Sheet metal comes in different sizes. Generally, not all sheet metal is cut to size. Therefore, depending on your unique application needs, you may need to cut your sheet metal to fit the size you need. Metal sheets typically come in many options, and aluminium sheets are the standard options you will find. They are lightweight, corrosion-resistant and versatile with high thermal conductivity, among other desirable properties. However, like other sheet metals, cutting aluminium can be challenging, especially if you are doing it for the first time. Therefore, here are some quick guidelines to help you get it right and avoid material waste and poor-quality cuts.
Use The Right Tools
The first step to cutting your aluminium metal sheets the right way is investing in the correct cutting tool or machine. Depending on the size or thickness of your aluminium sheets, you can use a wide range of tools. Typically, aluminium cutting tools can be categorised as hand tools, bench tools, and power tools. Hand tools tend to be the most economical and are ideal if you are on a tight budget. On the downside, they tend to offer low accuracy, flexibility and efficiency and a poor finish. Such tools include snips, chisels and hammers, hand shears, hacksaws etc.
On the other hand, if you are looking for increased speed, accuracy and flexibility, go for bench tools like stationary nibblers, bench-mounted shears, and band saws. However, it's worth noting that you will spend more on these tools. You may also opt for power tools like electric jigsaws, angle grinders and power shears for even higher speed and flexibility.
Other tools like laser cutting machines are automated, ideal for the highest cutting quality, speeds, and accuracy. Therefore, do some research and choose a tool that fits your budget and needs.
Be Careful On Your Choice Of Blades
Most aluminium cutting tools have blades. And your choice can make all the difference in the quality of cuts. Generally, the rule of the thumb is to look at the tooth count when selecting blades. It would also help to consider the thickness of your aluminium sheets. Blades with more teeth tend to work best on thinner materials and vice versa.
Remember To Lubricate
Lubricants are also essential when cutting aluminium. Lubricating your cutting surface prevents slippage and sparks. In addition, lubrication can help reduce the chances of the blades getting stuck in your aluminium sheet, affecting the cut quality.
Clamp It Down
Clamping down your aluminium sheet when cutting is also critical. Doing this promotes stability and safety. A standard C-clamp should do the trick, but you can ask for other appropriate tools.
Contact an aluminium cutting service to learn more.