How to Cut Sheet Metal with a Jigsaw

What You'll Need
Sheet metal
Permanent marker
Pattern for special shapes

Sheet metal is made of stainless steel, galvanized iron or aluminum, and you can cut sheet metal manually using different kinds of tools. Some of the most common cutting tools are metal shears, circular metal saws or even a cutting torch, depending on the thickness of the sheet metal, but the most recommended cutting tool for sheet metal is a jigsaw. With a jigsaw, you can cut in a straight line, curve or circular shape with ease and use the pieces for any construction project you have.

Step 1 - Observe Safety Precautions

Before doing something dangerous such as cutting sheet metal, be reminded to put safety first. Use plastic goggles because metal burrs might float in the air and enter your eyes; you don’t want to be blind after making the project. Remember that cut sheet metal edges are razor sharp, and your skin may be cut when the edges slide on the surface of your skin. So to be safe, make sure you don sturdy work gloves before you attempt to cut sheet metal.

Step 2 - Choose the Sheet Metal of Your Desired Thickness and Prepare It for Cutting

In your work area, lay down the sheet metal on top of the table or floor. Make sure you place it on a flat surface. On top of the sheet, place a flat material like plywood so the metal will remain in place during the cutting process. Sheet metal is smooth and has a tendency to slip away from its place when it is being cut.

Step 3 - Measure the Desired Length, Size and Shape of Your Project

Use a ruler or any straight, hard material, such as a piece of wood, if you want to cut the sheet in a straight line. If you prefer to cut it in a curved or circular design, use a pattern. Mark the sheet metal with a permanent marker so you will know where to cut; using a marker makes the line easily visible.

Step 4 - Cut the Sheet Metal

Cut through the sheet where you have put the marking. Do it carefully and slowly to make sure you get the shape right. Instead of pushing it forcefully, slide the jigsaw slowly and allow it to eat through the sheet metal. Sharp edges are present on the cut sheet metal, so use a metal file or sandpaper to smooth the edges of your project. You can also use the metal file to remove excess cuttings to achieve the exact shape you desire.

Extra Tip

Cut sheet metal has exposed areas that can be prone to rust (for galvanized iron). If you plan to store the metal, make sure you do so in a dry storage room, or brush the edges with oil to keep them rust-free.