Sheet Metal Tools

Metal Cutting Tools

For more in depth info check out Sheet Metal Cutting Tips and Tricks


Tin Snips – Straight, right and left hand tin snips (also called aviation snips) are essential to even the most basic of sheet metal work. They are basically just super heavy duty scissors. They are color coded red for port or left hand, green for starboard or right hand, yellow for straight cuts.



 Plasma Cutter – A plasma cutter is a life saver for irregular shapes or thicker metal. Sure they are much more expensive than mechanical cutting tools, but for really complicated shapes and cut-outs nothing is faster and easier than a plasma cutter.


angle grinder

 Angle Grinder – For rough cutting, cleaning up body work to be patched, and cutting patch panels from parts cars a 4.5” abrasive cut off wheel goes though even multiple layers of sheet metal easily.



Throatless Shear – Throatless hand shear design amplifies leverage with rack and pinion gearing and an extended handle, so you’ll easily slice through 14-ga. mild steel and 18-ga. stainless. Tool steel blades (adjustable for wear) provide burr-free cuts.


Electric Metal Shears  – Similar to tin snips and the Throatless Shear, the electricl


Metal Joining Tools


MIG Welder – The most basic joining tool is a wire feed MIG welder, but MIG isn’t that great for thin sheet metal work. It will work in a pinch if you are good, but they are usually too powerful to weld body panels easily without burning through.



TIG Welder – The preferred method of welding patch panels is TIG welding. TIG burns cooler, and distorts the panels less, and also is less likely to burn through the metal.



Clamps Magnetic and mechanical clamps and holders keep the patch in place, so you don’t need 3 hands to do the job. For butt welds Intergrip panel clamps will keep patches perfectly aligned while you weld


Sheet Metal Forming Tools 


English Wheel – For complicated, compound curved panels from flat pieces of metal you are going to need an English wheel and lots of practice. Here s a link to a more in depth English Wheel article

Here is a link to an article featuring Ron Covell, showing all of his english wheel tips and tricks.



Bead Rollers -prefect for adding strength to thin access panels, floor pans, trunk floors and more. Bead rollers can also be used to make professional looking louvers for hoods and trunk lids. They can even be used to form curved panels for things like roll pans.

Check out this video/article showing the Eastwood Bead Roller in action



Sheet Metal Break – For making boxes, brackets and other simple shapes with only straight edged bends, nothing beats a sheet metal brake.

Video of the Versa Sheet Metal Break in action


Hammer and Dolly – The most basic of body work tools is an assortment of body hammers and dollies for shaping any panel, but again they take practice.


Check out the Eastwood Blog and How-To Center for more Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don’t hesitate to leave a comment.


One Comment

  1. I never realized how much equipment was used when working with something like sheet metal. It’s really incredible that sheet metal workers use all of these tools when they work with the metal. I love working with different tools, and they get to use all sorts of different machines, and hand tools.

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