Last Updated On February 10, 2023
Do you find metal cutting challenging? Tired of buying expensive power tools every time you need to cut metal? Worry not, there are some traditional ways of cutting metal as well.
Yes, you can try cutting metal without any power tool. With some simple and available hand tools like a utility knife, hacksaw, bench shear, or tin snips, it’s very much possible to slice metal workpieces pretty decently.
But you need to be skilled enough to make the cuts accurately with these metal cutting tools. Being an amateur, you might not know the exact cutting process without any strong power tool at hand.
So, let’s dig deeper in this regard to know how to cut metal at home without tools.
How to Cut Metal at Home without Tools
Before trying to cut metal without any strong power tools, you need to figure out whether it’s thick metal or thin metal. Also, cutting length, the number of cuts, budget, cutting expertise, etc. play a vital role in deciding on the cutting process with the metal cutting hand tools.
Below, we have described the four most accessible ways of cutting metal without any rotary tool but using the traditional metal cutting tools at home.
1. Utility Knife
If you don’t own a power tool already, no need to buy it. Being a DIYer, you must have a utility knife at home, right? That’s it, you are ready to cut metal.
To be honest, it’s one of the most commonly available metal cutting hand tools at home. Also, it’s one of the most easy-to-use tools for cutting metal stock.
In terms of cutting light gauge metal stock, a utility knife would be more than enough. If you can place the knife correctly in a straight line, it will slice thin aluminum panels without being associated with any power tool.
Basically, it’s a quick way of cutting aluminum or other thin metal.
If you prefer customized metal cutting, a metal utility knife comes in very handy. Even more, you can use it resorted to a circular saw or a miter saw for cutting sheet metal.
An often-overlooked advantage of this hand tool is to trim up metal studs for scoring the metal surface.
However, it’s a bit risky to cut metal with a metal utility knife. Often the metal cutting blade of the knife is slipped.
That’s why you need to be very careful not to cause any major accidents due to the blade slipping.
To avoid such protection hazards, always wear gloves and work alone where nobody is within the blade’s reach.
2. Tin Snips
Need to pierce sheet metal in a single attempt, that too without any power tools? Nothing comes closer to tin snips on that note.
Whether it’s mild steel, hardened steel, or you need to cut metal pipe, rely on tin snips for an edgeless metal cutting experience.
The best part of this tool is the user convenience. It’s extremely easy to use
just like scissors. Even a novice can operate the tool, thanks to its sharp jaws.
Because of the proper blade at the jaws, they don’t cut metal with sharp edges. And as they avoid providing a rough edge in sheet metal, they are one of the most favorite metal cutting hand tools even for the expert craft masters.
On the same note, tin snips offer one of the most versatile ways to cut metal without power tools. Though you need both left and right cutting snips for better results.
But no worries, they do come in a set. And therefore, you are even able to excel in the ways to cut metal with curves. With the correct metal cutting blade, it doesn’t provide more metal chips and cuts sheet metal pretty efficiently.
On a different note, tin snips have disadvantages too. They get dull too quickly and there’s no way to retrieve the tools.
In that way, tin snips are way too expensive in the sense that they need frequent replacement.
But on the other hand, the set of both left and right cutting snips doesn’t cost much. And you don’t need additional power tools like circular saws or band saws.
So, if you don’t want to invest in power tools at the initial stage of metal cutting, go for it to cut sheet metal or thin gauge steel. The sharp jaws are its USP after all.
In cutting light gauge metal stock, a hacksaw comes in pretty convenient. They have pretty sharp metal cutting blades to even pierce sheet metal.
One major plus for a hacksaw is that it’s a pretty common tool in every DIYer’s arsenal. Like the tin snips, it also offers one of the smoothest ways to cut sheet metal and thin gauge steel.
Usually, an amateur prefers cutting metal without power tools at the beginning until they excel in the cutting process.
As maintaining saw blades is not everyone’s cup of tea, they don’t want to go for a circular saw or a miter saw.
On that note, hacksaws are incomparable as they don’t need any special skill to pierce sheet metal.
However, the performance in the metal cutting process entirely depends on the saw blade type.
Coming with an interchangeable blade setup, it’s a bit tricky to make a smoother cut while attempting to slice sheet metal or bolt with a hacksaw blade.
And please remember that a hacksaw metal cutting blade provides messier cuts than other tools.
Therefore, you need to smoothen the rough edge once you are done with the cut.
But to make it work properly, all you need is a bit of extra elbow grease. As the only tool for cutting bolts or cutting wood, the saw blade is sharp enough though.
Overall, it’s a decent metal cutting tool for beginners without much difficulty. With a bit of cautiousness, you can create straight lines as well.
Without power tools like a circular saw or a miter saw, that surely is a wonderful amenity.
4. Bench Shear
Lastly, we would recommend bench shear if you need to cut unlimited sheet metal at a time. This is such a bench-mounted tool that comes quite handy while cutting up to 10 gauge metal pretty smoothly.
Before you begin cutting, just make sure to hold the sheet steadily not to make any inaccurate cuts.
Another great add-on of this bench-mounted tool to cut sheet metal is the upward-facing handle. Thanks to that, any metal worker, novice to pro, can handle the tool smartly.
Again, you will be blown away by the accuracy rate of this tool. It will not waste even an ounce of the metal. Compared to a circular saw, that’s truly commendable.
Be it cutting or forming thick metal or thin metal, there is no other tool that can stand with this bench-mounted tool especially, in terms of expanded sheet metal.
But you need to be careful enough not to hurt yourself. The bench shear blade is designed very sharp to cut through even work gloves. So, keep your fingers away from the cut line.
Unlike the hacksaw, the bench shear doesn’t require extra elbow grease in shaping thin metals but to hold the metal workpiece perfectly so that it cannot move.
Before you begin cutting, hold the sheet metal tightly in place. Though you don’t face the blade slipping issue here while cutting steel.
Also, thanks to the efficiency to cut steel, no metal chips are found that waste even an ounce of the sheet.
Cutting metal without power tools is definitely challenging but not impossible. With the correct blade, you can get your job done with some basic hand tools at home.
All you need is the proper guideline and some proven ways to cut metal with the available DIY apparatus. Also, wear gloves and safety glasses for your own security during metal cutting.
Unlike professional power tools such as circular saws, miter saws, or band saws, these are not for high-speed cuts. But rest assured that they won’t disappoint you once you begin cutting.
Above we described the four popular ways of how to cut metal at home without tools, more particularly, without any power tool. Which is your favorite method among them? Let us know through your comments below.
This is Ahmed Shuvo, an enthusiastic tool enthusiast with a passion for saws, especially circular saws and miter saws. I have written blog posts and conducted research on the proper use and maintenance of these tools. I am also a DIYer who enjoys making wooden projects and always striving to improve my skills. I am confident in my expertise and eager to contribute to the growth of this industry through my writing.