Stainless steel sheets are corrosion-resistant and highly pliable metal that are widely used in many industries today. Its versatility makes it easy to use, and its durability is appropriate for a variety of purposes including auto, medical, and architectural among others. Stainless steel sheets may be designed and cut according to the desired shape or project. One of the easiest ways to do this is by hand cutting.
The most important thing that needs to be known before tackling any hand cutting steel is the sheet thickness. Different projects call for different steel depths and even different materials and technique as well. Stainless steel sheet thickness is also called gauge. Two measures employed in the US include the AWR, or the American Wire Gauge, and SWG, or the Imperial Standard Wire Gauge primarily used in British measurements. The smaller the gauge number is, the thicker the steel.
Materials that are typically needed when hand-cutting stainless steel includes some typical safety cover ups such as safety glasses, face shields, and gloves. For making patterns and marking shapes on the stainless steel itself, a poster board and indelible markers are necessary. A sawhorse and plywood may also be needed to hold the stainless steel sheet up and flat while cutting. As far as cutting tools are concerned, there are a variety that can be used depending on the project at hand and the gauge of the steel. Circular saws and jigsaws may be used for simple straight cutting. For more complex projects, a bench shear may be needed to accomplish the desired look on the metal. Straight shears may be used to cut straight lines and outer curvatures. Throatless shears, on the other hand, can also cut interior curves and more intricate shapes in addition to what straight shears can do.
Once the proper materials have been gathered and the correct sheet gauge has been purchased, the design must be appropriated. Sketching the desired design on a poster board and cutting it before applying the shape onto the sheet metal will help in ensuring correct shapes and straight lines. When ready to transfer the design onto the steel sheet, use an indelible marker to permanently mark the design. Make sure that safety is taken into consideration and wear the proper attire to protect the hands and eyes. Read all machineries’ operations manual and know how to operate them. When ready to hand cut the stainless steel sheet using the appropriate tool, make sure that the sheet stays flat and that the designs are precisely marked and visible. Use a straight edge to align the sheet properly and adjust any machines accordingly so as not to cut any tables underneath. Finally, cut through the sheet in a slow and even motion to ensure that the cuts are clean. De-burring the edges may be required in some instances to make sure that the cut steel is safe to handle after hand cutting.
Other techniques that may be used in hand-cutting stainless steel sheet includes friction sawing at high speeds and even using bare tin snips. Tin snips may be used for smaller projects that only require higher gauge steel sheets. Friction sawing, on the other hand, may be used when other cutting tools are not available.Read More