Cutting is one of the most important processes for Metal Fabrication. In most of the cases, it’s the foremost step as well. For the metal to be altered into different shapes and sizes, it needs to be cut with required precision and expertise. Different metals differ in quality and properties and therefore different cutting methods are required to cut them. In this article we will discuss about the different ways of cutting metal for fabrication.
Manual Cutting – For small scale jobs, manual cutting may be preferred to get the desired shape out of a metal sheet. Mostly, only thin and flexible metals like thinner gauge aluminum, copper, brass, etc. are preferred for this kind of cutting. Hand tools are employed to do the work manually. This method is not ideal for cutting smaller pieces as it might just break the metal instead of cutting them into precise sizes.
Grinding – Grinding is preferred for doing high quality jobs when the surface of the metal requires to be smooth and polished. In this method, a grinding machine is used, which consists of an abrasive wheel. Friction is used to wear down the surface of the metal to get the desired finishing of the product.
Laser cutting – It’s the latest technology involved in metal cutting and is increasingly being used for the process. High powered and concentrated beams facilitate the cutting of the metal with the help of a focus lens and other laser parts. It is an automated process where the design is programmed into the computer which controls the laser. Laser cutting is a very consistent and steady process which is used to cut metals of precise measurements. It offers unmatched flexibility by accurately extracting the most complex of designs out of metal sheets.
Welding or Burning – As the name suggests, heat is the medium to cut the metal. Intense hot flames are used to cut the metal by burning and melting it. Plasma cutters are the latest technology to support this method of metal cutting as it provides high degree of accuracy because of much higher temperature. In a plasma torch, oxygen or other inert gases are pumped through its nozzle at a tremendous speed along with an electrical arc. It’s the most accurate method after laser cutting.
Water Jet – This method is mostly favored for metals that don’t go well with heat. Under this method, a highly concentrated jet of water cuts through the metal to get the desired shape. The water is often mixed with abrasive compounds to ease the process of cutting metals.
Punch – Another much employed method of cutting metals, punch involves the use of extreme pressure to force sharp blades into the metal and cut them. Though it might sound similar to manual cutting of metals, machines are capable of putting much more force than humans and therefore, are able to cut heavier metals at a rapid speed. It’s one of the most productive methods of cutting metals.