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A Guide to Sheet Metal Cutting

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If you have recently started working in the sheet metal manufacturing business, it is important that you understand the correct tools and techniques needed to complete the job. These tools and techniques may vary depending on the type of metal and the size of the sheet you wish to cut. Below is a guide which will help you to cut sheet metal successfully.

Use the correct tools

The type of cut or hole you wish to make and the thickness and type of the metal will dictate the type of tool you should use. For thinner sheets of metal, or if you wish to make intricate cuts, you should use a handheld power saw or angle grinder. However, for thicker sheets, or if you need to cut the sheet in a perfectly straight line, you should use a machine. If you attempt to cut a thick sheet of metal using a hand tool, it will take a very long time and could result in a poor quality cut. 

Mark the line of the cuts

Marking the cut is a step which can be overlooked if you are in a rush to cut sheet metal. However, failing to mark the line of your cuts can seriously impact the quality of your work. You should use a marker pen to draw the line you wish to cut onto the surface of the metal sheet. This mark will act as a visual guide if you are cutting by hand using a power saw.

If you are carrying out a machine cut, you should first lightly run a power saw over the line you wish to cut. Doing so will create a groove in which the blade of the machine can sit, helping to guide it as you move the sheet metal through the cutting machine.

If you are planning to drill the sheet metal, you should use a compass to outline the area in which you wish to drill, to ensure it is in the correct location and the right size

Secure the sheet metal 

Finally, before starting the cut, you should ensure that the sheet metal is properly attached to your work surface. Power saws and cutting machines create a great deal of kinetic energy during the cutting process, which is transferred to the sheet of metal. If the sheet metal is not properly secured, it could suddenly be thrown up from the work surface and injure you. You should use a clamp to hold the metal securely in place.