Tips For Cutting Sheet Metal

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If you are working with sheet metal, you will need to learn the right procedures for cutting it. Sheet metal cutting or fabrication could be anything from trimming sheet metal that will be used for home improvement projects, to being a hobbyist and needing to cut holes in the metal. Here are some tips for cutting your sheet metal.

Hand and Power Tools Can Be Used

The first thing to keep in mind about cutting sheet metal is that you are not always subjected to using just one type of tool. The type of project you are doing and the thickness of your metal will determine what tool will be used, but if you are not comfortable with power tools, there are plenty of hand tools available to you. Hand tools include everything from hand-powered nibblers and snipping tools to hacksaws and hole punchers. Handheld nibblers are commonly used for a power tool when cutting sheet metal, though there are also angle grinders and various other power tools.

Mark Your Cuts Beforehand

This is something many newcomers to metal cutting will fail to do, and it really is an important step. Just guessing where the holes or cuts need to be made often results in mistakes and wasted metal, so be sure to take an extra couple minutes to mark exactly where your cuts need to be. When you are making a cut for a hole in the sheet metal, the best thing to do is to use a marker for making a dot where you want each hole, then using a circle template or compass to outline the outside to the right size for the hole. That way, it is rounded perfectly and in the right location.

Always Secure the Metal Sheet to the Work Surface

Another tip that can really help, especially when you don't have a lot of experience with sheet metal fabrication, is to secure the metal to your work surface. You may think you can hold the metal in one hand and use the other hand with the tool, but this creates a lot of problem. First of all, it is dangerous if you are using a saw or power drill if your hand is on top of the metal. Another problem is that your hand might get shaky. Use a clamp that holds the metal down on your work surface while doing the cutting.

These tips will help get you started with sheet metal cutting. Make sure you practice safety precautions when using any type of metal cutting tool.