Cutting sheet steel - what options can be used?

Occasionally one faces the task of cutting a piece of sheet steel. With which methods this goes, where the limits of the individual methods lie, and how to cut steel sheets professionally, you will find out here.

Requirements for cutting

The most important prerequisite with which method steel sheet can be cut is of course the thickness of the sheet. For the use of manual methods, the limit is usually in the range between 1 and 1.5 mm.

In addition, the desired edge quality is a criterion for which cutting method is used. If clean and burr-free cuts are to be achieved, one usually has to resort to more elaborate methods.

Possible cutting methods

Various procedures are used for cutting sheet metal and steel sheets:

  • shears
  • Jigsaw or manual hacksaw
  • so-called nibbler (as an attachment for the drill)
  • professional cutting process


The tin snips are the simplest tool, but they also leave bent edges, which you just have to knock, and respectable burrs. Clean cuts are hardly possible with the snips. Sheets that are more than 1 mm thick can hardly be cut with the metal shears.

Jigsaw or manual hacksaw

When sawing with a jigsaw, metal saw blades with as many teeth as possible (clean cuts) are necessary, and you also need to secure metal sheets well. A clean, stable stop is also needed. The speed must be kept low. With a jigsaw and handsaw (much patience required) you can create up to 1.5 mm thick sheets under high noise pollution. Be sure to wear safety goggles!

Nibbler (as an attachment for the drill)

A nibbler is a sheet metal cutting device that also exists as an attachment for a drill or cordless screwdriver. With steel you can create up to 1.8 mm sheets (rather less), with stainless steel you can expect about 1.2 mm maximum sheet thickness that you can cut. It takes a lot of effort, but the result is usually quite clean for thin sheets.

Professional cutting process

For thinner sheets, you can have your sheet metal cut to a folding bench, but you will usually have to resort to the classic steel cutting process for all stronger sheets.

Tips & Tricks

Many roofers have a bending bench for cutting sheet metal in their workshops. Often you can easily ask for a few quick cuts for small money.

Video Board: How-to Cut Sheet Metal - CaNibble