Notice the clockwise and counterclockwise directions of the curved starting cuts (Photos 1A and 2). Straight-cutting compound snips work best for cutting thick or doubled-up sheet metal. Designed to cut 18-gauge cold-rolled or 23-gauge stainless steel. Tin snips. Cut a round duct from the left side with red-handled compound snips. Keep the top blade aligned parallel to the cutting line to cut a straight line around the duct. But there is a RIGHT way to do it! Punch a starter hole for a circular cutout with a straight-blade screwdriver. Don’t worry, if you are a left-hand, cranked tin snip are perfect for you. But when you come to the thicker locking seam, you’ll need the extra leverage of compound snips. This is a great video to watch for some technique ideas. It is not so much about what “side” or “hand” but it’s more about what side the off cut (scrap) will be going. Compound snips, also called aviation snips, are color coded. Aviation snips are often sold in sets of three, with each snip being designed for a different cutting purpose, which we’ll explain in the next section. Now let’s get into the details. And the long blades make it easy to cut straight and leave a smooth edge. Once again, you may need a hacksaw to cut the thick seam or use the technique shown in Photo 3. Whatever snips you buy, buy high-quality. This video is quite helpful. There are many kinds of tin snips, like “aviation snips,” that are named after their importance in the manufacturing of planes and other aircraft. They resemble a large pair of safety scissors, except with roomy handles meant for gloved hands. Having steady, consistent cuts will make your lines smoother and straighter, or properly curved. It cuts metal almost as easily as a scissors cuts paper. With that, while installing your new metal roofing a set of tin snips will do you. They’re workhorses and get the job done, but you’ll work harder with them. Most of our DIY customers successfully use them. Step #2 Put Metal … But we’ll also indicate the best tin snips to use for each type of cut we show. You’ll be glad you did. Then use the technique shown in Photos 1A and 2 depending on which color snips you’re using. Here is the step-by-step process for cutting tin and corrugated metal roofing: Plan and Mark Your Cuts. Here is the step-by-step process for cutting tin and corrugated metal roofing: Plan and Mark Your Cuts. Photo 3 shows how to cut through thick metal. With proper tool selection you can do it with ease. Green snips are designed to cut clockwise curves and red snips to cut counterclockwise curves. Long, straight cuts are easier to make with large tin snips. While you can cut down the middle of a large sheet of metal, aviation snips are best for narrow strip removal. Use this snips if you’re left-handed or in tight quarters. Tin sheets are lightweight, easy to maneuver, flexible and soft – you can cut it manually using snips or by using electric tools like turbo shears, nibblers or grinders. Step 2: Cutting the metal. Longer tin snips and compound snips are best for heavy corrugated metal. Green aviation snips cutting a right-leaning curved cut. Before you start cutting the “real” material for your job, try doing some practice cuts. Aviation sips are made with a double pivot and are spring-loaded, with a safety lock on them. Sharp blades are important for this too. Compound snips have added leverage in them, making them well-suited to heavier-gauge metals, particularly things like ducts and seams. Rough edges happen – that’s what trim is for! We highly recommend reading this article and watching the videos before you start snipping away at your new metal roof panels. If you’re not sure about the blade for your project, feel free to call our customer service line for some advice. Home Tools, Gear & Equipment Tools & Supplies, By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine. This is true of off-set snips as well; it doesn’t matter where the handles point, it matters that the blades are perpendicular to the cut, otherwise the metal will catch in the blades and you’ll damage the metal… and maybe your snips too. When you’re covering your cuts with flashing and such, it’s NOT NECESSARY to sweat for a pretty cut line. The metal sheets used to form the roof need to be cut to fit your roof before you can install them, but fortunately, this is easy to do with a few different tools. The off cut (scrap) will be on the right side of the cut. Snips are designed to cut about 1/4″ of material at a time. To compensate for how metal may curve or bend, cut a strip out where you use red snips for one side and green snips on the other, cutting 2 inches at a time on alternating sides – so, two inches up the right side, two inches up the left. Punch a starter hole for a circular cutout with a straight-blade screwdriver. So why do you need a red and green one? However, cutting metal roofing is easy if done using the right metal roof … Tin snips function like scissors for cutting metal panels. Then when the time comes you can decide if it’s worth investing in another pair of snips to simplify your job. White handles or a white strip can indicate a seaming or crimping tool. Compound snips are designed more for leverage and maneuverability than for straight cutting. Always have the snips blades perpendicular to the metal sheet you are cutting. Sheet metal edges are razor sharp. Tin snips are best suited for short cuts on soft metals. For most beginners, learning how to cut a metal roof may seem intimidating, and any slight mistake when using the tin snips can cause injury. Make sure the second pass is done with the lower jaw facing out toward wherever the off-cut will be, so the waste side curls up, and the working side of the metal doesn’t bend. In the end, the important thing is to make sure you’ve got a sturdy, strong pair of snips graded to the metal thickness you’re working with. How to Cut Metal Roofing. Use this technique if you’re right-handed or in tight quarters. If you’re straining to make cuts, it’ll result in chunks or curves in the metal, which isn’t ideal. This lets the off cut roll up as intended, and improves the quality of the cut edge. Mark round ducts by measuring in from the end at intervals and drawing a broken line with a permanent marking pen. That single pivot and less complicated construction means they can last decades if kept sharp. Even if you succeed, the resulting hole will probably have a ragged edge. However, DIY’ers will generally want to use basic tools – an not have to invest big money in tools that may get used for only a single project. Maintenance & Repairs, Metal Roofing Installation. Follow the natural curve of the snips while you cut. But you don’t have to be a tinsmith to cut sheet metal successfully. This rough cut then can be easily cleaned up by a second, easier pass with your tin snips. If you’re using compound snips, open and close the jaws fully with each stroke to maximize the length of the cut. 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