Three Ways To Cut Through Thick Sheet Metal: Which Will You Choose?

Manufacturing processes offer a wide variety to cut materials that cannot be cut using simple hand tools. For example, a one-inch thick sheet of steel sheet metal is not going to be cut so easily with any sort of saw most people have at home. Instead, it needs to be cut using one of the manufacturing processes listed below. There are at least three ways you could cut this thick piece of sheet metal. Which of these will you choose?

Industrial Diamond-Tipped Saw

This is a massive power saw on the biggest saw table you have never seen. The saw itself has diamond dust encrusted tips so that it can slice through practically everything. For a one-inch thick piece of steel sheet metal, the diamond-tipped industrial saw can cut through it like a steak knife through a piece of chicken. The cut does end up being a little rough on the edges, however. If you want smoother edges, consider the CNC laser cutting machine. 

The CNC Laser Cutting Machine

Little to no lubricant is needed for this machine because it does not have any rapidly moving cutting parts. You may still need a little water to cool the steel as the laser cuts through it so that you avoid scorching the metal along the edges or melting it slightly. The edges are always smoother than the aforementioned saw, and the cuts are precise enough, but if you want something that bores and cuts simultaneously, try the next cutting option. 

EDM Cutting

Companies offering EDM manufacturing services have specially trained EDM manufacturing engineers that know exactly how to operate these interesting machines. Pulses of an electrical current run through a diode at the tip of the cutting/boring tip. The electrical pulses are extremely hot, but they stick to the very end of the diode. The electricity never travels outside of this one point, so there is no worry about the sheet metal conducting the electricity and electrocuting the machine's operators.

The cutting tip bores and melts a perfectly rounded cut in the metal. This is ideal if you are trying to create grooves and slots to fit sheets or slabs of metal together for fitted construction. It creates the "pop together" holes for faster assembly of metal goods, too. Even though the electrical pulses are melting the sheet metal, it is not a liquefied sort of cut. The cut is much more of a "shave" process.