How to choose the right tools for cutting metal

Carl
By Carl Heideman
Nov 5, 2023 | Tools, metal, Shop Work, cutting | Posted in Shop Work | From the Oct. 2009 issue | Never miss an article

Photography by Carl Heideman • Lead photograph courtesy Tekton/Unsplash

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]

A big part of being grassroots involves making things out of metal: brackets, supports, bearing holders, levers and more. Sometimes you’re making things from scratch; other times you’re modifying a part from one application to fit another. No matter what the task, one way or another you’re going …

This content is available for GRM+ members and Grassroots Motorsports magazine subscribers only.

You can read it for free in 64 days or subscribe to GRM+ to read right now.

Subscribe now

Already a member?

Login to read

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Tools, metal, Shop Work and cutting articles.
Comments
Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/22/20 9:32 a.m.

I have finally learned what the name (and 'actual purpose'?) for this thing is!

I came up in the southwest in an era when almost all factory exhaust pieces were stainless anyway, so if cutting mufflers was ever a common thing, i missed it.. I think i've owned one or several of these tips for most of my adult life, though. 

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/22/20 10:15 a.m.
Vigo (Forum Supporter) said:

I have finally learned what the name (and 'actual purpose'?) for this thing is!

I came up in the southwest in an era when almost all factory exhaust pieces were stainless anyway, so if cutting mufflers was ever a common thing, i missed it.. I think i've owned one or several of these tips for most of my adult life, though. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtioHM40adQ

I grew up in the Northeast in the heart of the rust belt when exhaust systems were mild steel.  Cutting parts of exhaust systems was definitely a thing and I used those so much that I've worn them out. However, the oxy/acetylene torch is my preferred weapon of choice for exhaust work.  In some circumstances and in the right hands it can actually be the most precise tool. 

Because it won't cut until the metal reaches a certain temperature and there's a natural thermal break between two components it's possible to cut away one part that's in contact with another with minimal to no damage to the adjoining part. 

For example you can cut an outer pipe off an inner or vise versa.  You can also cut a nut off a bolt without damaging the bolt.  I've even cut king pins out of truck axles with the torch.

paddygarcia
paddygarcia GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/22/20 12:33 p.m.

I've been getting pretty good results with the combination of a Milwaukee portaband saw and a Swag Offroad stand. Won't do anything big but for angles, square, and probably round stock it's very handy. 

billstewartx
billstewartx New Reader
8/17/21 3:33 p.m.

Jump Shear??  

twentyover
twentyover GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/17/21 10:00 p.m.

Beverly Shear?

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/18/23 11:51 a.m.

This.

is my new best friend.

It cuts sheetmetal WAY faster, quieter, and more accurately than any other method I have.

I wish I had this a year ago.

BimmerMaven
BimmerMaven Reader
11/5/23 2:38 p.m.

surprised that there was no mention of a(slow blade speed) 14" Carbide chop saw.   clean, fast, cool cuts that are true and ready to weld.

 

it can also shave off tiny slivers to fine-tune length.   the abrasive chop blades just deflect.

 

--------

the torch and plasma cutters take practice and a steady height and travel speed to make a clean cut.   when machine-controlled, the edges are remarkable.

 

---------

remember that high pressure, low speed, and CUTTING oil are the rule for toothed hi-speed steel blades.    high pressure means chips or curls.   low pressure and high speed will overheat the tips of the teeth....instantly dulling them.   ditto for drill bits.

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/5/23 3:01 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

What is that? 

 

gixxeropa
gixxeropa GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/5/23 3:39 p.m.

In reply to yupididit :

Milwaukee m12 nibbler I believe

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/5/23 3:50 p.m.

In reply to gixxeropa :

Yes.

Also known as the machine that goes BZZRP through sheetmetal like it was nothing.

I usually use it on the lowest speed, because like any really good power tool, it can also make mistakes really fast too.

You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners
nLSy3roGiICU7NhulLzpwUfDMpjUcS2TxxUPyYaaegNxmTHNJmJ9tEfYXzMkWB9y