Metals like steel and aluminum are prized for their versatility and durability. They are also popular because these metals can be cut and sized to precise specifications for a wide range of needs. At Tampa Steel & Supply, we not only supply quality metals, but we have high-end equipment to process them to your exact requirements.
Metal shearing is a processing technique that offers tremendous advantages for certain applications. We’re sharing the following guide to help you gain a clear understanding of metal shearing and the potential benefits it offers for any number of uses.
What is Metal Shearing?
Metal shearing is a specific type of cutting process used to separate a smaller piece of metal from a larger piece. Compared to other methods, shearing creates cuts without burning, melting, or chipping. Metal shearing works by applying enough pressure to the material that it begins to cleanly separate from the larger stock.
A metal shearing machine is used for cutting sheet metal, plate, aluminum, stainless steel, and other metals to size. This process can be done a numbers of ways, from using industrial tools for factory work to power shears for home improvements or for art designs.
6 Advantages and Benefits of Metal Shearing
Metal shearing offers a number of distinct advantages compared to other cutting methods, such as torch cutting. Major benefits to metal shearing include:
1. Straighter Cuts
One of the biggest advantages of metal shearing is the ability to create straight line cuts on flat sheet stock. Other processes often result in jagged or deformed edges, while shearing uses straight blades to create clean, straight edges and angles time after time.
2. Faster Cuts
Because there is no need for the metal to come to temperature as in torch cutting, jobs can be started and completed quicker. Metal processors use metal shearing to quickly cut large quantities of metal repeatedly.
3. Works With Softer and Harder Metals
Since shearing cuts without forming chips, or burning or melting the material, the process works well with most softer metals. This includes aluminum, lower carbon steel, bronze, and brass. Harder metals can also work with metal shearing, but they require higher powered machinery.
4. Minimal Waste
Perhaps the biggest advantage of shearing is that it produces little or no kerf, meaning virtually no loss of material and minimal waste. The result is less raw materials to invest in from the outset of the job.
5. Cost Effective for High Output
Shearing can be used with virtually any diameter part and is especially cost-effective for high-output operations producing thousands of pieces per hour. However, shearing is not ideal for lengths under 0.750”.
6. Works with Smaller Lengths
Metal shearing processes can also cut relatively small lengths of material at a time because the shearing blades are able to be mounted at an angle. In addition, this reduces the overall shearing force needed for each project.
Types of Metal Shearing
In a typical factory shearing process, the metal to be cut is held in place with hold-downs. The cuts are positioned by a squaring arm with scale on it or with a back gauge. Other angles are possible with an angle gauge. On some sheet metal shears, and most plate shears, the blade gap is adjustable for different metal thicknesses.
Metal is placed between two blades: one upper and one lower blade, like a pair of shears. One of the blades will generally remain stationary. Specific types of metal shearing include:
- Accurshear: The Hydraulic Sheet Metal Shear Machine Accurshear is the most accurate machine available of this type, so you will receive the highest quality of metal shearing services. The Accurshear is used for cutting sheet metal, plate, aluminum, and stainless steel with a clean straight cut with minimum waste.
- Guillotine Shearing: Straight shearing is perfect for working with metal coils, sheet metal, and plates. This process is done with a guillotine shear, which can be hand powered or foot powered for ease of use. The metal is held in place with a ram, while a moving blade slices by a fixed blade to shear the metal. You can increase or decrease the force by adjusting the angle of shearing. For smaller projects that require intricate cuts, this is the best option.
- Bench Shearing: A bench shear is an effective tool for cutting large to medium sizes of metal for all manner of projects. Although the bench shearing method is usually not best for delicate work, it is a great option when you need clean cuts that are quick and free of all burrs.
- Alligator Shearing: Alligator shears are used for cutting scraps or long metal stocks. This process is often used for results that do not require high levels of accuracy, but need to be done in a quick and efficient manner. Alligator shears allow you to cut and shape pieces of metal that could otherwise only be cut by a torch, giving you cleaner cuts and better results.
Tampa Steel & Supply uses the highest quality equipment and technology for metal shearing projects to meet the needs of our clients.
Tampa Steel & Supply’s maximum machine sizes to cut are:
Steel: ¼” Thickness x 10’ Long.
Aluminum: 3/8” Thickness x 10’ Long.
Stainless: 11 Gauge x 10’ Long.
Visit Tampa Steel & Supply for Quality Metal and Metal Processing
Are you in need of steel supplies and related metal services? Look no further than the professionals at Tampa Steel and Supply. We stock an extensive list of steel products for whatever project you need to tackle. We’re proud to have served our customers for nearly four decades and are ready to assist you with your steel needs. Have questions? Give us a call today to learn more, or stop by our beautiful Tampa showroom.