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  #1  
Old 08-25-2021, 10:25 PM
mcencula mcencula is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Delaware, OH
Posts: 440
Default How to get a clean cut with snips

Okay, so with this post, I'm basically "outing" myself as someone who didn't know how to cut metal with snips for a long time. Sure I could make a cut, but I always ended up with a wavy edge requiring excessive sanding and/or filing. Another builder showed me this approach to get much better results and I'm passing it along in case it can help anyone here who is as dense as me.

After laying out your cut line, make an initial cut about 1/8" to 3/16" away from that line as I'm doing here. Make sure that the blade which is supporting the piece you want to keep is laying flat against the material.


Next, trim away half to two thirds of the excess. As before, make sure the blade on the side of the "keep" part is flat against the surface of the material.


Lastly, cut on the line, of course keeping the blade on the "keep" side of the line flat against the material. Note the neat, undistorted edge.


If you've done it right, the scrap material will curl into a spiral. This approach takes more time, but yields superior results as compared with making the first (and last) cut on your line.


Additional tips:
  • On thin material, (say .016 or maybe .020) it may only be necessary to make one preliminary cut about 1/16" away from the line before making a final cut. On thicker material, creeping up in three cuts improves the results.
  • I like to use bypass snips like these instead of the in-line ones. They're especially beneficial when cutting thicker material.
  • When I bought these shears, they had little "serrations" on the edge that left marks on the aluminum. I took them apart, ground those off, and they cut like a dream now. When cutting forces get high, I take them apart and do a quick sharpening job on the grinder.

Hope someone finds this useful. If you have additional thoughts, please feel free to reply below.

Have fun!
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  #2  
Old 08-26-2021, 06:44 AM
nohoflyer nohoflyer is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 82
Default

Very nice. Iíll try it.
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  #3  
Old 08-26-2021, 07:16 AM
Presmini Presmini is offline
 
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Location: Palo Alto, Ca
Posts: 33
Thumbs up

Thanks for the tip! I have never been satisfied with my cuts with those snips. Looking forward to trying this technique.
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  #4  
Old 08-26-2021, 08:57 AM
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MarkW MarkW is offline
 
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Location: Edgewater, FL. X50
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Double cut snips are my choice for distortion free.
https://www.malcoproducts.com/catego...e-cut-max2000/
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  #5  
Old 08-26-2021, 06:36 PM
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emsvitil emsvitil is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: SoCal
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So it's measure twice and cut thrice now.........

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  #6  
Old 08-26-2021, 06:38 PM
ksauce ksauce is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Lititz, PA
Posts: 199
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I'm convinced Ron Covell is a sheet metal wizard. He has a great video on using snips.
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  #7  
Old 08-26-2021, 09:33 PM
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Capflyer Capflyer is offline
 
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Location: Gaithersburg, MD
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Or use one of these Olfa scoring knives with the PB800 blades https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catal...fa12-02973.php

Score along a straight edge with a few passes, snap the two sides apart.
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  #8  
Old 08-27-2021, 11:59 AM
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akschu akschu is offline
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wenatchee
Posts: 386
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
Double cut snips are my choice for distortion free.
https://www.malcoproducts.com/catego...e-cut-max2000/
Ordered! Thanks!
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  #9  
Old 08-27-2021, 09:31 PM
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RVbySDI RVbySDI is offline
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Tuttle, Oklahoma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capflyer View Post
Or use one of these Olfa scoring knives with the PB800 blades https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catal...fa12-02973.php

Score along a straight edge with a few passes, snap the two sides apart.
+1 for this method. Works fantastically.
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  #10  
Old 08-27-2021, 11:19 PM
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akschu akschu is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksauce View Post
I'm convinced Ron Covell is a sheet metal wizard. He has a great video on using snips.
I want to be like Ron Covell when I grow up. I signed up for the metal bash and will be seeing him in Oct. It would be cool if I saw other aviators there. Check his youtube channel for the dates and signup for an upcoming meetup.
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