How to choose, cut and bend sheet metal

In many DIY home projects, such as building an aviary, you will be required to use sheet metal, but where to start? Using sheet metal is a simple process, but you need to know what you’re doing. Think about the project and plan everything regarding the sheet metal including the thickness you would need, how to cut and bend it. Here’s how to choose, cut and bend sheet metal:

Your choice of sheet metal is determined by the type of project that you will be using it for and the required malleability of the sheet. To measure the thickness, you will need a sheet metal gauge. The number displayed on the gauge will allow you to determine the sheets thickness, with higher numbers meaning the sheet is thinner. Think about all the factors of your project before deciding on the thickness.

The cutting method that you use will depend on the thickness of the sheet metal that you choose. Thinner metals, such as tin and aluminium, can be cut with the use of tin snips – scissor-like tools that offer different cut shapes. Other tools such as hacksaws and jigsaws can be used to cut into thicker sheets of metal, but caution should be taken to not damage the metal or injure yourself.

When it comes to bending sheet metal, it can be a tricky process. While sheet metal may feel soft and pliable, it cannot be bent by hand. Most workshops are equipped to deal with sheet metal bending and will own a bending brake. If you do not own a bending brake, there are a few makeshift options; however, it is always the wiser decision to get a real bending brake.

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