Aluminum is an important engineering material used in a vast range of industrial applications, it’s a relatively soft metal, which makes it can be cut with different tools. How to cut aluminum sheet metal with the easiest way? What’s the best tool for cutting aluminum? Follow us to learn about the best way to cut aluminum sheet and common tools to do it.
To cut aluminum sheet metal fast and easily, there is a unique way of using an Olfa knife and a bending brake. This method can reduce the number of strokes effectively and make very accurate long cuts only with a knife and bending brake. It’s suitable for a small amount of aluminum cutting and hobbyists who want to cut aluminum sheets at home. How to do quick and precise aluminum cuts?
1. Clamp the aluminum sheet in the bending brake
2. Measure the aluminum sheet, make it leave the same width outside
3. Take the Olfa knife and draw it down with a nice straight line along your clamping edge
4. Repeat the operation, make sure all cuts stay in the same path, go a little slower, it tends to follow the first path well
5. When you approach where it went off the track, be careful a little bit
6. Generally, you need to take four strokes of the knife, if you get thicker material, you need to do additional cuts.
7. Remove debris, especially notice the brake clamping position
8. Then you just need to push the aluminum back down along the crack with your hand, the aluminum will break in one second
To simply cutting the aluminum, there is a wide range of tools can be selected. CNC Aluminum machining is a computer-controlled cutting process for aluminum material in different forms, whether it’s sheet, place or bar.
The biggest advantage of hand tools is the price, they usually cost less than bench tools and advanced systems, but cutting aluminum sheet with hand tools means lower efficiency, lower flexibility and accuracy, the aluminum will also get the poor finish.
– Snips: also known as aviation snips, highly leveraged and rugged scissors. When you cutting the aluminum sheet with snips, it is recommended that you keep the top blade fixed to the metal and pull the bottom blade up into the top blade, last, file and clean up the edges left by a snip. Please note aluminum sheet above 18 gauge is not suitable for this tool. Conversion for aluminum thickness please check out our metal gauge chart.
– Chisel and Hammer: use a softer material as the support. Align the edge of the chisel along the line you want to cut, and then hit the chisel with a hammer.
– Hacksaw: most effective for cutting small lengths of sheet aluminum, it also can be used to cut pipe and bar, in a limited throat depth.
– Hand Shear: with a round cutting blade and snip, a great option for tighter corners and leave a good edge, although it still needs to be cleaned.
The bench tools are massively more expensive than hand tools, also without automation, using bench tools to cut aluminum sheet can get higher flexibility, speed and accuracy than hand tools, but the surface finish is still poor.
– Beverly Throatless Shears: cutting the edges at proper intervals from the backplane, you can achieve a good round edge, which may not require additional cleaning.
– Band Saw: usually carbide-tipped or even standard steel blade, place a piece of particleboard or plywood under the metal sheet, or using waxes and cutting oils, to help keep the metal cool and make the aluminum to be cut smoothly.
– Bench Mounted Shears: can cut through relatively thick sheets of aluminum, suitable for amateurs and sheet metal shop for customization or repair work, very durable with good maintenance.
– Stationary Nibbler: can cut any profile within its throat
The cost of power tools is moderate. They have higher flexibility and speed than bench tools. Low accuracy, no automation as well.
– Angle Grinders: aluminum can absorb the heat energy fast and easy to melt, be careful when cutting aluminum sheet with grinders.
– Power Shears: easy to cut aluminum, do not generate any heat near the grinder, the drawback of power shear is sheet vibration and edge quality.
– Electric Jigsaw: easily cut through thick sheets and aluminum plates with the right tool and bit come with the jigsaw.