Cutting expanded metal can be done using various tools and methods. Expanded metal is a versatile material made from sheet metal that has been slit and stretched to create a mesh-like pattern. Here are several methods you can use to cut expanded metal:
Tools You May Need:
- Angle grinder with a cutting wheel or abrasive disc
- Tin snips or aviation snips
- Jigsaw with a metal-cutting blade
- Hacksaw with a metal-cutting blade
- Plasma cutter (for thicker expanded metal)
- Oxy-acetylene torch (for thicker expanded metal)
- Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including safety goggles, hearing protection, and gloves when cutting metal.
- Work in a well-ventilated area, or wear a dust mask when cutting expanded metal to protect against metal dust and debris.
Methods for Cutting Expanded Metal:
- Angle Grinder:
- Use an angle grinder with a cutting wheel or abrasive disc.
- Mark the cutting line on the expanded metal.
- Secure the expanded metal, and then slowly cut along the marked line using the angle grinder.
- Tin Snips or Aviation Snips:
- Tin snips or aviation snips are suitable for cutting thinner expanded metal.
- Make a straight cut by following the marked line on the metal.
- Use a jigsaw with a metal-cutting blade for more precise cuts, especially for irregular shapes or curves.
- Clamp or secure the expanded metal, and then cut along the marked line with the jigsaw.
- A hacksaw with a metal-cutting blade can be used for thinner expanded metal.
- Make sure the expanded metal is secured, and then carefully cut along the marked line.
- Plasma Cutter:
- For thicker expanded metal or more precise cuts, a plasma cutter can be used.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operating the plasma cutter safely.
- Oxy-Acetylene Torch:
- An oxy-acetylene torch can cut through thicker expanded metal with ease.
- Maintain the appropriate safety precautions and follow proper cutting techniques when using a torch.
- When marking your cutting line, use a straightedge or a template to ensure accuracy.
- Secure the expanded metal in a stable position to prevent it from moving during cutting.
- Choose the cutting method and tool based on the thickness of the expanded metal and the type of cut you need (straight, curved, or irregular).
- Be mindful of sparks, metal debris, and heat generated during the cutting process, and take appropriate safety precautions.
The choice of cutting method depends on the thickness and shape of the expanded metal, as well as the tools you have available. Always prioritize safety when working with metal-cutting tools.