Different Methods Used in Cutting Metal

Special tools and techniques are used to make metals in certain shapes, sizes, thicknesses, and whatever the customer requires. Metal cutting methods involves manual techniques as well as automated. Some of the most common manual techniques in cutting and shaping metal or steel include chisel, hacksaw, and shears.

The abrasive waterjet cutting machine located in the fabrication shop of the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron uses a high velocity coherent stream of 98% water and 2% sand to cut through almost any material at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, June 5, 2017. The abrasive waterjet cutting machine allows the airmen to create a wide range of aircraft parts or tools needed to complete the mission in an expedited and a cost effective manner. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren)

Manual methods are suitable for cutting small and thinner metal pieces. For larger metal pieces that are typically for larger projects, machines are used to make the entire process faster. The automated methods are also much cheaper and more efficient. Here are the machine cutting methods for metal:


Turning Method

The turning method is probably the most common method of cutting metal. It uses a very sharp device that spins very rapidly, cutting through the metal.


Flame Method

The flame cutting method is another commonly used technique of cutting and shaping metal or steel. This method uses an extremely concentrated source of heat to cut the metal. Usually a gas flame is used with about 3,500 degrees centigrade of heat is applied at the desired point. The heat of the gas flame burns and melts the metal, cutting it into the desired shape.


Burning Method

The burning cutting method works similarly with the flame method. Metal is simply burned along a specified line, where the metal melts and is cut.


Grinding Method

Metal grinding machine is typically used when the metal needs to be extremely smooth. The machine has wheels that are brushed against the surface of the metal or steel, grinding off its uppermost layer, leaving a very smooth surface.


Drilling Method

The drilling method simply creating a hole through metal. It uses a drill bit and combines force and pressure on the metal. As a result, the drill bit bores a hole. Drills for creating holes in metal pieces come in different sizes. Thus, making the drilling method applicable for any piece of metal to create any size of holes.


Waterjet Method

Yes, water can indeed cut through metal. When water is highly pressurized and is used with a specialized tool, it becomes very powerful, enabling to cut through metal and other hard materials. The waterjet is one of the most versatile cutting equipment used in many industries to cut metal and other materials. Water is brought at a very high pressure at a very high speed. The combined pressure and force enables water to actually cut hard materials such as steel. Waterjets are also used to cut stone, wood, plastic, marble, and granite. a waterjet cut is very smooth and precise.



All these cutting methods are very useful and beneficial for cutting and slicing metal. The right method to use actually depends on the type of project you will have, whether it involves small or big pieces of metal. It also depends on the complexity of the design and shape required for the metal work.


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March 21, 2019