From large ships to the smallest of engine parts, metal fabrication requires a wide range of skills and equipment. It has been used for centuries, but now, with technology, so much more is possible but even with these new sophisticated technologies some of the basic processes are still so viable. One of those processes is that of metal shearing.

What is Shearing?

Shearing is a process that cuts stock metal sheets, bar or angles without the creation of chips, burning, or melting. It produces a straight line cut to separate a piece of a metal sheet through a force of aciotion much like that of scissors through paper. Although the principle is basic the process of metal shearing can be detailed.

How Does the Shearing Process Work?

Metal shearing is basically what it sounds like. The shearing process makes straight cuts separating larger sheets and pieces of material into smaller ones sized exactly for a particular use. If you need your finished parts to have a precise shape, you would need to process the material further in other operations such as laser cutting, plasma or punching operations. Shearing operations can be performed on sheet steel, bar stock, rods and angle sections as long as they are not too thick or hollow. 

The metal is sheared between two blades, sort of like scissors. The top blade is usually mounted at an angle to the bottom blade. This angle is what is known as the “Rake Angle” allows the blade to be introduced only to a small segment of the material at any given time. Without “Rake Angle” on a shear blade the tonnage required to separate a 10’ wide sheet would be enormous  making the shear far too costly and the site requirements overbearing. 

In the process of metal shearing, the material is held down flat and the top blade lowered onto the surface. As the blade touches the metal it uses pressure to push it down over the lower blade. A gap (blade gap) between upper and lower blades leaves room for the metal to fracture. The bottom blade typically remains fixed while the top blade is bright down with force. The cut is made from one end to the other (a benefit of the rake angle), which cuts down on the force needed to cut it all at once. 

8 Top Benefits of Shearing

There are plenty of benefits of shearing. Here are 8 of our favorites. 

  1. Little to no waste, so no loss of material
  2. No excess chips or debris
  3. Great for softer metals
  4. Straight edges
  5. Cost-effective for high-output operations producing thousands of pieces per hour
  6. Blades are set at angles, which means less force is needed
  7. Can cut small lengths of material at a time
  8. Cleaner cuts with little to no burr

What Type of Shearing Tools Can You Use?

There several different shearing tools available. 

  1. Alligator Shear

Powered by a hydraulic cylinder and uses a hinged jaw for cutting. The hinged jaw holds the metal in place while it is being cut. It is inexpensive, strong, and durable. An Alligator Shear is used mostly in the processing of scrap metals. 

  1. Metal Guillotine 

A guillotine style shear is made up of upper and lower blades, a table for shearing, and holding and gauging devices. The metal is held in place and the blade is brought down. It is also inexpensive to use and allows you to work quickly providing clean and accurate cuts. This is the most common shear found in metal fabrication shops. 

  1. Bench Shear

Mounted on a bench, it can cut shapes and it can be used to cut round, square, and angles shapes. It can handle larger pieces of metal and makes clean cuts. 

  1. Throatless Shears

Great for making straight, curved, or irregular cuts. The throatless shear is different from the other models on this list because its design allows for the cutting material to be freely moved around.

  1. Snips

There are handheld tools and have the advantage of mobility. There are several different types of snips that enable you to make many different cuts and patterns. They are labor-intensive, though. 

  1. Nibblers

Similar to snips, nibblers tend to work off of the punch and die method. They nibble at the metal and are great due to their robustness and durability. They can produce distortion-free cuts, speed, and low force feed.

New and used Equipment

Here at Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales, we have new and used machines to meet all your needs. If we don’t have it, we can get it. There are manual, hydraulic, electric, and computer programmable machines available. We can offer you any solution from any manufacturer to fit your specific and unique manufacturing needs, and budget.

Browse our inventory of high-quality shearing tools. If you can’t find what you are looking for, just ask us. We have 40 years of connections to help you find the exact piece of equipment you need. 

We offer new and used equipment, financing, brokerage services and so much more. We can always guide you in the right direction when it comes to machinery sales. Contact us today with your questions, suggestions or to talk to our sales team. 

Shear Machinery Inventory