Have you ever wondered how people cut metal with such smooth edges when the metal is quite hard? If you are a regular DIY enthusiast, you must have had to cut metal at one time or another. For many people, cutting metal is one of the most complicated tasks they ever have to do.
Getting a smooth straight edge is often tricky, especially when using the wrong tools. Lucky for you, this article is here to help. Here are five easy ways to cut metal efficiently.
- Metal Cutting Saw
When starting a DIY job involving metal, ensure you have a good metal cutting saw. There are a variety of metal cutting saws available in the market with varying degrees of efficiency. The efficiency of how you will cut the metal will depend on what type of blade your saw has. Since the blade is the part of the saw that does the most work, the harder and more robust the blade, the smoother and straighter the cut. A titanium blade is one of the highly recommended materials for use in a metal cutting saw.
Titanium is not only as strong as steel; it is also lightweight and durable. Further, titanium is less susceptible to corrosion and oxidation than steel. Therefore, having a titanium blade on your metal cutting saw will guarantee the longevity of the saw and will also make your work easier in the long term.
2. Handheld Metal Cutting Tools
When handling DIY tasks, you can also use other handheld tools for cutting metals, such as metal snips. Metal snips are ideal for cutting through simple thin metals such as sheets and pipes. While they are not known for smooth edges, metal snips make the task easy and faster, which is necessary for DIY tasks. Metal snips look like a regular pair of scissors with the advantage of being extra hard and sharp. Since the snips are valuable tools, consider adding a metal snip to the tools you use regularly.
3. Plasma Cutters For Metals
If you want to cut harder metals on a larger scale or want to cut metal for commercial purposes, then you will be better placed in using a plasma cutter. In simple terms, a plasma cutter cuts through metal by passing an electric arc through the air coming from the cutter, thus creating a flame that can pass through the metal.
The main advantage of plasma cutters is that they can cut complex shapes and edges through metal with a high accuracy rate. Further, the cuts can be as slim or thick as you want them to be, depending on how you adjust the orifice on the cutter’s tip. Lastly, the cuts are quite fast and smooth since you can cut about 500 inches of metal in a minute.
The disadvantage of using plasma cutters is the high degree of accuracy and specialization required when using one. Without these skills, one can hurt themselves. Secondly, plasma cutters are not good when cutting very thick metals. While they can make thick cuts, they can only go through relatively thin metals. If you are working with thick bars, you may have to use the other techniques listed below.
4. Water Jet Cutters
Technically, a water jet cutter is not precisely a cutting machine. It creates cuts through a corrosive process over the metal. The water inside the cutter is mixed with a corrosive substance that can attack the metal. When using a water jet cutter, you need to focus the nozzle on the edge of the metal you are working with. The water then passes through the nozzle under high pressure and corrodes the metal, thus creating a cut. Water jet cutters can cut through different kinds of metals with varying degrees of thickness.
However, you will notice that you will take more time when using a water jet cutter to cut through thicker metals. This can reduce your productivity and output. Additionally, the water jet cutters have lower accuracy, especially when cutting through thicker metals. Nonetheless, they still have very many redeeming qualities, as illustrated above.
5. Laser Cutters
Laser cutters will be the best choice if accuracy is a big deal. Laser cutters are high-powered devices that direct a powerful beam onto the metal. The lasers are often controlled by software to create a specifically shaped cut with high degrees of accuracy. Rather than using a blade, laser cutters use a beam of light that cuts through metal via heat action. The thin laser beam passes through the metal by heating and melting the surface. The optical laser beam penetrates the material and creates a cut as the software guides its motion.
The main disadvantages of laser cutters are the costs of getting one, their rates of energy consumption, and the harmful gases or fumes that may arise from their use.
Whether you work in commercial settings or occasionally enjoy doing a DIY job, you must cut metal at one point. The kind of tool you use for the task will depend on whether you are handling a large-scale or small-scale task and the thickness of the metal. A handheld cutting tool such as a metal snip or a metal cutting saw with a titanium edge will do simple tasks. However, if the task is more technical, you may have to use a plasma, water jet, or laser cutter.