Whether it is a DIY project, trying to learn a new skill, or trying to save money rather than hiring a tradesman, there are many reasons why someone may want to try cut metal at home. But how can you cut metal in the safest and easiest way? We answer your common questions that we get asked every week.
What type of metal are you cutting?
The tools required to cut metal at home and the safety precautions all depend on the type of metal you are using. The most common metals you will probably find yourself needing to cut at home are iron, steel, aluminum, brass, and copper.
There are two types of metals, nonferrous and ferrous metals. Ferrous metals are usually harder to cut than nonferrous metals. Steel is a ferrous metal whereas aluminum, brass, and copper are all nonferrous metals. Therefore, steel is harder to cut than aluminum, brass, and copper.
Safety whilst cutting metal
Safety is paramount when cutting metal at home. Metal can often have rough, jagged edges therefore when handling the metal, if you are a beginner, it is necessary to wear gloves. As you become more advanced you may wish to work bare-handed as you can get a better feel for metalcraft when not wearing gloves.
To help protect yourself from metal filings and sparks eye protection should be worn at all times. The piece of metal that you are cutting should be clamped so it is stable, and no slipping can occur whilst you are cutting. The most important safety precaution is not to rush, taking your time will ensure a cleaner cut and reduce the risk of an accident or injury occurring.
Common Metal cutting Tools
Metal can come in lots of different shapes and sizes, whether it be a pipe or sheet metal. These different types will both cut differently depending on the tool that is used. Therefore, it is important to make sure you are using the right tools for your project.
Many DIY lovers often use power tools when cutting metal, however, it is important to note that not everybody has access to these. Popular cheap and easy metal cutting methods include chisels, handsaws, and shears.
A common way to cut metal at home is with a saw blade, this can be carried out with a hacksaw. You can get different types of hacksaws, with a variety of saw blades. Certain types of metals need different blades as some metals are harder than others. For example, the harder the metal the tougher the teeth on the blade have to be to cut through it.
So, a ferrous metal like steel would require a hacksaw with strong carbide teeth on its blade compared a nonferrous metal like aluminum. However, because a hacksaw is a type of handsaw it takes more manual labor than using a power tool, therefore it is also more time-consuming.
Commonly used power tools include angle grinders, chop saws, and power saws. They are an appealing option when cutting metal at home due to ease of use and speed. They are often corded, or battery powered. An angle grinder has a variety of different functions, you can go from stripping rust to cutting metal by simply changing the disk.
There are a variety of different types of disks that can be used for cutting metal – metal cutting discs, grinding discs, multi-cut cutting discs, and many more. It is important that you read about each type of disc before choosing the most suitable one for your project.
Most hardware stores will sell a few different types of discs, so if you are unsure you can always ask an employee for some help. You will be able to find most of these tools at a hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot.
In conclusion, power tools are the most common when it comes to metal cutting at home. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t cut metal at home if you don’t have access to these tools. You can use the other tools mentioned in this article. However, it may be more time consuming and you may not get as good as a result as if you were using a power tool.
Just remember, if you are still unsure about cutting metal yourself at home, it is better to hire a local tradesperson to help you than not be confident in what you are doing!