6 Essential Metal Cutting Tools

Cutting corrugated metal with sheers
  • 1-500 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-800

Using the right metal cutting tools is essential when trying to cut metal.

Explore the information below to discover six different tools commonly used to cut metal.

1. Laser

The laser is probably the most powerful tool when cutting through sheet metal. The thickness of this sheet metal depends on the laser power. Some lasers are able to cut through only 18-gauge metal, however, some lasers can cut through the thickest sheet metal available.

An industrial laser produces a very high intensity beam of light that cuts right through the metal you are working on.

2. Punching or Die Cutting

Die Cutting, also known as punching, works like a cookie cutter. It is a tool that has two separate parts; the punch and the die. When using this tool, the two parts are pressed together to create a force that cuts the metal into the designated shape.

Die cutting works well on sheets of metal, including foil sheets. It is not the tool to use if you are looking for something powerful enough to cut through thick metal.

3. Cold Saw

A cold saw is a circular saw that uses very low speeds to operate. The low speeds cause the metal to stay cool when it is being cut. The blade on a cold saw also leaves a smooth end when cut. This is why you will see cold saws being used commonly among projects involving steel tubing.

4. Hack Saw


The hack saw is probably the most common tool used when cutting metal. A hack saw uses a very thin blade to cut through metal pipes. This tool is very useful, because it will cut through the thinnest of metal with smaller teeth spaced very close together, and thicker metal is cut with large teeth spaced further apart.

5. Torches

Torches are used in cutting metal by using very high temperatures to melt metal away from where it is scored. It is easiest to create a very slight saw line, and then use the torch to heat the metal up to a high temperature, making the metal break away at the line you created.

You will see torches being used for a variety of metal cutting. Sculpting is the most common project where you will use a torch. It can deal with metal up to 12 inches thick.

6. Shears

tap and die set

Shears come in two different forms; electronic shears, and manual shears. Manual shears are used when thinner sheet metal needs to be cut; usually 18-gauge or smaller works the best with manual shears. Electronic shears are used when the metal is a bit thicker.

Shears are basically a large pair of scissors. They contain a top blade, as well as a bottom blade. When pressure is applied by either human force, or a power source, it causes the blades to meet, and the metal to buckle causing the blades to cut through the area.

Use the information above to help in your decision on which tool to buy. Depending on your project, and what you are looking for, any of the tools above are a great instrument to have.

Good luck on your project, and stay safe.