How to cut stainless steel with a jigsaw

Written by c.l. rease
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Stainless steel builds up heat quickly when you are cutting. The cut can produce enough heat to melt the teeth from the edge of a jigsaw blade. To reduce the heat build-up, you need to use the proper jigsaw blade with minimal pressure and set your jigsaw to a slow cutting speed. When all the elements are set properly, you will easily cut through the stainless steel and not waste many jigsaw blades in the process.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Worktable
  • Tape measure
  • Permanent marker
  • Straightedge
  • Two pairs of self-locking C-clamps
  • Safety glasses
  • Leather gloves
  • 18 teeth-per-inch jigsaw blades
  • Cutting and tapping fluid
  • Face shield
  • 60-grit flapper wheel
  • 4-inch angle grinder
  • Clean, dry rags

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  1. 1

    Lay the stainless steel flat on the worktable.

  2. 2

    Measure the length that you need to cut the stainless steel with the tape measure. Mark the length on the stainless steel with the permanent marker.

  3. 3

    Repeat the process to place a second mark on the stainless steel.

  4. 4

    Connect the two marks by aligning the straightedge with both marks and dragging the permanent marker along the side of the straightedge.

  5. 5

    Slide the cut line marked on the stainless steel off the end of the worktable and secure the piece of stainless steel to the worktable with the two pair of self-locking C-clamps.

  6. 6

    Put on your safety glasses and leather gloves.

  7. 7

    Insert an 18 teeth-per-inch jigsaw blade into the jigsaw and set the jigsaw to cut at the slow speed.

  8. 8

    Coat the jigsaw blade with cutting and tapping fluid and align the jigsaw blade with the permanent marker cut line on the surface of the stainless steel.

  9. 9

    Pull the trigger of the jigsaw to begin cutting the stainless steel. Do not apply excessive pressure forward on the jigsaw--this will cause heat to build up at the front of the jigsaw blade.

  10. 10

    Apply cutting and tapping fluid to the front edge of the jigsaw blade often to keep the jigsaw blade cool.

  11. 11

    Continue cutting along the cut line while applying cutting and tapping fluid until you have cut through the stainless steel sheet.

  12. 12

    Put on your face shield.

  13. 13

    Attach the 60-grit flapper wheel to the 4-inch angle grinder.

  14. 14

    Lower your face shield, pull the trigger of the angle grinder and run the spinning flapper wheel along the top and bottom edge of the jigsaw cut to remove the sharp burr left from the cutting process.

  15. 15

    Wipe the surface of the stainless steel with a clean, dry rag to remove excess cutting and tapping fluid form the cut area.

  16. 16

    Release the self-locking C-clamps form the worktable to free the jigsaw cut piece of stainless steel.

Tips and warnings

  • Check the cutting teeth of the jigsaw blade if you notice an orange glow emitting from the front end of the jigsaw--this often signifies that the blade is becoming dull.

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