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Clamshell Cutters: The D.L. Ricci Range in Focus

Adding a clamshell cutter to your collection of portable machining equipment opens up new possibilities for machining work. Investing in one or more of these machines will enable you to sever pipes, remove flanges and create many different weld profiles when on-site.
The clamshell cutter has been around for many years - you may have heard of them by their other commonly used names; “split frame cutter”, “cold cutting machine,” “portable lathe” or simply “pipe cutter.”

Since joining the Actuant corporation in late 2017, Mirage Machines has benefitted from increased investment in new product development, wider global coverage and a strengthened product range. We are therefore pleased to announce that our parent group’s D.L Ricci range of clamshell cutters has now joined the Mirage product line-up. Thanks to their ability to deliver an outstanding performance across a wide range of industries, the DL Ricci name has become synonymous with pipe cutting and bevelling throughout the world.
But before we take a close look at the range, those of you less familiar with pipe cutting and bevelling might want to learn more about their applications and what makes a good clamshell cutter.

Industries using clamshell cutters

  • Oil & Gas
  • Power Generation
  • Petrochemical & Refineries
  • Ship Builders
  • Industrial Maintenance
  • Pipe Fabricators
  • Pipe Installers
  • Pipe Repairers
  • Decommissioning contractors
  • Paper & Pulp Industry
  • Water & Civil Engineering Companies
  • Engineering Companies
  • On-site machining companies serving all of the above

What makes a good clamshell product range?

  • A wide range of clamshell cutters - enabling you to work on all pipe sizes
  • The size capacity of each individual machine – reducing the number of machines you need.
  • Portability, but robustly constructed - no unnecessary weight
  • Easy to set up
    • Adjustable locator pads & extensions
    • Mounting anywhere onto the pipe – including tight spaces
    • Fast changing of tool slides – (e.g. DL Ricci ‘Quickslides)
    • Easy and fast motor mounting
  • Accessories – expanding your capabilities
  • Brand reliability and reputation – there’s plenty of cheap clamshell cutters out there, but will they do the job accurately? …how long will they last?

The DL Ricci Range: At a Glance


HD Clamshell Cutters


HD machines utilize heavy duty construction, making them suitable for severing or single point bevelling on pipes or large vessels. They’re also rigid enough to reface worn flanges. The HD clamshell cutter range comprises 18 machines covering pipe diameters from 20” (508mm) all the way up to 180” (4572mm). Larger models from the HD60 and bigger are assembled in quarters for increased portability.

MS Clamshell Cutters


The MS clamshell series is a mid-size body range covering a wide range of applications. There are 12 machines in the range for cutting and bevelling medium wall pipes from 4.125” 104.8mm) to 48.25” (1225.6mm).

NB Clamshell Cutters


The NB clamshell cutter series incorporates a narrower body (OD) than the MS and HD ranges for reduced weight and functionality in confined work spaces. There are 15 NB clamshell cutters in the series, suitable for use on light to medium wall pipes covering a range of diameters from 1.90” (48.3mm) to 36” (914.4mm). Other key differentiators as compared with other machines is that electric drive is available as an option and the NB series being available in variants suitable for cutting casings. These 7 external casing cutter machines cover a range of pipe diameters from 6.88” (175mm) to 32.5” (825.5mm). The design includes a bi-directional gearbox assembly enabling flush mounts on casing flanges.

Clamshell Cutter Accessories


Having a wide selection of accessories compatible with your D.L Ricci machine will expand the capabilities of each machine. This may include facing, match boring and shaft machining. Other accessories enable you to carry out applications aside from the usual cutting and bevelling operations, for example need to overcome difficulties such as out of round pipework, weld crown removal and radial clearance issues.

Tools and their uses

bevelling toolsPre-ground cutting tools are used for parting operations and forming of weld preparation profiles.

Weld preparation profiles relevant to pipework


Note: Welding procedures should always be reviewed to determine the correct weld profile, as this may be affected by the pipe material and welding method to be applied.

Tips for choosing a clamshell cutter

There are a large number of clamshell cutter manufacturers out here competing for your business. So how do you choose?

  • If in doubt, go for a reputable and reliable portable machine tool brand. D.L Ricci clamshells through Mirage machines is certainly worth considering.
  • Think longer term – choose a manufacturer who makes a wide range of machines. Investing in more than one will ensure you’re ready to respond quickly when opportunities arise.
  • Choose a clamshell manufacturer that can provide a wide range of accessories - allowing different applications to be undertaken.

Get advice to help choose the right product or if you know what you need get in touch.

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