The Different Types of Shears Used for Sheet Metal

In the metal fabrication and manufacturing business, shearing tools and equipment are essential. Naturally, there will be a range of these devices suitable for various types of shearing functions to provide a smooth, accurate, and tight-tolerance finish. 

In this guide, we’ll look at some of the most common shears used in sheet metal. While most of them can cut many types of metal sheets, such as aluminum, steel, and stainless steel, they differ in terms of cutting method and appearance. Continue reading to find out more.

Alligator Shears for Cost-Effectivity

Alligator shears are one of the most common tools for cutting metal sheets and are always helpful in a workshop. As their name suggests, they have a jaw-like structure like an alligator’s mouth. Because of this form factor, these shears are also called “crocodile shears.”

While these may not be the best shears to use if you want accurate and smooth finishes, they are cost-effective for simple functions. They can cut prefinished long metal stocks such as angle bars, rebars, L-beams, etc.

Bench Shears for Smoothness and Efficiency

Depending on the type you get, bench shears can be powered hydraulically or pneumatically. They can either come as small hand shears that can be operated by a single individual or as huge high-power metal shears ideal for cutting thick-walled metal stocks.

These shears are mechanically advantageous, allowing them to cut through various metal types and thicknesses. Depending on your configuration, they can also produce both rough and smooth edges. The larger bench shears can resist increased material stress and still produce the same efficiency.

Throatless Shears for Thin and Lightweight Metals

These shears are ideal for metals that require complex curved cuts or precision-drawn straight lines. They have no limitations like their counterparts, as the metal specimen being cut can easily be moved around the cutting blade.

These tools do not have the “throat” or a component where the metal is usually fed into. This makes it easier to move across the equipment and create a variety of cuts, whether straight, round, or irregular. Due to the lack of a throat, throatless shears can only cut thin and lightweight metals.

Snips for Easier Control and Flexibility

Snips can come as tinner snips or as compound action snips. Tinner snips look like a pair of scissors and are often used to cut mild or low carbon steel. On the other hand, compound action snips are used to modify aluminum mild steel, or stainless steel. This snip has two blades linked together for improved flexibility and mechanical advantages.

Metal Guillotine for Ease of Cutting

An upper and lower blade, hydraulic pistons, compressors, a blank holder, and a clamp are all essential parts of a metal guillotine. The blades may cut or shear metals of various thicknesses. The clamping unit can then be utilized to eject the precision-cut component from the machine once this is complete.

Guillotine shears can be up to 6 meters long and cut through metal sheets as thick as 30 mm. To accommodate curved and asymmetrical designs, the upper blade is additionally inclined to make cutting easier.


Various tools are required in metal fabrication and manufacturing. Each tool is used for a different cut, finish, and types of metals. An expert and experienced steel processor will have a variety of these tools and equipment to produce quality metal products. 

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