Large sheet metal parts are essential for a wide range of projects. They are commonly used in home improvement, construction, industrial manufacturing, and other commercial uses. While these elements can significantly improve your project’s appearance, they often present unique challenges when cutting. In addition, this process is often responsible for various defects that can negatively impact the final results. Let’s discuss five of the most common sheet metal shearing mistakes and the most effective ways to avoid them.

1. Burred Edges

Burred edges are a common shearing defect that occurs when the sheet metal to be cut has burrs created during the fabrication process. The burrs can occur in different locations throughout the part and can make it difficult to properly align the material for cutting. The burr can also result in chipping or cracking during the process, which can make the burr appear like a sharp edge.

Prevention: Before cutting the sheet metal, inspect the part to ensure there are no preexisting burrs or edges that could assist in the shearing process. If a burr exists, you can create a burr removal tool, run the burred edge through a metal grinder or use a power tool with a metal-cutting disc, such as a disc grinder, to remove the burrs.

2. Twisting

Twisting is another common shearing defect that occurs when the sheet metal is not properly aligned when the cut is initiated. The twisting of the metal can pull the metal into the blade, leading to burr creation, chipping, or cracking of the sheet metal.

Prevention: The best way to prevent twisting is to properly align the sheet metal before initiating the shearing process. You can do so manually, with the aid of a straight edge, or by using a metal straight edge guide to improve the alignment of the metal and prevent twisting.

3. Chipping

Chipping occurs when the blade of the cutting tool, such as a plasma cutter, shears through the metal and into the metal surface, which can result in a chip being removed from the metal and the metal becoming weakened at that location.

Prevention: Begin the shearing process with the metal at a low speed and slowly increase the speed to complete the cut in order to prevent chipping or cracking. You can also use a softer material grade, or you can use a harder material grade but increase the amperage to ensure the cutting material is sheared through the metal at a lower velocity.

4. Deformed Edges

Deformed edges can occur when the sheet metal is not properly aligned for the cutting process. The edge of the sheet metal is often sheared as a result of the cutting tool attempting to follow the misaligned material.

Prevention: Use straight edges to properly align the sheet metal for the cutting process. In addition, ensure that the sheet metal is appropriately prepared before attempting to cut the metal. This will reduce the likelihood of misalignment.

5. Burn Marks

Burn marks are caused by cutting a material too rapidly or using an incorrectly set amperage. This can result in the sheet metal being overheated and becoming discolored.

Prevention: Always begin the cutting process at a low speed and gradually increase the speed to prevent overheating the metal. Also, use a material that is suited to a specific amperage range to ensure the amperage is set correctly and the metal is not overheated.


As you can see, shearing is an integral part of many projects. It can significantly improve the final product and its appearance. However, it can also lead to a number of defects that can negatively impact the final result. By preventing these defects and mistakes, you can significantly improve the overall quality of your shearing projects.

KGS Steel is a family-owned and operated steel processor and distributor that’s been serving clients since 1985. As experts when it comes to steel manufacturing and distribution, we offer a full line of carbon steel products and processing facilities. Contact us today to learn more about our services.