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tools for cutting sheet metal
#1416723 Mon Jul 12 2021 03:38 PM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 288
M
'Bolter
So far on my project truck I have done all of the sheet metal cutting with cutoff wheels in a grinder. This seems OK for most things, but not always. I'm curious to know what alternatives you guys use. I realize that a plasma cutter is probably the ultimate tool for this, but I kinda doubt that I'll be laying out the money for one because I dont really plan to do any more of this type of work after this truck. I do have a bench top shear, but I find that it is only good for 22 gauge or lighter, and of course only for straight cuts.

Re: tools for cutting sheet metal
Mike Burns #1416732 Mon Jul 12 2021 05:53 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,304
"Hey! I sound like Darth Vader!!
I haven't used a plasma in some time now. My go to seems to be the bandsaw whenever possible!

Re: tools for cutting sheet metal
Mike Burns #1416773 Mon Jul 12 2021 11:38 PM
Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 122
C
'Bolter
I have found an air operated reciprocating body saw, or saber saw, to be very helpful with cutting irregular shapes and smaller circles that cutoff wheels cannot make. Just buy a lot of extra blades as they wear out much quicker than cutoff wheels.


Charlie

'51 3100 5-Window (Restomod in progress)
Re: tools for cutting sheet metal
Mike Burns #1416923 Wed Jul 14 2021 04:32 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 4,183
Housekeeping (Moderator) Making a Stovebolt Bed & Paint and Body Shop Forums
Mike

I have a sheet metal nibbler that attaches to a drill motor. I recall it cost me $25 on Amazon. I also have a sheet metal saw from HF like Charlie suggested above.

The nibbler is great for cutting irregular curves. Here's a picture of it. [flickr.com] I also used it to do the cutout for this patch [flickr.com] in my fender.

But when using it you have to watch out for the sharp little crescents of metal it leaves behind. The Missus won't want you tearing up her floors when they stick in your shoes. nono

I bought a plasma cutter also (one of the cheapo ones supposedly rated for 1/2 inch steel thickness), but rarely use it because you need to setup the plasma cutter, connect the compressor up, etc. etc.


Kevin
First car '29 Ford Special Coupe
#2 - '29 Ford pickup restored from the ground up.
Newest Project - 51 Chevy 3100 work truck. Photos [flickr.com]
Busting rust since the mid-60's
Re: tools for cutting sheet metal
Mike Burns #1416947 Wed Jul 14 2021 03:34 PM
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 110
N
'Bolter
I have some air shears (like air powered tinsnips - pistol grip) good to 18 gauge that are an absolute blessing for cutting (clean) sheetmetal. Last forever with care (unless you try and cut rusty sheetmetal). You can do wide radiuses fine. They also produce a nice consistent curl of sheetmetal about 1/4" wide that comes in handy frequently for little gaps and such.

Also have some air nibblers that as klhansen says above, work fantastic for tight/odd/sharp angles - but I second that "watch for the little crescents". They get everywhere and somehow find their way into the house. I worry about the shop cats too, I use those over a bag/container where possible and keep a magnet handy. Even at that, some escape.

Last edited by NorthCoast3800; Wed Jul 14 2021 03:37 PM.

1949 Chevrolet 3/4 Ton - Still Solid.
Re: tools for cutting sheet metal
Mike Burns #1417329 Sun Jul 18 2021 03:49 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 47
K
'Bolter
The cutoff cutting wheel is my go to. The plasma cutter is nice but you have to be careful with what may be underneath the piece you are cutting. It is not forgiving.

Re: tools for cutting sheet metal
Mike Burns #1417359 Sun Jul 18 2021 10:25 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 2,476
J
'Bolter
I usually use a saber saw and a metal cutting blade for sheet metal. Cheaper, quick enough and plenty accurate enough if you have a steady hand.


Jon

1952 1/2 ton with 1959 235
T5 with 3.07 rear end
Re: tools for cutting sheet metal
Mike Burns #1417366 Sun Jul 18 2021 11:12 PM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 1,311
G
Insomniac
+1 on the saber saw. Wear ear defenders!


Gord
----
1954 1/2 ton 235 4 speed
Re: tools for cutting sheet metal
Mike Burns #1417456 Tue Jul 20 2021 11:18 AM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 716
M
'Bolter

Re: tools for cutting sheet metal
Mike Burns #1417460 Tue Jul 20 2021 11:47 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 2,087
P
AD Addict
WOW! 50 years of using tin snips and I thought I knew how to use them. I learn something new everyday! Great video and thanks Robert for sharing!
dang

Last edited by Phak1; Tue Jul 20 2021 11:48 AM.

Phil

1952 Chevrolet 3100
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