How to properly cut thin sheet metal

Three Ways to Cut Sheet Metal for any Budget!

Manual scissors for cutting metal

Excellent for use at home, and are also often used in small-scale production and when working with your hands, when you need to perform a single operation, for example, in a car service.

Feature of use. they can only be used when metalworking sheet steel with a thickness not exceeding three millimeters. They have their own varieties:

  • for a straight cut. the most classic ones, have slightly rounded blades to increase the force applied to one point, in appearance they resemble a standard stationery;
  • for curvilinear. it is much more convenient with them to make artistic cuts, as well as make holes;
  • finger. have rounded edges;
  • having only one movable part, the other half is fixed on the table.

Also, all products differ for right-handed and left-handed sharpening. The convenience of turns during the process depends on this.

Their design feature is such that the handles are longer than the cutting part, this contributes to an increase in the pressure force. The material from which they are made is also important. the hardness of the steel should be no lower than 52-60 HRC. The blades should not fit closely, but with a gap, if there is no gap, then they will quickly fail, and if too large, then the sheet will wrinkle.

Another similar option

You can do it in another way. First, the same work is done as in the previous version. a strip is drawn, a corner is laid and pressed. But here the groove is made a little deeper. 4-5 mm. After the corner is removed, the rest of the metal can be simply broken off, and the edge can be processed using an angle grinder with a grinding disc. However, small pits on the edge are possible here, which makes the second option more acceptable.

thin, sheet, metal

The groove along the guide angle is made a little deeper than in the previous version

Thermal methods

Earlier we talked about the mechanical impact, but with all the positive aspects of the process, we can note the low productivity of such work. Now we will discuss options that allow you to instantly heat the desired zone to the melting point, followed by the evaporation of substances. Usually, technologists are used exclusively in large industries, since they are quite costly.

Plasma

A plasmatron is used as equipment for plasma cutting. Oxygen is emitted through the high-pressure nozzle in it. Its temperature is up to 20 thousand degrees. Beam width 3 mm. The surface area is heated, partially burned out and the melt is blown out.

Band saw cutting

A band saw is a blade that is fixed in special equipment. The material of the tool is the same as that of the handcraft. There are teeth on one side. During the operation of the engine of the machine, the pulleys rotate, due to which there is a continuous movement of the belt.

In the process of work, there is a slight deviation, because the width of the web is 1.5 mm. It is possible to cut both sheet metal and round workpieces.

How can you cut metal: processing steel with circular and reciprocating saws

The name comes from the visual similarity to the saber. The cutting part protrudes from the body at a distance of up to 40 cm (such dimensions are used only in industrial production). The device resembles an electric jigsaw. The movements are progressive and returnable, which ensures a good even cut. Requires network access and skill to use. Difficult enough to use a reciprocating saw.

The disc is much easier to handle, but it won’t cut so deep. But the cut is narrow and clean, and the amount of chips is minimal. It is necessary to carefully monitor the degree of sharpening of the teeth. It is best to choose alloyed alloys of increased hardness from the material of manufacture.

Manual cutting of metal

Manual cutting of metal is not highly efficient and is not used on an industrial scale. The following tools are used for manual cutting:

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Mechanical methods

The classification of mechanical cutting methods is usually based on the answer to the question: how to cut metal? Cutting with a hacksaw and scissors for metal

Cutting with scissors: a) cutting the sheet into strips; b) cutting with leaf scissors. Cutting a round shape: c) wrong; d) correct

At home, metal is usually cut with an ordinary hacksaw. This process is quite laborious. It is greatly simplified if a mechanical hacksaw is available.

Unlike hacksaws, there are many types of metal scissors:

  • Manual shears allow you to cut relatively thin sheet metal. They allow you to do this quickly and accurately, following the cut line correctly. There are several types of hand scissors: finger, power, chair, lever, for curvilinear cutting.
  • Slotted scissors carry out both straight and curved cutting. They allow you to cut metal in confined spaces while maintaining a high quality cut. Powered by an electric motor.
  • Guillotine shears can cut metal with high precision. The main advantages are the absence of defects, high cutting accuracy, the safety of the outer coating of the material being cut.

Hand scissors can cut a relatively thin sheet of metal.

  • Hand scissors. The main disadvantage is that the developed force is not enough for cutting if the metal is very strong.
  • Mechanical scissors. Powered by an electric motor, so the productivity is significantly higher than that of manual guillotines.
  • Hydraulically driven shears. Provide very high precision of work. In addition, they can be equipped with a CNC, which makes it possible to significantly increase their productivity by storing typical parameters of cuts in the memory.

Reciprocating and circular saws, angle grinders

Reciprocating saws are similar in principle to a jigsaw. Outwardly, they look like an electric drill, only instead of a drill. a saw pushed forward with a length of 10 to 35 cm, making a reciprocating motion. Usually the saw is powered from the mains, but battery versions are also available.

Reciprocating saws are used for accurate and fast metal cutting.

For different types of work, different types of saw blades are used. They change easily, like drills in an electric drill. The fastening system is reliable and efficient. Knowing what you have to work with, you can choose the right file. For example, the greater the curvature of the cut, the narrower the canvas should be.

Working with a reciprocating saw requires skill, a steady hand and a good eye.

It is easier to work with circular saws. Their cutting discs are usually made of hard high-alloy alloy or special high-speed steel. Saws are intended for cutting a variety of metal profiles made of a wide variety of metals and alloys, provide a narrow kerf, a small amount of chips.

To choose the right saw, you should pay special attention to the saw blade, in particular to its diameter. The larger it is, the more possibilities the instrument has. Once the cut has been made, additional processing is usually required to remove sharp edges. The disadvantages include rather large dimensions and a rather high cost.

Circular saw can cut copper, aluminum and other non-ferrous metals.

Most consumers don’t even know that the “angle grinder” is an angle grinder. The fact is that this miracle of technology comes from Bulgaria, and our people do not like long names. In most cases, an angle grinder equipped with a steel saw blade perfectly replaces a circular saw for metal, although, as the name suggests, it was originally intended for grinding.

Today, many people use it just as a saw, and not for grinding, although a modern angle grinder can be cut, and cleaned, and polished, etc. over, almost all materials can be cut and grinded. The main thing is that you don’t need to buy various tools. For various materials and works, only different consumables are purchased, and the machine itself only needs one.

Method 3 We use a vice and a hacksaw for metal

This method is suitable for small volumes of work, with small cross-sections of a metal pipe, angle, iron strip, screw pin, etc.

Theoretically, you can manually saw off an iron pin five to seven centimeters in diameter or a corner fifty to fifty and half a centimeter thick. True, it will take more than one hour of time, it will require a lot of effort and endurance.

If there is no hacksaw for metal, then sometimes a simple file will help, but rather not to cut, but to cut the metal (for example, a thin bar for subsequent bending).

Breaking metal with bending

A soft metal strip, wire, a small-diameter / cross-sectional bar can be broken by bending-unbending it several times. This is usually done with pliers, a vice, sometimes with a hammer.

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This is a crude method that will not give any accuracy and is suitable only in some cases. However, it happens that in the absence of a tool at hand, it is precisely by flexion-extension that it is possible to solve the set task.

Thermal methods

Cutting methods belonging to this group can be divided into the following types: gas and gas-electric cutting of metals.

In these cutting methods, the metal is heated by a gas (oxygen) flame, and power sources are not used. There are three main ways of such cutting:

Oxygen cutting of metal involves heating it. hot oxygen jet cuts metal and removes oxides that arise there.

  • Oxygen. With this method, the metal in the cutting zone burns out in an oxygen jet, and the formed oxides are blown out by it.
  • Oxygen-flux. A flux powder enters the cut area, which facilitates the cutting process due to chemical, thermal and abrasive effects.
  • Oxygen lance. The high temperature is created by the combustion of the so-called spear. a tube through which a stream of oxygen is blown.
  • low cost;
  • thick layers of metal can be cut.
  • high metal consumption;
  • low accuracy;
  • the need for additional processing of parts;
  • low cutting speed;
  • large cutting thickness;
  • thermal deformation of metal.

In gas-electric cutting, the metal is heated by a power source, and the melt is removed from the cutting zone by a gas jet. There are two ways to do this:

  • Air arc. liquid metal is removed from the melting zone by a jet of compressed air.
  • Oxygen-arc. the metal heated in the arc flame burns out in the incoming oxygen stream, it is blown out by it.

It is mainly used to correct defects in welded seams. The main disadvantage is the carburization of the cut site due to the combustion of carbon electrodes.

Plasma cutting is by far the most advanced, fastest and most cost effective way to cut metal.

A very promising and rapidly progressing method. The cut metal is melted by a jet of plasma. ionized gas with a temperature of tens of thousands of degrees. A plasma jet is created in a special device. a plasmatron. from an ordinary electric arc due to its compression and injection of a plasma-forming gas into the reaction zone. Two main processing schemes:

  • Plasma jet cutting. With this method, an arc occurs between the electrode and the tip of the plasmatron. The work piece is not included in the electrical circuit.
  • Plasma arc. an arc occurs between a non-consumable electrode made of a refractory material and the metal being cut. An effective and more commonly used method.

How to Cut Thin Metal Precisely. Kevin Caron

Advantages of Plasma Cutting Compared to Gas Cutting:

  • high cutting speed;
  • versatility of application;
  • the ability to cut with high precision and quality;
  • no need for expensive gases;
  • the ability to cut parts of complex shapes;
  • safety and environmental friendliness.
  • high cost and complexity of equipment and its maintenance;
  • impossibility of cutting workpieces with a thickness of more than 80-100 mm;
  • limited angle of deviation of the cut from perpendicularity;
  • increased noise level.

The remaining thermal methods, due to a number of reasons, of which the main one is the high complexity and cost of equipment, have not yet become widespread. We will limit ourselves only to their listing:

  • hydro and water jet cutting;
  • laser and gas laser cutting;
  • electrical erosion method;
  • cryogenic cutting.

Summarizing all of the above, we can conclude: there are a lot of methods and types of equipment for cutting metals. It is possible to choose the most suitable methods correctly only by weighing many factors, primarily financial capabilities.

Cutting is one of the most common operations in the processing of metal workpieces.

But here the question immediately arises: how and with what metal is cut?

Metal can be cut mechanically or thermally.

It is customary to distinguish between two main groups of cutting methods:

  • Mechanical. sawing, scissoring, etc.
  • Thermal, based on the use of a jet of any substance. gas, water, etc.

Mechanical methods

The classification of mechanical cutting methods is usually based on the answer to the question: how to cut metal? Cutting with a hacksaw and scissors for metal

Cutting with scissors: a) cutting the sheet into strips; b) cutting with leaf scissors. Cutting a round shape: c) wrong; d) correct

At home, metal is usually cut with an ordinary hacksaw. This process is quite laborious. It is greatly simplified if a mechanical hacksaw is available.

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Unlike hacksaws, there are many types of metal scissors:

  • Manual shears allow you to cut relatively thin sheet metal. They allow you to do this quickly and accurately, following the cut line correctly. There are several types of hand scissors: finger, power, chair, lever, for curvilinear cutting.
  • Slotted scissors carry out both straight and curved cutting. They allow you to cut metal in confined spaces while maintaining a high quality cut. Powered by an electric motor.
  • Guillotine shears can cut metal with high precision. The main advantages are the absence of defects, high cutting accuracy, the safety of the outer coating of the material being cut.

Hand scissors can cut a relatively thin sheet of metal.

  • Hand scissors. The main disadvantage is that the developed force is not enough for cutting if the metal is very strong.
  • Mechanical scissors. Powered by an electric motor, so the productivity is significantly higher than that of manual guillotines.
  • Hydraulically driven shears. Provide very high precision of work. In addition, they can be equipped with a CNC, which makes it possible to significantly increase their productivity by storing typical parameters of cuts in the memory.

Reciprocating and circular saws, angle grinders

Reciprocating saws are similar in principle to a jigsaw. Outwardly, they look like an electric drill, only instead of a drill. a saw pushed forward with a length of 10 to 35 cm, making a reciprocating motion. Usually the saw is powered from the mains, but battery versions are also available.

Reciprocating saws are used for accurate and fast metal cutting.

For different types of work, different types of saw blades are used. They change easily, like drills in an electric drill. The fastening system is reliable and efficient. Knowing what you have to work with, you can choose the right file. For example, the greater the curvature of the cut, the narrower the canvas should be.

Working with a reciprocating saw requires skill, a steady hand and a good eye.

It is easier to work with circular saws. Their cutting discs are usually made of hard high-alloy alloy or special high-speed steel. Saws are intended for cutting a variety of metal profiles made of a wide variety of metals and alloys, provide a narrow kerf, a small amount of chips.

To choose the right saw, you should pay special attention to the saw blade, in particular to its diameter. The larger it is, the more possibilities the instrument has. Once the cut has been made, additional processing is usually required to remove sharp edges. The disadvantages include rather large dimensions and a rather high cost.

Circular saw can cut copper, aluminum and other non-ferrous metals.

Most consumers don’t even know that the “angle grinder” is an angle grinder. The fact is that this miracle of technology comes from Bulgaria, and our people do not like long names. In most cases, an angle grinder equipped with a steel saw blade perfectly replaces a circular saw for metal, although, as the name suggests, it was originally intended for grinding.

Today, many people use it just as a saw, and not for grinding, although a modern angle grinder can be cut, and cleaned, and polished, etc. over, almost all materials can be cut and grinded. The main thing is that you don’t need to buy various tools. For various materials and works, only different consumables are purchased, and the machine itself only needs one.

Method 4 We cut with an electric jigsaw with a file for metal.

The jigsaw can be used for cutting, including curly, thin (up to one or two millimeters thick) metal sheets, as well as small corners, bars, pipes, etc.

The cutting speed is low, but a fairly high accuracy is achieved. When cutting more or less thick sheets of iron, it is recommended to use a file and lubricate the cut surface itself with grease.

We cut metal with a multifunctional power tool (multitool Renovator, multi-cutter).

A new, widely advertised tool that accepts different attachments, including those used for cutting metal.

One of the promoted names of the tool is the multitool Renovator. True, other manufacturers (including Bosch, Devalt, Makita, etc.) do not use this name. Due to its versatility, it is not worth waiting for serious opportunities for cutting large metals from the renovator. Best used for trimming protruding nails, screws and other cutting of small metals, especially in hard-to-reach places.