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fabrication metals Posted Jul 31, 2019

Understanding the Metal Cutting Process

The manipulation of metal materials has been the cornerstone of the manufacturing industry throughout history. While the shaping metal is useful, it would be nothing without the ability to cut the material into usable pieces and forms. Therefore, as the industry evolved, so did the tools and metal cutting process for managing various metals to produce and create products and parts that make daily life more convenient.

What is the Metal Cutting Process?

The metal cutting process refers to the methods used to shape a work-piece and remove excess material. There are at least five methods used to cut metal.

  1. Shearing
  2. Chip forming
  3. Abrading
  4. Electro-chemical
  5. Heat

While each method is effective, not all are efficient for every application. For example, lasers do not work well with certain materials, like aluminum. Also, heat, when used on heat-treated alloys, can damage the surface and quality of the material. Therefore, it is necessary to measure the effectiveness of a method in combination with its overall cost and accuracy before deciding on the types of metal cutting techniques and tools used.

Different Metal Cutting Techniques

There are a variety of cutting techniques and metal cutting tools available for metal materials, and not all are expensive. For example, hacksaws, shears and chisels might be used in the shaping of aluminum and other one-off constructions. However, while hand-held tools have their place in manufacturing, when dealing with mass production, it is likely more useful to use computer-aided equipment and power tools despite potential costs.Drilling

While a standard practice, drilling is a useful method for making repetitive and equal cuts or holes in a material. Using the combined force of rotation and pressure, this technique allows for precision and speed in the manufacturing process.

Grinding
While more often associated with shaping than cutting, grinding is an excellent way to remove unwanted material and develop the desired shape and contour of a part. Grinding machines will have an abrasive, spinning wheel that a smooth metal work-piece is placed against. The abrasive wheel will wear the metal down and help separate any unwanted material.

Turning
Turning is a way of cutting away excess material to resize the work-piece. Essentially, there is a cutting tool with a sharp point that is pressed against the metal surface, which is spun at a rapid speed, allowing the cutting tool to remove the top layer of the work-piece until it has reached the desired thickness or size.

Flame
Heating the metal using a gas flame is also an effective way of cutting away extra metal material. This method requires the use of a gas flame heated to above 3,500 degrees Celsius or 6,332 degrees Fahrenheit. At that hot of a temperature metal melts. Then, as the metal melts, a stream of oxygen guides the flame along a line to cut precise shapes and pieces.

Welding
Welding is another form of high heat cutting. Basically, a welding torch is used to bring up the surface temperature of the metal along a line. Once a specific temperature is reached, the welder can break off the material.

Plasma
Plasma cutting is a newer variation of heat cutting. However, instead of using a flame or laser, it uses an electrical arc sent through inert gases to melt the metal along a designated path.

Laser
Laser cutting is similar to flame cutting. A focused laser beam is used to heat and cut along a precise path.

Water Jet
Water jets are used on metals that are sensitive to high-heat cutting. These tools cut excess materials by using focused erosion technology, and they mimic the effects on metal in a natural environment.

The Kimastle Corp has been helping the automotive industry by providing leading-edge assembly solutions since 1986. If your company is in need of customized metal cutting and fabrication solutions, then contact a Kimastle Corp representative at 586-949-2355.

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