Steel Cutting Basics: Mechanical Cutting, Part 1

Steel Cutting Basics: Mechanical Cutting, Part 2
August 20, 2018
Primer on Galvanneal Steel
September 1, 2018
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Steel Cutting Basics: Mechanical Cutting, Part 1

In another of our recent blogs, we discussed thermal cutting processes for steel and other metal types. Thermal cutting, which involves a heat source to liquify portions of the metal and create a cut, is just one cutting type for various metals.

At Wasatch Steel, we’re here to help with all cutting needs as part of our steel services. Perhaps the most common broad type of metal cutting? Mechanical processes, of which there are several, and involve actual physical processes rather than heating. In this two-part blog, let’s look at some of the simplest mechanical metal cutting processes you’ll be likely to see.


Shearing is a process of physically severing parts of the metal from their previous form. It uses a sharp edge pressed down forcefully onto the cutting area, deforming the sheet of metal to the point where a cut is created.

There are upsides and downsides with shearing. It produces great and precise cuts, but at the same time can also leave a deformed edge due to the rough nature of the procedure. It’s best used for cutting basic sheet metal.

Hole Punching

Also sometimes simply called punching, hole punching is a similar cutting method to shearing in many ways. Rather than using a single broad edge, though, hole punching uses a specifically shaped metal tool (these come in a variety of shapes) with a sharpened edge to create the forceful cut and sever the meal. It’s a common cutting type when manufacturers or workers are looking to impress a certain particular shape into metal.

Production Saw Cutting

One of the most traditional metal cutting formats is production saw cutting, which uses a band saw to create the cut. Saw cutting can be done either horizontally or vertically, and while it takes longer than most other cutting types, it also produces fantastically precise cuts. Moreover, saw cutting is viable with a number of different types and shapes of metal, making it a versatile process. When friction is created by the saw blade contacting the metal, it’s generally soothed using a basic coolant.

For more on mechanical metal cutting methods, or to buy steel online from your top source in Utah, speak to the pros at Wasatch Steel today.