Cutting metals can be challenging, especially if you have no experience and appropriate tools. For this purpose, you probably need a heavy-duty cutting tool to ensure accurately sliced parts. If you’re not yet used to it, you may also need some training in handling the tool.
If cutting metals is one of your impending tasks, a handful of tips and tricks could help you carry out the job correctly. These will give you basic ideas on how to cut metals well and improve your cutting capability. Here’s an article to guide you to make things easier for you:
1. Choose And Use The Appropriate Tool
Selecting the most suitable tool is the first step in cutting metals properly. In choosing a tool, you may consider the thickness, hardness, and length of the metals you’d cut. You may refer to manuals and other readings you could find online for this purpose. You could also ask professional metal workers for more ideas.
The following are some of the widely used cutting tools:
- Band Saw
This is one of the most preferred as it’s ideal in vertical and horizontal cutting. In addition, it could produce precise and uniform metal cuts and a professional finish. This power tool comes in various blade sizes, making it suitable for cutting metals regardless of thickness and length.
On the other hand, this power tool isn’t suitable for thin metals. The rule of thumb is to cut metals thicker than the three bandsaw blades. In choosing a band saw, look for the one with properly aligned guides, a sturdy frame, and adequate resaw capacity. You may also look for high-speed steel teeth and top-quality rollers, as these makes cutting more manageable.
- Angle Grinder
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use handheld cutting tool, this one could be what you’re looking for. It usually has a high horsepower rating and is ideal for thick metals. It can also be a useful tool for grinding and polishing metals. Although, they’re not ideal in small workspaces as the metalworker needs more room to work on the angles and tool rotation.
- Electric Metal Shears
These tools are known for cutting very thick metals. Some of them can even slice through 14-to-20-gauge metals. These shears are also cheaper than most cutting tools. However, these often create burrs and deformed ends when cutting tough metals, such as tungsten.
- Oxy-Fuel Cutting Torch
Another low-cost option in cutting metals is the oxy-fuel cutting torch. It generally has no electrical requirements and can be operated manually or mechanically. However, they aren’t suitable for aluminum and stainless steel. Also, the quality of its outputs depends on the torch nozzle capacity and the metal’s surface condition.
After choosing the tools, you may also consider selecting the appropriate blade types if you’d use grinders and saws. Pick the ones that are long-lasting and versatile enough to cut metals. Lastly, choose the cost-effective option but still has the capability to perform toe to toe with the best performing power tools.
2. Cut The Metal In The Right Pace
After measuring the metal, you need to cut it as quickly as possible to avoid burrs and inaccurate cuts. The longer your cutting takes, the more it’s prone to imprecision. For better results, you may use tools with a built-in guide to hold the metals firmly so you can focus more on the cutting.
However, if you’re cutting very thick and hard metals, you may need to slice the metal slowly. The hardness may redirect your slicing, which might result in chips and burrs. If it’s your first time, it would be best to start practicing with scrap metals so you can be confident in cutting different metals.
3. Wear Appropriate Clothing
To ensure safety when cutting metals, you need to wear appropriate work clothes, including goggles, ear muffs, and thick gloves. This way, you will prevent eye damage, burns, and electrical shock. In addition, you need to wear heavy-duty and electric shock-proof footwear to prevent punctures and cuts.
If the cutting process produces fumes that may pose health risks, you may need to wear masks, such as half face respirators. If the fumes are too much to handle, you may need industrial helmets to ensure safety.
4. Choose The Best Position For Cutting
Whether you’re using a bandsaw, grinder, or torch, you may need to position yourself where you can exert the necessary control and force of the tool or metal. In many cases, you should slightly spread your feet so you can stand firmly and won’t easily fall out of balance. You may also need to choose a space where you could freely move to avoid having awkward positions when cutting.
5. Ensure Safety When Working
Apart from protective clothing, it’d help if you make your workspace extra safer. You may need to clasp your cutting machines when using freestanding or benchtop saws and the like. If you’re using handheld cutting tools, make sure to place the cord in place where you can’t trip and fall.
You may also conduct a safety check before starting your cutting tasks. Additionally, you should inspect the cords and avoid using faulty tools and machines, which could only do harm than good in the process. Also, never check the sharpness and rough edges of metals using your bare hands.
After finishing your work, you should clean your workspace to remove any protruding or sharp metals. Moreover, you could also repeat safety-checking your tools to see if there are exposed wires or broken blades.
Power tools are the go-to options when drilling, turning, and cutting tools. Their variety enables workers to use what’s deemed appropriate to the surface and material they’d cut. For better results, you may consider the tool’s cost-effectiveness, versatility, ease of use, and maintenance.
If you’re planning to do metal works anytime soon, you may need to prepare setting up your workspace and be ready for the tasks. For that purpose, this article could provide you insights on how to choose your tools, plus the safety precautions needed before engaging in the process. For more ideas about efficient metal cutting ideas, you could join communities that share information and best practices about metal cutting.