Power nibblers question

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Richard_C
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Power nibblers question

Post by Richard_C »

I want to cut some fairly intricate shapes in large c. 1mm mild steel sheet, including some inside curves. I don't need engineering style precision, its for artwork.

Tin snips are OK, but hard work, don't really do inside curves too well and distort the edges a bit (but not so bad it cant be dressed back). My old Goscut is hard work and relatively useless, OK in copper and aluminium. I don't get on too well with jig saws. I had though about a gas torch, did some cutting and welding at an evening class 30+ years ago, but oxy acetylene kit is expensive for the number of times I'd use it and MAPP running costs seem very high.

I have come across nibblers, either self powered or drill attachment, which look like they will do the job. For the amount I would use them a drill attachment would be good and I have some very good Bosch drills to drive them along. BUT, the ones I have seen look to be "too cheap/too good to be true" .

Never seen one in action, don't know anyone who owns on, does anyone here have hands on experience and advice?
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EDC5
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Re: Power nibblers question

Post by EDC5 »

Have you considered a fein mulitool, I think they do blades for sheet metal. I've only used one on wood an plastics but it works well and you can be very precise.

Or actually they have some purpose built tools for sheet metal:

https://fein.com/en_uk/sheet-metal-working/
dnsey
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Re: Power nibblers question

Post by dnsey »

How about an air nibbler? Air tools are generally much more robust than electric versions for the same money. Trouble is if you're like me, once you have the compressor you're liable to get the bug and start collecting tools, whether you need them or not...
Richard_C
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Re: Power nibblers question

Post by Richard_C »

Thanks both. Doubt it is worth getting an air one, a compressor might be nice but for the amount I am likely to use it is questionable. Hadn't thought of a multi tool, I guess with the right blade you can put it on its side and 'steer' it along a line - and it has a myriad of other uses. If I go that route it will likely be Bosch 18v because I have decent drill and impact driver plus 3 Lithium batteries already.

Still thinking.
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Pug_XUD_KeenAmateur
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Re: Power nibblers question

Post by Pug_XUD_KeenAmateur »

is the disliking of Jigsaws due to not having the correct blades for thin steel.

I've successfully used a Jigsaw many times for cutting thin 0.9mm sheet, vibration isn't bad enough to be an issue. Looking at a pack of these* as I write

https://www.cbytools.co.uk/dewalt-dt216 ... lades.html
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white exec
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Re: Power nibblers question

Post by white exec »

Would have thought that for thin metal sheet, a jigsaw blade with tooth pitch of less than 1mm would be needed to prevent 'grabbing' and give smooth cutting - something like the pitch of a junior hacksaw blade.
Tooth pitch needs to be less than the thickness of the material being cut, to prevent the material dropping into the gaps between the teeth.
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Stickyfinger
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Re: Power nibblers question

Post by Stickyfinger »

Richard_C wrote:
18 Oct 2017, 18:34
Thanks both. Doubt it is worth getting an air one, a compressor might be nice but for the amount I am likely to use it is questionable. Hadn't thought of a multi tool, I guess with the right blade you can put it on its side and 'steer' it along a line - and it has a myriad of other uses. If I go that route it will likely be Bosch 18v because I have decent drill and impact driver plus 3 Lithium batteries already.

Still thinking.



IMHO a compressor is endlessly useful ..............one of those things I cannot do without
lexi
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Re: Power nibblers question

Post by lexi »

I have tried or still have most of the methods. I found nibblers to be messy things. Those round shavings got stuck in boots and taken everywhere. The electric shear cutters are cleaner. Air tools, yes got all them. Plasma cutter I find messy too at times. Oxy/acy on a small jewellers torch can be good for cutting, but acy is a problem for domestic.
I was cutting copper sheet today in a leaf pattern and used an array of curved Gilbow snips.
1mm MS on tight radius? Plasma cutter, but you will need practice. Second would be a quality jigsaw, with work clamped proper and the right blade with some lube.
dnsey
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Re: Power nibblers question

Post by dnsey »

Jigsawing sheet metal is, of course, much easier if it's sandwiched between a couple of thin boards. Spray mount comes in handy here to keep everything together, and can be removed with cellulose thinners or similar aftewards.
Richard_C
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Re: Power nibblers question

Post by Richard_C »

Thanks for all the ideas. No one is saying nibblers=magnificent and that of itself it useful to know.

Think I will try again with jigsaw and clamp between thin mdf or ply sheets, few offcuts in garage. Maybe with spray mount. Immediate thought was I'm going to need lots of ply, but thinking it through you only need to sandwich the area you are cutting plus a few inches so no need to do the whole sheet. Can use chainsaw* files to tidy up any inside curves - new chains are so cheap these days I never sharpen them so have files.

Away for a few days, will give it a go when back.

*I keep a chainsaw handy in case any Morgan drivers annoy me. Or maybe I've got a wood burner.