
    BPL Member

    @moab-randy

    Thanks, Roger. Sounds like that’s the consensus.

    #3718726
    Joe G
    BPL Member

    @jgreenewv

    #3718796
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    I should add: I have a large sheet of old cheap thin 3-ply which I cut onto. It has many burn lines. Better that than the floor!

    Cheers

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