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All Types of Metal Shears Explained!

types of metal shears

Metal shears serve the purpose of precisely cutting and shaping various metals to meet specific requirements. Different tools, from bench shears to guillotine machines and power shears, cater to diverse needs within industries like construction, automotive, and fabrication.

This article will delve into all types of shearing machines used in these sectors. We’ll explore their functions and capabilities while highlighting key advantages and applications. This guide will provide valuable insight into snips or hydraulic-powered options such as crocodile or electric sheet metal shears.

What is Metal Shearing?

Metal shearing is the process of cutting through sheet metal using a specialized tool or machine. It involves slicing through the material with a blade, usually attached to equipment designed for this purpose. A squaring arm allows precise placement of the sheet metal before cutting.

This finishing technique effectively removes unwanted material from sheet metal. Hence, it is increasingly popular among manufacturers due to its simplicity and minimal waste production. Metal shearing offers excellent ease of execution while ensuring accurate results.

The most commonly used tool for shearing is called a bench shear. These small, lightweight devices mounted on workbenches provide user-friendly operation and versatility in various applications.

With hydraulics or electricity as power sources, power shears or guillotine shear machines offer better capabilities. It might be more complex than bench shears, but these machines are faster and more efficient—especially if you’re working with large amounts of stuff.

What is the Purpose of Metal Shearing?

Keeping chips from forming and eliminating burning or melting that can negatively impact metal die quality is the purpose of metal shearing. It’s excellent for suppliers of bronze and brass that work with sheets or plates, like Rotax Metals. It makes precise cuts without compromising the quality of the metal.

How Does a Metal Shear Work?

Two essential parts make a metal shear work:

  1. The moving blade known as the punch
  2. The fixed blade referred to as the die

When activated, the punch pushes against the workpiece until clearance is achieved. This clearance typically ranges from 5% to 40% of the metal’s thickness.

The importance of clearance should not be underestimated—it directly influences cut quality and energy efficiency. If insufficient, there may still be some attachment between stock parts that require manual separation through prying. In contrast, excessive clearance can result in problems like rollover or heavy burring that damage delicate metals.

shearing machine types

What Are the Different Types of Metal Shears?

If you’ve ever wondered about the diverse world of metal shears, buckle up for a riveting exploration into the machinery that precisely shapes metal. Let’s dive into different types of shears used to cut metals, shedding light on each unique type and its distinctive strengths.

  • Alligator Shear

Let’s kickstart our metal shearing expedition with the mighty alligator shear. Its hinged jaw resembling a powerful reptile makes this hydraulic marvel ideal for cutting l-beams, angle iron, and rebar. Powered by a hydraulic cylinder, the cutting motion is initiated by a piston extending to close the upper jaw alongside the bed gradually.

The alligator shear boasts cost-effectiveness, strength, and durability, making it a go-to choice for preparing scrap metal for shredding. However, its Achilles’ heel lies in occasional inaccuracy and a rugged finish. Despite these trade-offs, the alligator shear stands tall as a robust contender in metal cutting.

  • Bench Shear

Mounted for mechanical advantage through a compound mechanism, bench shear is a craftsman’s delight. Ideal for shaping rough forms from medium-sized sheet metal, the bench shear flexes its muscles in various applications, from 90-degree angle cuts to T-sections. Besides, it effortlessly slices through both round and square bars.

The strength of a bench shear scales with its size, capable of withstanding the highest stresses. Broadly speaking, its efficiency and knack for producing clean cuts free of burrs make it an invaluable asset in metal shearing.

  • Power Shear

The power shear takes center stage in the realm of blanking large pieces of sheet metal. It’s powered either electrically or pneumatically and operated by hand. This tool works magic with an upper blade moving towards a lower fixed blade, exerting tension on the cutting material. Its prowess lies in cutting straight lines or large-radius curves.

Flexibility, efficiency, accuracy, durability, and a top-notch quality finish are the key advantages that set power shears apart. Imagine the ease of maneuvering through curves, the efficiency of accurate cuts, and the durability to withstand metal fabrication demands.

Video Credit: Baykal Machinery

  • Throatless Shear

The throatless shear is perfect for crafting straight, intricately curved, or irregular cuts. It introduces a design innovation that allows free movement of the cutting material. Diverging from traditional models, this shear adds a layer of versatility to metal shearing tasks. Picture the freedom to move the material around, enabling precision in creating intricate shapes and cuts.

  • Metal Guillotine

To talk about guillotines, we need to first understand how it’s set up. A guillotine comprises of:

  • Shear table
  • Work-holding device
  • Gauging device
  • Upper and lower shears

With a ram and blade, the metal guillotine clamps metal and cuts with precision. It can operate mechanically, hydraulically, or by footpower. Its strengths lie in speed and cost-effectiveness, making it ideal for high-volume production.

However, its biggest trade-off is that it has a tendency to produce a rough edge. These machines find their sweet spot in processing parts where aesthetics take a back seat or where the metal undergoes further refinement through welding. Safety measures are paramount when operating a metal guillotine, ensuring a smooth and secure metal-cutting process.

  • Snips

Switching gears to precision in the palm of your hand, snips take center stage as hand tools designed to cut sheet metal. Divided into two types – tinner snips and compound action snips – these handheld wonders cater to different metal-cutting needs. Tinner snips, with long handles and short blades, excel in cutting low-carbon tin or mild steel.

Straight pattern tin snips are perfect for clean, straight lines or gentle curves. On the other hand, duckbill pattern tin snips handle sharper curves. There’s even a variety of tin snips, like circle and hawksbill patterns. They are ideal for cutting circles and radii, demonstrating the sheer versatility of these handheld tools.

Enter the compound action snip, a linkage-enhanced tool for cutting aluminum, mild steel, or stainless steel. With three types – straight-cutting, left-cutting, and right-cutting – these snips offer versatility in handling different cutting curves. Variations include

  • Upright snips for tight spaces
  • Long cuts snips for extended straight cuts
  • Hard snips with head-treated blades for more rigid metals

Precision becomes the hallmark of snips, emphasizing their suitability for intricate cutting work. However, the labor-intensive nature of hand operation adds a layer of commitment to the metal-cutting process.

  • Nibblers

In the realm of nibblers, where some mimic tin snips, most operate on a punch-and-die formation. Nibblers employ a blade moving in a line around a fixed die. It uses a series of up-and-down punching strokes to “nibble” away at the material and create precise cuts. Robust, durable, and capable of distortion-free cuts, nibblers operate with speed and low-force feed. Nibblers excel in tasks where precision is paramount, making them a reliable choice for metal artisans.

Final Thoughts

Metal shearing is a precise cutting process vital in various industries, offering efficiency, accuracy, and minimal waste production.

There are many types of shear used in sheet metal cutting. The alligator shear’s hydraulic prowess and the bench shear’s versatility stand out. Moreover, the snips’ precision and the metal guillotine’s speed bring efficiency. Each type of metal shear plays a crucial role in shaping the world of metal fabrication. As manufacturers seek the perfect cut, these diverse tools stand ready to meet the demands of the ever-evolving metalworking landscape.

At Fab Line Machinery, we proudly serve as the exclusive US importer of Baykal products, offering a diverse range of precision metal shears. Elevate your metal fabrication with our cutting-edge tools, ensuring efficiency, accuracy, and top-notch results in every project.

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