Metal sheets and rods are generally manufactured in large sizes for industrial purpose, but when it comes to practical use, the sheets or rods need to be cut in different sizes to meet the requirements of customers. Metal cutting is done by a cutting tool that works on the surface of the metal to cut it in desired shape and size. A metal cutting tool can have one or more than one axis to carve the metal into different sizes.
We all know that metal is extremely hard and therefore, difficult to slice. Different types of cutting tools and techniques have been developed to do the job in a hassle-free manner. Each of the tools and cutting processes are good for a particular type of metal or shape. For example, plasma cutting is useful for large metal sheets, while shears are good for cutting small pieces of metal.
Let’s first take a look at some of the basic manual tools for metal cutting.
- ·The most common tool for cutting metal is hacksaw. It looks similar to the one used for cutting woods. The only difference is that metal cutting hacksaws are made of steel and have sharp teeth to slice tough metal sheets.
- ·Chisels can be used to remove unwanted parts of metal. In order to remove an unwanted part, the metal is first heated (so that it gets soft) and then chisel is forced through the metal.
- ·Shears can also be used for cutting metal. Shears look like a large scissor and they are sharp enough to cut 26 gauge stainless steel.
When you have to slice larger pieces of metal, these manual tools can’t be used. Machine cutting needs to be applied and here is a list of come popular machine oriented metal cutting processes.
Oxy-fuel cutting: It is a cost-effective cutting process. The oxy-fuel gas cutting method creates chemical reaction of oxygen with the metal at high temperature to slice the metal. The process is based on rapid formation of iron oxide. Preheat flames are used to increase the surface temperature of steel to 1800 degree Fahrenheit and then pure oxygen stream is directed towards the heated area. As a result, the steel is oxidized and blown away to create a cavity. The preheat flame and oxygen stream are moved simultaneously at constant speed to achieve a perfect cut.
Plasma cutting: In this type of cutting method, a plasma torch pumps oxygen through the nozzle at high speed and at the same time an electrical arc is transmitted through the gas, as a result, the plasma becomes hot enough to melt the metal.
Laser cutting: The most sophisticated technology for cutting different types of metals. Laser cutting machines are generally controlled by a computer programme and can cut metal in complex and exact shapes and sizes. The accuracy of laser beam helps you achieve a very clean cut.
Water jet: This type of metal cutting process is developed on the basis of erosion technology. A water jet cutter cuts through the metal with the help of a high force jet of water. Abrasive substances are sometimes mixed with the water to make the cutting process faster.
Turning: In this process a sharp point of the cutting tools is applied on the surface of the metal, and then it is rapidly spun with the help of a device. As a result, the top layer of the metal gets removed.
Drilling: A drilling machine features a sharp metal cutting tool which is driven inside the piece of metal using force and rotation. Drilling machines are used for creating holes in metal.
Grinding: If the surface of the metal has to be absolutely smooth, then a grinding machine is used. A grinding machine features a wheel which moves while in contact with metal, and as a result, the surface gets smooth.
You can select any one of the aforementioned metal cutting methods considering the type of metal you want to cut and the level of precision you want to achieve.
Paresh Thakor is associated with Ajan CNC, one of the leading metal-processing companies in the world, operating in over 40 countries. He likes to share his ideas and insights regarding CNC Plasma Cutting Machine, CNC Milling Machine and CNC Pipe Cutting Machine.
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