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June 2012

How To Best Cut Thin Sheet Metal

As long as you take the proper safety precautions and have prepared the correct tools, cutting a thin piece of sheet metal can be as simple as cutting a piece of paper. Special shears have been specifically designed to create straight, clean cuts in even the thinnest metal sheeting. They will also help to eliminate the frayed edges that are a common occurrence amongst other cutting methods. In order to cut your metal properly, follow these directions:

Step 1: Place the sheet metal you wish to cut on a stable workbench. Using a tape measure and a grease pen, mark out the lines where you wish to make your cuts.

Step 2: Put on a pair of thick work gloves to protect your hands against cuts and a pair of safety goggles or glasses to protect your eyes. Whilst it is unlikely that tiny shards of debris will be flung up, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Step 3: Firmly clamp down your sheet metal to the workbench. You may need a few clamps in order to effectively achieve this.

Step 4: If using electric shears, you will need to plug them in and turn them on, but if you’re using manual ones you can simply place the blades at the beginning of your first cut line. Begin slowly cutting your pre-marked lines.

Step 5: Once you have cut the sheet metal into your desired shape, file down any of the edges that you wish to be smoother. You can achieve this by placing the file at the cut line and scraping off the imperfections using a firm but measured motion.

Your thin sheet metal is now ready to be used for whatever application you had in mind. If this is your first time cutting sheet metal, it is best that you find a few old scraps to practice on, as it can take some getting used to (especially if you are using a tool that you are unfamiliar with).