How to cut thin sheet metal

Written by michael monet
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With proper protection and a safe workspace, cutting thin sheet metal can be as easy as cutting a piece of paper. Sheet metal shears are made specifically to help with making straight, clean cuts in thin metal sheeting. Protective gloves remove the risk of cutting your hands on the sharp edges near the cuts. The shears, if guided with basic stabilisation, take care of eliminating frayed edges. Simply mark your boundaries with a grease pen and cut.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Work table
  • Clamps
  • Tape measure
  • Grease pen
  • Protective gloves
  • Protective goggles
  • Sheet metal shears
  • File

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  1. 1

    Place your sheet metal on your work table. Measure and mark your cut lines with your tape measure and grease pen.

  2. 2

    Put on your safety gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes. While it is unlikely that metal flakes will fly up with thin sheet metal and sheet metal shears, it's wise to proceed with caution.

  3. 3

    Place your clamp on your work table. Clamp the sheet metal down securely.

  4. 4

    Plug in and turn on your electric sheet metal shears, or place your manual handheld shears at the cut line. Cut slowly across your lines.

  5. 5

    File down the edges where you cut to make them smoother. Place your file at the cut lines and scrape off the perforations in a firm and measured motion.

Tips and warnings

  • Read the instructions that came with your cutting tool before operating it.

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