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  • Tool options for cutting thin metals?

    I am still cutting away parts of the old rusty floor pan in my car and was using an angle grinder with a cut-off blade. This obviously works great but it isn't the best for getting into tighter areas. Also, the fact that it's a 5" disc means that it's harder to get an accurate cut if i only want to cut out a 1" section. An air cut off tool isn't an option for me since my air compressor is only an 8gallon I wish i could upgrade but unfortunately that's not an option yet either!
    My question is this: Are there any other tools out there which could cut through 20gauge to 3/16?
    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Pneumatic body saw, saws-all, jig saw, die grinder with smaller diameter cut of wheels, pneumatic cut off tool with the smaller dia wheels.
    Or any combination of the above. Even a dremel and small cut off wheels for the corners, Dremel now has a small jig saw head attachment that will work. they had them at the Home Despot.
    I have cut some 1"x 5/32" angle with mine.
    glen, If your not on the edge, your wasting space

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    • #3
      Thanks PT! I have checked out the die grinders online and may go with that!

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      • #4
        Tip to all. Never throw out your used cut off wheels. They may be too small for todays project but may be perfect for one down the road...Bob
        Bob Wright

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sammy View Post
          Thanks PT! I have checked out the die grinders online and may go with that!
          With only 8 gallons of air tank you may want to look for an electric die grinder. I have a 60 gallon air tank and still wish I had more when I get my die grinders out.

          Just a suggestion.
          Blondie (Owner C & S Automotive)

          Colt the original point & click interface!

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          • #6
            I though about an electric one as well, but couldn't seem to find any! Do you know where they sell them? The other thing is that some die grinders don't require too much CFM. I would definately have to check it though since 8 gallons isn't much when you're talking compressed air!

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            • #7
              Nibblers and shears can be found pneumatic as well as electric and are clean cutters.

              Maybe down the road when you have a compressor capable of operating, you could look at a plasma cutter or get one now and use a bottle of Nitrogen instead of compressed air!

              How about a reciprocating saw, (like a pneumatic body saw), with an abrasive blade? There are also small diameter battery powered circular saws by Makita, DeWalt, Porter Cable, Hitachi and others that work well too!

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              • #8
                Its a floor pan........ Not the front edge of the hood, or a fender..
                When you're done, it'll be covered with a mat or carpet anyway.
                Just cut as close as ya can with what ya got, and hammer down the rough edges.
                Overlay the new piece(s) on top of what's left & make 'em fit.

                Squirt a few lines of 'dukey' in between the 2...
                "Zap" the new metal down with rivets and/or welding wire, and move on..

                Basically:
                Don't make extra work for yourself----
                The world is already full other folks more than willing to do that for ya.
                .
                Last edited by Winger Ed.; 07-17-2010, 05:13 AM.
                "Gone are the days of wooden ships, and Iron men.
                I doubt we'll see either of their likes again".

                Circa 1920.
                Author:
                Unknown US Coast Guard unit Commander.

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                • #9
                  You will be hard pressed to find any pnuematic die grinder that your 8 gallon compressor will keep up with. It will run it breifly, but then will have to pump up again and again. This makes for a short life on these small compressors. An electric die grinder will work, but they are big. Not the best choice for small spots. In your situation, I'd probably get a jigsaw with a metal blade or a nibbler. Powered nibblers take some practice to master. There are hand powered nibblers that will cut the thin stuff, ( 18-20 ga.). I'd be tempted to save up for a bigger compressor as one of my next investments. The pnuematic tools that the pro body guys use for this work are really made for tight spots and offer fewer comprimises. Most of the pro body guys I know are using plasma cutters for patch work. Before that they were using air nibblers and air cutoff wheels.
                  Sometimes there's no second chances.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Winger Ed. View Post
                    Its a floor pan........ Not the front edge of the hood, or a fender..
                    When you're done, it'll be covered with a mat or carpet anyway.
                    Just cut as close as ya can with what ya got, and hammer down the rough edges.
                    Overlay the new piece(s) on top of what's left & make 'em fit.

                    Squirt a few lines of 'dukey' in between the 2...
                    "Zap" the new metal down with rivets and/or welding wire, and move on..

                    Basically:
                    Don't make extra work for yourself----
                    The world is already full other folks more than willing to do that for ya.
                    .
                    Winger, I concur !
                    You took the words right out of my mouth !!!!!!!

                    ............ Norm
                    www.normsmobilewelding.blogspot.com

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sammy View Post
                      I though about an electric one as well, but couldn't seem to find any! Do you know where they sell them?
                      Acklands, has a Makita one on sale right now. Hot summer savings
                      you'll have to go to current flyers and click on the hot summer savings.
                      page 6, it ain't cheap but it'll do the trick.
                      I have the same one but with a locking slide switch (not the locking paddle switch), works great.
                      Princess Auto has a power fist version for cheap, I used to own one but it tried to kill me the first time I used it. The case literally split in half (not sure if it was supposed to be glued as there was no place that it had any fasteners).
                      Now that's bad enough but the external switch was just a plastic sliding thing that actuated the electric switch inside.... unfortunately the electric switch was on one half while the motor and plastic slide switch was in the other half. What does that mean? Well I had one half in each hand, this thing was buzzing full bore and I couldn't shut it off unless I pulled the two halves apart and broke the wires between the switch and the motor. The problem was I wasn't finished using it and it was Friday night, the customer was coming to pick up the job Saturday morning so I had no time to get a replacement. I somehow managed to get the cord pulled out of the receptacle and struggled through the rest of the job with it. Then it sat in my truck while I pondered returning it for a new one.
                      After a week I decided my life was worth FAR more than trying to save $100, so I bought the Makita and never looked back.
                      I just went on Princess Auto's website... they don't sell them anymore... I wonder why?!
                      Last edited by c wagner; 07-17-2010, 08:23 AM. Reason: Fixing link.
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                      at work:
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                      Retired:Shopmaster 300 with a HF-251

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Winger Ed. View Post
                        Its a floor pan........ Not the front edge of the hood, or a fender..
                        When you're done, it'll be covered with a mat or carpet anyway.
                        Just cut as close as ya can with what ya got, and hammer down the rough edges.
                        Overlay the new piece(s) on top of what's left & make 'em fit.

                        Squirt a few lines of 'dukey' in between the 2...
                        "Zap" the new metal down with rivets and/or welding wire, and move on..

                        Basically:
                        Don't make extra work for yourself----
                        The world is already full other folks more than willing to do that for ya.
                        .
                        Thats a good point you have there! The only problem is that some spaces are so tight that a 5"grinder won't even get in to make a proper cut where you want it to! I can do most of it with the grinder but i'll still check out options for a smaller tool.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by c wagner View Post
                          Acklands, has a Makita one on sale right now. Hot summer savings
                          you'll have to go to current flyers and click on the hot summer savings.
                          page 6, it ain't cheap but it'll do the trick.
                          I have the same one but with a locking slide switch (not the locking paddle switch), works great.
                          Princess Auto has a power fist version for cheap, I used to own one but it tried to kill me the first time I used it. The case literally split in half (not sure if it was supposed to be glued as there was no place that it had any fasteners).
                          Now that's bad enough but the external switch was just a plastic sliding thing that actuated the electric switch inside.... unfortunately the electric switch was on one half while the motor and plastic slide switch was in the other half. What does that mean? Well I had one half in each hand, this thing was buzzing full bore and I couldn't shut it off unless I pulled the two halves apart and broke the wires between the switch and the motor. The problem was I wasn't finished using it and it was Friday night, the customer was coming to pick up the job Saturday morning so I had no time to get a replacement. I somehow managed to get the cord pulled out of the receptacle and struggled through the rest of the job with it. Then it sat in my truck while I pondered returning it for a new one.
                          After a week I decided my life was worth FAR more than trying to save $100, so I bought the Makita and never looked back.
                          I just went on Princess Auto's website... they don't sell them anymore... I wonder why?!
                          Thanks for that! The price is kinda high for a guy working a part time summer job and just paying for a brand new welder, but as you say, its worth it to go with a decent tool first time and not cheap out! This is my experience as well! You're never happy with a piece of [email protected] tool which doesn't work like it says it does!
                          BTW, how do the electric die grinders cope with cutting? Do they eat through it like an angle grinder does?

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