How to cut metal

Date: 03/04/2024

How to cut metal: From hand tools to laser precision

Cutting metal lies at the heart of countless industries, from construction and engineering to fabrication and art.

But navigating the world of metal cutting methods can be daunting.

Here we’ll explore various approaches, and explain how precision laser cutting has become the pre-eminent method.


Understanding your options: a spectrum of tools

The “how” of cutting sheet metal depends on a number of factors:

  • Metal type: Ferrous or non-ferrous, thickness, and material properties significantly impact the cutting process.
  • Desired cut: Straight lines, intricate shapes or clean piercing require different metal cutting tools and techniques.
  • Project scope: Are you tackling a one-off task or high-volume production?


Matching metal to method

Understanding the interplay between metal type, cutting tool and the correct blade is crucial for success. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Cutting thin metals by hand: Hand tools like tin snips and bench shears excel for clean, straight cuts in mild steel and aluminium. Jigsaws with carbide tooth blades offer flexibility for curves and intricate shapes. Reciprocating saws and nibblers can also be used on thinner materials.
  • Cutting thicker materials by hand: Angle grinders with metal cutting discs tackle various ferrous and nonferrous metals, but precision can be limited. A circular Stihl saw equipped with a ferrous metal cutting blade handles straight cuts in thicker steel effectively. Oxy Acetylene cutting torches and hand held plasma cutters are probably the most effective way of cutting thicker materials by hand.
  • CNC Processing of thin, thick and complex patturns: This domain belongs to laser cutting. Yorkshire Laser’s machines handle a wide range of ferrous and nonferrous metals, including mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium, brass and even copper, effortlessly achieving intricate designs and tight tolerances.


The allure of precision: Enter laser cutting

While power tools can empower DIY projects and small-scale work on thin metal, for true precision metal cutting, laser cutting reigns supreme.

Yorkshire Laser’s state-of-the-art laser cutting machines deliver unparalleled advantages:

  • Unmatched accuracy: Laser profilin produces incredibly accurate shapes tolerances of +/- 0.2mm being easily achievable on most material types and thicknesses.
  • Complex designs made easy: Intricate shapes, tight tolerances, and intricate features are effortlessly achieved, unlocking design freedom.
  • Material versatility: From mild steel and aluminium to stainless steel and even copper, our lasers cut a wide range of materials with consistent quality.
  • Speed and efficiency: Our high-powered lasers automate the cutting process, ensuring fast turnaround times and cost-effectiveness for high-volume projects.


The expert advantage

Choosing Yorkshire Laser transcends simply accessing advanced machinery. Our team possesses in-depth knowledge of metal properties, cutting techniques and design principles. We:

Guide you in selecting the optimal cutting method for your project, considering material, thickness and desired outcome.

  • Optimise cutting parameters to ensure efficient material usage and minimal heat distortion.
  • Adhere to stringent quality control standards, guaranteeing impeccable results every time.
  • Offer the full suite of fabrication services like bending, punching and finishing, streamlining your project workflow.


Safety first: A constant reminder

Remember, cutting metal can be hazardous if not approached with proper caution. Always wear safety glasses, gloves, and sturdy footwear.

If you’re not working with experts like Yorkshire Laser, you must choose the right tool for the job when you need to cut sheet metal, and ensure it’s in good working order.

Use appropriate guards and clamps to secure your workpiece. Never force a cut, and be mindful of flying sparks and metal chips.


The right cut for your project

The correct approach makes all the difference. While various tools offer cutting solutions, for precision, efficiency, and unparalleled quality, partnering with a specialist like Yorkshire Laser unlocks the true potential of your metal cutting project.

We believe in providing the exceptional in terms of quality, service and value for money. We work with our customers to deliver what they need, when they need it, whether it is a one-off specialist part or a larger production run of a more routine component.

To find out more contact us today on 01924 220236 or email us here to discuss your metal cutting needs.