Sheet metal workers are involved in the manufacturing, building and repairing process of products constructed with sheet metal. Sheet metal is used in duct work, commercial building exteriors, canopies, carports, gutter systems, furnaces and even in some contemporary furniture and decorative items. Sheet metal workers may be required to shape, bend, cut, weld or connect sheets of metal to perform their work. A variety of tools are needed to complete these tasks and many tools are available to make their jobs easier.
Sheet metal workers may be required to use a welder to join two pieces of metal. When properly welded, the connection is difficult to break. Three main types of welders are used: arc welders, sometimes called a stick welder, wire feed welders and oxyacetylene welders. Safety gear is necessary when welding, including a safety helmet with an eye shield, protective clothing and gloves.
Shears are used to cut sheets of metal. Shears can be large electric equipment designed to cut large sheets of metal or hand tools used to make cuts on smaller pieces or on the job site. Large sheet metal shears stay in the workshop and can be operated by hand or a foot pedal. These machines are usually controlled by hydraulics. Hand shears are portable scissor-like tools, electric cutters or small cordless battery operated saws useful in repairs and final modifications.
A hammer is a staple tool of in nearly every construction occupation. The hammer is a useful and versatile tool that sheet metal workers often use to shape metal, remove rivets and fasteners and add pattern or texture to metal. The types of hammers most often used in sheet metal work are the soft-face, riveting and the rubber mallet.
A rivet gun is used to attach rivets to connect pieces of sheet metal. Rivets can also be used to securely fasten other types of material but are most often used in sheet metal work.
Hand Notchers and Snips
Hand notchers and snips are similar to shears in that they are used to cut sheet metal. However, notchers and snips are used to make small, precise cuts in metal that are a specific shape. Notchers and snips are manual hand tools, not electric or battery-operated devices.
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