Introduction: Arrow Cutter

About: I work on the railway to pay the rent. I was recently left with a disability after getting knocked from my bicycle and I am still adjusting to doing things differently. I took up woodwork as a way of dealing w…

This is a simple Instructable to make an arrow cutter using a rotary tool and a cutting disc. It performs an adequate job for those of us that only have the rare need for cutting arrows and definitely don't need to go to the expense of buying a purpose built one. The main drawback is that the maximum length of the cut is determined by the shank of the rotary tool used. In this case 60mm, so if you need to remove more than that you need to do a rough cut first before finishing the job accurately.

I used safety gear whilst using power tools and suggest you do the same. Any injuries caused as a result of following my instructable are at your own risk. If you can't agree to this you didn't get the design from me.

The dimensions used suited my rotary tool and may need to be adjusted to suit yours. It doesn't damage the tool and it can be removed in a minute when required for something else.

Step 1: Items Required


1000 x 160 18mm plywood
25mm drywall screws
25mm x3mm aluminum strip
 4 penny washers
m5 x40mm cap head bolt 
1 m5 repair washer
1 m5 tee nut
wood glue

This is the equipment I used but you can make it happen without

Table saw
router with 1/4" cutter
screw driver
Drill with 10mm bit and a forstner bit to the diameter of the tee nut flange

Step 2: Getting Started

The plywood needs to be marked out. The idea is that the finished item comprises of two similarly sized layers. The top layer houses the cutter and the bottom layer provides a level platform and a sliding middle section that provides the length stop. I used an offcut and sort of made do with it not being exactly long enough to cover the full range from 31". As me and my son shoot arrow at around 26 - 28" my cutter is fine. 

The rotary tool was 55mm in diameter. Halving my board to provide the two layers left me with 45mm at either side to centralise the tool.

So anyway I traced around the tool laying it so that I could work the controls with ease.

After drawing around the tool I went to cut it out on the bandsaw and promptly broke the blade so had to resort to the jigsaw. 

Step 3: Setting the Rotary Tool

Having cut the plywood to shape, the next step is to secure the tool in place. As it was my intention to trap the tool in place with the bottom runners the tool only needs securing from the top. This was done with some 25mm alloy plate. The main strap is bent to fit around the body and clamped with 2 drywall screws and washers. 

The front strap is designed to be trapped between the tool and its' collar. The strap was measured and the diameter of the tool neck is cut from the middle. A sort of D shape, open at the bottom. There are two holes drilled either side and these are drywalled screwed at a 45 degree angle to provide lateral stability.

Step 4: Routing the Adjuster Slot

The adjuster  bar requires a routed slot to allow the clamping system to slide. I can't think of a better way to describe it. In my case I left 25mm at the far end to provide integrity  of the top layer. Don't let your router fence slip by not clamping it otherwise it will end up looking a bit of a mess like mine. It doesn't affect the operation so I didn't bother swapping it out.

In the next section the adjuster is described in more detail but for now, two "feet" need making from the reserved plywood. I cur two 50mm wide strips and glued and screwed onto the outside extremes. This provides room for the adjuster and the 5mm overlap provides support for the rotary tool.

Step 5: The Adjuster Rail

The adjuster rail can't go past where the rotary tool sits and I wanted it to end flush with the end of the top layer. This measurement requires 18mm adding to it for the arrow stop to be glued on. Before any cutting takes place, you need to check the full extension adds up to a full inch from the disc cutter. To do this, mark the cutter as 0 (zero) and fully extend the adjuster to the last full inch (+18mm for the arrow stop) sorry for mixing my measurements but I work in metric and arrows in England are cut in inches.

At the last full in point mark through the slot at it's furthest end. This is where the hole will be drilled for the adjuster clamp.

Drill through with sufficient diameter drill to accept a M5 tee nut and rebate the bottom of the adjuster so that if recesses above the bottom of the slide. 

The arrow stop is just some scrap ply cut to the same width as the slide with a 10mm countersink in the middle to house the nock of the arrow. 
This is then glued and screwed so that the depth of the countersink is in line with the full inch mark.

Step 6: Finishing Off

The adjuster slide and the body are joined by a m5 repair washer and an M5 x40 allen bolt. You loosen the bolt, slide the adjuster to the required length and tighten. I marked off the full inches on the adjuster and the fractions are found using a ruler. I was going to attach the tape from a broken tape measure to the slide but in the end didn't see the need.

To finish off I used some of the remaining allow strip to provide a cutting guard in front of the disc. This was drilled with the 10mm bit so that it can be adjusted as the disc wears. I need to attach a safety guard over the disc itself but the 3mm allow wouldn't bend well enough to fit the curvature. I have since got a thick plastic bottle from which I have cut  a ring  25mm wide. This is screwed down and sits over the disc.

I clamped the cutter down to a work surface as you really don't want your arrows damaged if it moves when you don't expect or want it to.
Happy arrow cutting.

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