Projects involving highly complex and intricate designs require precision metals. The word “precision” refers to the metal’s uniformity in terms of dimension, element composition, and performance during the metal cutting process. One of the best ways to achieve this is to use an advanced cutting setup for the process—however, this can increase the cost of the project, and only someone with years of experience using these advanced machines can assure precision.
In this article, we describe some of the challenges with cutting engineering project supplies yourself and the advantages of using the cutting services of a local metal supplier.
DIY Metal Cutting Challenges
Choosing to cut your engineering project supplies yourself might seem like the fastest and cheapest route; however, there are many challenges to consider. Below, we detail some of the problems that can arise from DIY metal cutting.
When you try to cut metal bars and sheets to size by yourself, it is nearly impossible to avoid producing scrap due to machine malfunctions, human errors, or poor-quality materials. Though it may not seem like much in the short term, the higher material utilization-to-waste ratio will cost you a lot in rework and additional material purchase over time. It will also require you to manage or recycle scraps to overcome losses and free up working space for other activities.
Additional Tools Investment
When you have a specific requirement to meet, such as the bulk cutting of corrugated iron roofing sheets, a new set of tools is required. For example, a manual hacksaw could be ideal for small projects, but not for cutting out custom shapes or tricky angles. Band saws may be required to achieve optimal speed. Likewise, you may also have to invest and maintain other costly equipment, such as metal-air shears, an angle grinder with a cut-off wheel, an oxy-acetylene torch, or a laser cutting machine.
Hazard and Risk
Manual machine cuts could lead to operator injury and other workplace hazards if adequate safety protocols are not followed. These hazards could present as a unique combination of physical hazards such as electrical shocks and thermal burns and chemical hazards, such as the release of toxic gases to the environment. Overexposure to fumes and gases can pose a risk to the eyes and skin of a novice operator. To maintain a safe workplace, it’s essential to employ experienced operators and equip them with advanced personal protective equipment (PPE) kits.
Mechanical and Thermal Distortion
During the localized thermal cutting of metal, a Heat-Affected Zone (HAZ) is formed between a melted metal and the base metal. The area under a HAZ does not melt; rather, it utilizes the absorbed heat to mark a permanent change to the metal’s base molecular structure. It accounts for reduced metal strength, thereby compromising the design of safe applications. Heat-Affected Zones in metals can be reduced by adopting fast and steady welds for minimum heat exposure. It can also be minimized by switching to advanced cutting processes, such as laser cutting or waterjet cutting, that offer heat to a precise location to avoid overheating the surrounding area.
Save Time, Energy, and Money with a Local Metal Supplier
To accelerate your production process and reduce metal waste without having to invest in a costly, time-consuming setup to precisely cut your engineering project supplies, take advantage of a local metal supplier that offers an extensive selection of metal cutting services, including sawing, plasma, oxyfuel, and water jet.
Sawing is suitable for cutting thin metal sheets like aluminum or steel, while hard metals like titanium require water jet cutting to create smooth edges without any mechanical stress. Similarly, plasma cutting works best for thin, non-ferrous metals, and oxyfuel cutting is ideal for ferrous alloys.
Each process has its advantages and disadvantages based on the underlying technology used. Your local metal cutting service provider will help you determine the best cutting choice for your metal.
Precision-Cut Engineering Project Supplies for Any Design
Industrial Metal Service has been offering metal sawing services for more than two decades. We can cut your desired metal plate or bar stock to any dimension. If you have a high volume of requirements for a long-term project, we can schedule a regular delivery.
We are proud of our reputation as a reliable metal supplier for the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Check out our standard inventory of metal stock or our inventory of specialty and exotic metals. We also offer commercial metal recycling pickup services to more efficiently handle high-volume scrap.