Portable Metal Cutting Shears Purpose And Types

The portable metal cutting shears are lightweight, handheld power tools used to cut through sheet metal. These shears
are capable of continuous cutting along a straight or irregular line on a workpiece. Field and machine shop maintenance
personnel use the portable metal cutting shears for sheet metal trimming, auto body work, duct work, aircraft structural
repair, and cutting template patterns. These tools can be powered by an electric motor or air depending on the model selected.

There are two basic types of portable metal cutting shears:

  • The heavy-duty type with the upper movable blade (single - cut)
  • The light-duty type with the scissor action blade (double - cut).

Both types of shears work well, but there are slight differences in the operation and capabilities of each. Since these are hand controlled tools, the quality of work performed depends upon the experience and skill of the operator.

The heavy-duty

The heavy-duty portable metal cutting shears have an upper, movable shear blade that moves up and down very rapidly over a fixed lower blade so that a continuous singlecut action occurs. The single-cutting action of these shears can cause the sheet metal being cut to warp or bend, so these shears are not recommended for making precision templates
or very flat sheet metal pieces.

Some models of the very heavy-duty portable metal cutting shears can cut mild sheet steel up to #6 gage or about 3/16-inch, but most maintenance shops use the normal heavy-duty shears capable of cutting up to #12 gage (about 7/64-inch) or thinner. Softer metals can be slightly thicker than the rating for sheet metal and still be cut successfully. The heavy-duty type shear has a blade clearance adjustment so that the best cutting action can be obtained for each type and thickness of metal.

 Metal Cutting Shears Portable electric heavy-duty metal cutting shears

The light-duty

The light-duty portable metal cutting shears operate with a scissor-like motion that makes a double cut by removing a strip of metal about 1/4 inch wide which produces a distortion-free piece (Figure 3-29). These shears are used for thin sheet metal, such as #18 gage (about 3/64-inch) or thinner. A hole about 3/8 inch in diameter is needed to gain access for inside cutting. The rapidly reciprocating blade enables these shears to cut intricate patterns, make models, trim gaskets, and cut out templates from different sheet metal materials. These light-duty type of shears are lighter in weight and much easier to handle than the larger heavy-duty type. The cutting blade clearance is set at the factory, so the only adjustment is to sharpen the blades if the cutting action becomes difficult.

 Metal Cutting Shears Portable electric light-duty metal cutting shears