If there’s one stumbling block to DIY projects or home renovation, it’s trying to cut metal. Maybe you wanted to cut out specific shapes from sheet metal or slice through a rusty pipe. So you take out your trusty hacksaw thinking that it’ll be just like any other job. After two or three gashes on your hands, you’re at your wit’s end looking for easier ways on how to cut steel. Of course, you could always hire a professional, but as a true DIYer, that thought is taboo and should only be used as a last resort. The good news is that you can cut through different metals by yourself but you’re going to need the right tools.
Are you ready to make your DIY life easier? Keep reading to learn about the different methods of cutting metal.
Hand Tools Can Still Get the Job Done
You can still use your hacksaw or tin snips but you have to consider the type and thickness of the metal you’re going to cut. Obviously, you shouldn’t attempt to cut through thick rebar with hand tools, but for thin-gauged, soft metals like aluminum, they’re alright. It’s going to be a sweaty undertaking but they can still do the trick.
How to Cut Steel in Tight Spots With an Oscillating Tool
If you need to reach a pipe behind a toilet or a nail in a small space, the oscillating tool is the best solution. It’s light and can fit in places where other tools are too bulky to squeeze in. Attach a metal-cutting blade and you’re good to go.
Circular Saws Aren’t Just for Woodcutting
As a DIY guy, you may already have a circular saw in your workshop. If you’re wondering if you can use it to cut metal, the answer is yes you can! Fitted with the right blade, you can cut steel up to 3/8 inches thick. Metal-cutting blades generally come in two types: steel-tooth abrasive blades and carbide-tipped blades. Carbide tipped saws last twenty times longer and are less messy than abrasive saws, but are also more expensive.
Melt Through Steel Like Butter With Torches
Another shop standard is your old oxy-acetylene torch. You’ve probably used it before to cut through rusted bolts but you can also use it to cut through thicker steel plates. Torch cutting operates on the principle of thermal cutting, using extreme temperatures to melt through the metal. Plasma and laser cutters also employ heat for metal cutting. While they’re more expensive options than oxy-fuel cutting, you can achieve a higher degree of precision.
Avoid Heat-Affected Zones With Water Jet Cutting
Heat is an unfortunate by-product of cutting metal, especially if you’re using torch-cutting methods. The friction generated by high-spinning blades can also produce a significant amount of heat. Thermal stress produces heat-affected zones (HAZ). These are areas of the material that are warped, hardened, or made brittle because of the heat. With water jet cutting, you can get very precise cuts without HAZs. Water jet cutters, such as the CNC water jet, are versatile equipment capable of cutting almost every type of material into any shape or size.
Which Method Makes the Cut?
Metal is a hard material to conquer for a DIY practitioner. However, with the right tools, you can master how to cut steel like a pro. Follow this guide to know which tool is perfect for a particular job. For more DIY tips, feel free to browse this site.