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Old 10-15-2006, 12:52 AM
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Best Way to Make Clean Cuts on Sheet Metal

I'll make this quick and dirty....whats the best tool to use to cut cold rolled steel and aluminum sheet for body panels? I have a bead roller/shear and it kind of distorts the edge causing warping. My cut off wheel is not accurate enough and will take much to long so I'm thinking air shear or nibbler or? I want an edge I can dress and call finished. I'm looking to make some inner fender wells etc.

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Old 10-15-2006, 08:09 AM
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I bought an electric shear like this


If you do alot of sheetmetal work it is worth having one of these.

I can cut right to a scribed line and it makes minimal or no distortion, although I prefer to cut it a little fat then trim it with some hand shears.

It does cut 1/4 wide strip out of your metal, so you can't really use it to trim stuff under 3/8" oversize.

I had an air version of those shears and didn't like them as much. (they were cheap ones though).

I also have an air nibbler , but it is not very accurate in a straight line.
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:59 PM
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I had not considered a hand shear as part of the program. That might make sense for final precision fitting. Up to what thickness can you hand shear? I do like to use aluminum sheet running eihter around .045 or for stronger brackets .064 besides the basic 18 gauge rolled steel. Does anyone have an air shear they like? I'd like to stay air since I've got that all plumed throughout my shop.
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Old 10-27-2006, 09:47 PM
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i use a jig saw to cut ....zero distortion
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Old 10-28-2006, 09:43 AM
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A friend who is a professional metal shaper will use electric shears for the fat cuts and hand shears for the finish work to a scribed line on 19 gauge steel.
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Old 10-28-2006, 01:05 PM
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So it looks like I need to find a good strong pair of hand sheers along with an air sheer for the longer cuts. For tight circles I can see the jig saw's appeal. I used to use them to cut out speaker holes in package trays and doors etc. It seems like they were always getting hung up on something and yanking the crap out of the metal....maybe being 19 years old didn't help!
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