Aviation snips (or compound-action snips) are called as such due to the fact that these cutting devices were originally developed for use in the construction of aircraft that involve sheet metal made of aluminum and stainless steel. Aviation snips should not be confused with the more common tinner snips as the added linkage increases mechanical leverage compared to normal snips.
Compound-action snips are able to cut in a straight line but some models developed allow for a more customized cutting option. Aviation snips usually come in three models and have color coded handles to avoid confusion and clearly indicate the intended purpose. These are:
- Yellow (standard) - designed to cut sheet metal in a straight line and on a wide curve;
- Red (left hand) - designed to cut in a straight line and on a curve to the left, and
- Green (right hand) - designed to cut in a straight line and on a curve to the right.
Because of the increased leverage provided by compound-action snips, these cutting tools have become the favorite of tinsmith and handymen alike when it comes to cutting sheet metal as the design makes it incredibly easy to use and requires less effort on your part, even when cutting thick gauge steel. Wrist fatigue is also lessened and injuries could be prevented due to the clever design. These snips could handle a wide variety of metals and are designed to cut up to 26 gauge of stainless steel, 18 gauge aluminum and a maximum 24 gauge for mild steel. The versatility of using such snips made it a favorite in the construction industry and are utilized in other industries or fields that require precision cutting of different kinds of sheet metal.
Best Uses for Aviation Snips
1. Automotive Body Repair
This is a popular tool amongst tinsmith's especially with newer model cars that have complicated shapes and different curves and contours designed on the body. The flowing lines and concave surfaces on your car could only be replicated by the use of a precision cutting tool such as the aviation snip. The tool is widely used on most auto repair shops to cut sheet metal that needs to be conformed to the body panel. Handling aluminum and stainless steel for various body parts is not a problem as the aviation snip is able to cut through these metals with relative ease.
2. House Exterior Remodeling
The do-it-yourself enthusiast would have many reasons to use a compound-action snip as the tool is perfect for tough jobs around the house such as cutting roofing elements (steel roof) and in the installation of gutters and down spouts. Such sheet metal could be easily manipulated and shaped to the desired form when using an aviation snip. New model stainless steel gutters and aluminum sidings could be cut easily and with less hassle.
3. HVAC Repair and Installation
Heating, ventilating and air conditioning jobs require the use of a precision cutting tool and the aviation snip stands up to the test. Installation of air conditioning tubes, pipes and heat shields require manipulation of metal sheets to conform to a specific size or shape and the right cutting tool will enable the task to be accomplished easier and with a minimum of fuss.
Take the necessary precautions when using cutting tools and remember to use safety equipment such as goggles and a good pair of gloves when handling sheet metal and sharp tools.