Whenever you find yourself doing metal fabrication you’ll come to a time when you need to make a razor straight cut. Unfortunately most of us don’t have a big ‘ol “stomp shear”, so we need to use a power or hand tool. It seems no matter how many times I measured, set my tools up, got comfortable, did practice runs, etc. I could never get a perfectly straight line when cutting longer cuts on sheet metal. Recently it clicked in my head to utilize an old trick when making straight cuts with a plasma cutter.
An well known trick when cutting with your plasma cutter is to clamp a metal straight edge to the metal so the arc is directly over your cut line. This way you can simply press the edge of the torch cup against the straight edge and slowly make a straight cut. This same idea I decided to take to sheet metal when using the scissor shears. We offer an electric and pneumatic version of power shears and these work awesome for cutting straight lines and mild radii. I found that using a thinner piece of steel or a thin metal ruler works best. I set the shears so outside jaw was tight against the straight edge and the cut line was where I wanted it. I then used welding clamps to clamp the panel to the guide and I ran the shears worry-free across the panel to make a cut that would rival that of a good stomp-shear. This was also very helpful for me since I generally work alone and manhandling a big 8X10′ sheet of 18 gauge can be quite difficult. This way the clamps raised the panel up off the floor just enough so that I was able to make a cut with little resistance.
Tips like these really make life easier and straight cut lines make for higher quality work during metal fabrication. If you have a special trick or tip that helps make an enthusiasts life easier, feel free to comment or contact us with your idea for a chance to have it featured on the site!