How To Cut Intricate Designs On Sheet Metal?

Metal is a great choice for making DIY crafts that will stand out and last longer than other materials. They must be great, but they can’t be as easy to work with as they sound. To cut the design, you need the right tools and to follow the right steps.

When you try to cut out complicated shapes from sheet metal, the process gets harder. It is also hard to make designs with curves out of metal. In this article, we’ll talk about how to use the right tools to cut intricate designs into sheet metal.

Why do you have to cut complicated designs into metal sheets?

Designs that are intricate are very detailed and have parts that fit together. Also, the outlines are a little hard to follow without getting too close. To get a fine and smooth design on the metal surface, you should cut intricate designs into sheet metal.

Make sure the tool you use to cut out the details of the stencil design on the sheet metal is sharp, and keep yourself safe while you do it. It helps a lot if you use the right tools and follow the right steps.

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What equipment do you need?

Before you can start cutting intricate designs into sheet metal, you need to make sure you have all the tools you need. You may already have some of the tools you need. Here’s a list of the things you’ll need:

Metal Sheets

There are a lot of metals that can’t be used to make things. It can be easier to work with aluminium or silver than it is with stainless steel. Use a brush and copper to work with things that are between hard and soft.

It’s also important to pay attention to the number of gauges. Because the sheet metal will be less stiff when the number of gauges is high. 18 to 20 gauge is enough thickness for use at home. And for study crafts, the best number of metal sheets is 23 to 26 gauge.

Tin Snips

Tin snips are also called aviation snips, and many people use them at home to cut metal sheets. They have two cutting edges that are sharper and stronger. It is a simple tool that requires a lot of patience to use.

Tin snips have different colours for straight, right, and left cuts, which are yellow, red, and green, respectively. If you are left-handed, the green-coded tin snips will work best for you because they cut in a clockwise direction. And the red tin snips cut in the opposite direction of the clock.

The round blade of the tin snips makes them a great tool because they can cut metal sheets in both straight and curved lines. This tool is very useful because it can be used for a wide range of thicknesses. Tin snips can cut things that are thin, like gauge 35, and things that are thick, like gauge 18.

X-Acto Knife

X-Acto is a brand name, and their knives are very popular in the knife business. The X-Acto is not only a sharp knife, but also a very useful tool. This tool might be all you need to cut out complicated designs on metal sheets. But a thin metal sheet will work great with it.

The good thing about it is that it is very fine, and the tip is very sharp, which makes it great for cutting small things precisely. It can also help you make cuts that are straight and give you more control. You can cut out the designs quickly with an X-Acto Knife, but you have to be careful because they are very sharp.

Hole Punch Pliers

Before cutting out details in the metal sheet, you will need to make a pilot hole. And this job will be easier if you have this handy tool. Holes can be made in sheets 30 to 36 gauge thick with a paper punch. When working with thicker sheets, you’ll probably need a drill.

Needle Metal File

Tin snips work well for making curves, but they can make the end of what you cut a little less perfect. At the same time, a needle metal file is a great way to give your edges a smooth finish and keep them looking nice and rounded. Needle metal files can also go through narrow and small spaces.

Knife Mat

If you don’t have a good place to work, you should spend some money on a good cutting mat. The best kind of cutting mat is one that can fix itself. These mats have a slit that sticks back to its original shape. In place of these mats, you can also use plywood.

Sheets of plastic mould
You just need to find a good structure sheet that will make it easy to draw and cut out your template.

Security gear

When you work on metal projects, you need safety gear. It will keep you safe and reduce the chance that you will get hurt. You might push your finger under the tool by accident, or the sharp edges of the metal could cut your finger. Your hands will be safe if you wear thick gloves. And safety goggles will keep flying metal chips out of your eyes. This is important, especially if you use a tool with a motor.

Pencil Or Marker

And this is one of the most common tools we have in our homes. If you have a dark, sharp pencil or marker, you can draw or write on the sheet. But you should find a metal scriber instead. How to Cut Complex Designs into Sheet Metal:
Once you have everything you need to cut the metal, it is time to cut it. But you should learn the process before you start using your tools on the metal. Here’s how to cut complicated designs out of sheet metal:

Step 1: Prepare

The first step in the process of cutting the design out of sheet metal is to get ready. Gather all the tools you’ll need and set up your workspace. So that the metal sheet fits right, the surface should be big enough and strong enough. If you don’t have a table, you can put the cutting mat on any flat surface.

Step 2: Make stencils

Now, use a pencil to draw your design over a plastic or cardstock paper mould. Use a ruler to make straight lines, or if you can, do it by hand. Once you’re happy with the design you drew, use the X-Acto knife to cut out the details from the plastic mould plate or cardstock paper. Your stencil or template is what you end up with.

Step 3: Plan the trace

Put your metal sheet flat on a surface that is free of clutter. Now, put the template or stencil on top of the sheet of metal and carefully follow the design to transfer it to the surface of the metal. Use a pencil, a marker, or a metal scriber here. Then, use freehand to connect the lines to make the design look smooth.

Step 4: Get ready to cut

You’re getting closer and closer to cutting, so put on your safety gear. Before cutting the sheet metal, you must wear safety glasses and gloves. It’s also helpful to wear an apron, so if you find one, put it on.

Use hole punch pliers to make a hole inside the design where you want to cut out. You will make a hole, which will be the starting point for cutting the designs. You will make different holes for alternating patterns. Clamping is a good idea when using a drill to stop the sheet from spinning.

Step 5: Cut, snip, or saw it.

Put a small piece of the tin that you cut off the open end of the snip into the hole. Now start cutting by squeezing and letting go of the handle as you cut through a stack of paper sheets. Stay true to your stencils until the end. If you use a sharp blade, the sheet may curl up a bit.

Now, start the process by cutting out the design with an X-Acto knife. When cutting through the lines, use light pressure. If you want to use a jeweller saw instead of tin snips, unscrew one end and pull out the blade.

Now, cut out the details by following the lines you made with the stencil. Make sure the tension on the saw is right and that you have a lubricant like beeswax to make the flow smooth.

Step 6: Refine

To make something look nice, you need to use a metal file of the right size and shape to smooth out the rough edges. You can use a round file to make a curve, and a triangular file to make a corner with a sharp angle.

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Advice on how to cut out complicated shapes

Here are some important things to remember when cutting out complicated designs:

  • Making stencils is the best way to get a smooth design on a metal sheet.
  • Using a hole puncher will give you a place to start and make the job easier than it was before.
  • To get a nice finish, you need tools that are sharp, well-made, and accurate.
  • Using safety gear is important to avoid getting hurt when it’s not necessary.
  • Bring a sharp needle metal to cut out the details and get sharp edges.

Questions People Usually Ask (FAQ)

How do you cut sheet metal with a sharp edge?

When cutting sheet metal, the first step is to line up the snips with the line you want to cut. Tin snips are mostly used to cut thin sheets of metal like tin, brass, stainless steel, and others. Make sure you have on all the safety gear before you start cutting to avoid getting hurt.

Can you use scissors to cut sheet metal?

Yes, you can use scissors to cut sheet metal, but not real scissors. Tin snips are sharp enough and work like scissors. If you need to cut a lot of straight lines, you should buy tin snips, which can cut metal as easily as paper. Also, you can use long blades to cut straight lines with a smooth edge.

How do you cut metal with a blade?

The best blades for cutting iron-based metals, like cast iron or stainless steel, are diamond blades and ferrous blades. And if you want to cut through soft metals like copper or aluminium, you should use a non-ferrous blade. On the other hand, diamond blades cut both metals well, making them a better choice for cutting metals.

Should I wear any safety gear while cutting out the designs?

When cutting intricate designs into the metal sheet, you do need to wear safety gear. You could cut your fingers with the sheet metal cutter, or the sharp edge of the metal could cut your finger. So, you need to wear gloves when working on a metal project.

To protect your eyes, you should also wear safety goggles. When you need to drill into metal, you should wear eye protection so that metal chips don’t hurt your eyes.


From reading the whole article, you’ve learned a lot, such as how to cut intricate designs out of metal sheets, which tools are the most useful, and a few tips for cutting them easily. Before you get everything else you need, you should probably bring your safety tools.

If you carefully choose all the gears for cutting the design and carefully follow our steps for cutting, you shouldn’t have any trouble cutting the metal sheet. We hope this article helped you learn something important about how to cut complicated designs into metal sheets.

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