The answer for how to cut metal effectively lies with the tools. With the right cutter, the task of cutting through metal is relatively easy. Each type of metal needs a different tool. In the post below, we will discuss the tools that are commonly used to cut metal, as well as some tips that you should bear in mind while doing the cutting and welding.
Tools for cutting metal
Let’s go through the most common tools to cut metal.
- Straight cutters (Compound Snips):it can cut gently sloping curves or straight lines. These ones usually have a yellow color. The straight cutters are also the tools for those who just begin to learn how to cut metal effectively.
- Special cutters: resemble the straight cutter, but is more efficient in cutting left curves or right curves.
These special cutters can also handle the task of cutting arches or circle.
- The left cutter usually is red and helps you cut counterclockwise curves.
- The right cutter is usually green and helps you cut clockwise curves.
- Electric shears: these blades have teeth that work vertically. It helps if you want to make straight cut fast and efficiently.
- Dovetail metal cutters: these ones can notch sheet metal, and create perfect dovetails with their V-shaped blades.
- Nibbler: the nibbler can flexibly cut through metal sheets in your desired direction. The head is adjustable, allowing you to cut the sheet in curves, circles or straight lines.
- Flush cutter: snip metal sheet or wires up to 12-gauge.
- French shears: can cut metal sheets up to 20 gauge. They offer smooth cutting lines and can make straight or slightly bent curves.
**Note: when learning to cut metal, keep in mind that you will have a longer cut with a bigger shear.
How to cut metal effectively
You will depend on the type of metal that you want to cut to choose the tool and the technique accordingly.
You can cut thin pieces like a metal sheet with almost any tool.
On the other hand, thicker steel, like plates, tubes or pipes, will require specialized tools like torches or power saws.
- For thin steel sheets or small cuts, use compound snips. You cut metal with this tool in the same way that you cut paper with a scissor. This option is the easiest.
- For long cuts in thin metal sheet, use a nibbler. These tools punch out a small piece of metal in every nib, so make sure you clean those up after finishing the task to avoid injuries.
- For rough cuts, use an angle grinder and a metal cutoff wheel. Depend on the thickness and the cut that you desire, you can choose the type of cutoff blade. Remember to wear protection for face, ears, and hands. Read the instructions carefully before operating. It will lessen your time in performing the task.
- For simple, shallow cuts, use a hacksaw. You just need to rock it back and forth. Remember to rub on some wax after each use.
- For square cuts in thicker metal, use an abrasive chop saw. Because chop saw operates on high power, there will be a lot of heat during cutting the metal. You should use it with heavy-duty gloves and eye goggles.
- For better accuracy cuts in thicker metal, use a horizontal band saw. They have three tooth patterns, including wave, straight and raker. Among these, the raker pattern is the most useful for cutting through thicker metal. You will have an easy time using this saw because you only feed the metal into the saw while the blade smoothly does its job.
- For highly accurate cuts in thicker metal, use a cold saw.
A bench shear is able to cut any types of metal with high accuracy. The torch has the same versatility; however, it is only meant to be used by experienced users.
- Rather than moving the tool, you should keep the saw still and turn the metal piece. That way, you’ll have better control over where the blade cuts.
- Don’t place a death grip on the metal sheet. This is a basic error of many newbies.
- Don’t push the blade on the metal, because they only need to touch slightly to do the job well. Not pushing the blade will also help you move the saw easily.
- It’s normal if you break the saw blades, so don’t get panicked!
- Some people use lubricant for blades to reduce snapping.
- Create a stable surface to work on when you cut metal.
It’s not hard cutting metal
Cutting metal is a simple yet skilled task. How easy it is diverses with the type of metal and cut that you need.
With this post, we hope that you grasped the basics of metal cutting.