Cutting sheet metal can result in a number of workplace injuries if it is not done right. Here are some ways to stay safe while cutting sheet metal.
Cutting metal can result in sparks, kickback, and lost limbs from the equipment you’ll be working with. Even if you’re sawing slowly and taking precautions, be sure to wear a safety helmet, gloves, goggles, and earplugs. Working with metal can be dangerous for you physically if a sharp or spark gets in your eye from kickback, but the noise from cutting metal is not often thought of; protect your hearing when you work with any powerful machinery.
Cutting tool wax is a necessity whether you’re working with simple hand tools or industrial-grade saws. If you don’t have a well-lubricated tool, this can damage the tool itself along with the sheet metal you’re trying to cut. This put you in financial straits since you will have to buy new sheet metal along with new, often expensive tools that could have been saved in the first place. Simply put, using cutting tool wax works as a corrosion preventative and gives you a nice, even cut while extending the life of your tools. Try buying a Castrol stick wax lubricant at an industrial supplies store, or go online to see what wax lubricants are perfect for the machines you plan to use.
If you feel more comfortable using an industrial lubricant over a wax, there are many options to choose from. While semi-synthetic industrial lubricants have up to 30% less oil than a traditional oil lubricant, purely synthetic oils have no oil base at all, making clean up a breeze. However, many oil-based lubes are easily cleaned with an oil-eliminating ingredient, like dish soap.
Depending on the cut, you can use a variety of tools to get the job done. A simple handsaw or snips can be used to slice pieces off thinner sheet metals, while a table saw or a circular saw is used for thicker sheets. While your specialty lubricants have done a great job ensuring your safety and making an even cut, there still may be sharp edges where the cut was made. Use a deburring tool or a file to smooth the edges.
When working with power tools, be sure to make your safety a top priority. Between choosing the best type of saw and determining the kind of cutting tool wax to use, don’t forget to wear protective gear while cutting your sheet metal.