Sheet metal shearing, also called sheet metal cutting, describes a technique that forces metal to separate. Typically, designers and engineers use a shearing force, or shearing process, that is so strong that the stress overwhelms the material’s strength, cutting the metal. A wide range of materials are good for shearing:

  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminum
  • Mild steel

A shear machine, also called a power shear or a squaring shear, is best for shearing. Electric, pneumatic, hydraulic, or manual power (through hand and foot) operates the machine. Support arms keep the sheet of metal stable so the shearing process maintains an accurate cut across the piece.

Two Approaches to Shearing

There are two approaches to shearing. One tool is set above the metal, and the other is placed below. The tools could be upper or lower blades, or they could be a punch and die set. Either way, the above tool quickly strikes down onto the sheet metal that is directly on the lower tool. This breaks the metal, shearing it into two pieces. The blades, available in high-carbon steel as well as low alloy steel, are normally designed with a square edge instead of a knife edge.

Using a variety of shearing methods, engineers and designers can transform any 2D geometry into real-life cutouts and profiles. Shearing doesn’t result in a smooth-cut edge, so many people use shearing in conjunction with other techniques to develop their final item. Popular techniques include piercing, perforating, notching, lancing, dinking, shaving, and more to create a final, custom-made product.

Sheet metal shearing can be used for:

  • Strip
  • Plate
  • Bar
  • Sheet
  • Angle stock

Bar and angle cuts can be done for a specific length, and customized pieces can be made in a variety of shapes.

Shearing is the choice of many operators and designers because it keeps cut lines straight on flat sheet stock, places metal directly between blades for precision and accuracy, gives metal a slightly burred or deformed edge, and cuts small lengths of materials, decreasing the shearing force that’s needed on a project.

Sheet Metal Shearing at S&B Metal Products

S&B Metal Products has a team of experienced professionals who have a variety of skills, including hands-on knowledge about sheet metal shearing. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you with your metal project!