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  #1  
Old 07-16-2015, 12:30 AM
rightrudder rightrudder is offline
 
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Location: Laguna Hills, CA
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Default Air nibbler or air shears?

Finally! A Harbor Freight store opened near my place, and I have to christen it tomorrow.

I'm cutting canopy skirts out of 0.032 aluminum sheet, and I need to know the preferred air tool in terms of ease of use and minimal distortion. Anybody want to weigh in on nibbler vs. shears? I've cut aluminum before with aviation snips, but they tend to tweak the edges as they cut. Thanks!!
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  #2  
Old 07-16-2015, 01:12 AM
Bartman Bartman is offline
 
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Default shears

one of the better ways is to use Beverly shears. Beverly is the best brand less expensive ones from eastwood tool co.
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  #3  
Old 07-16-2015, 04:33 AM
RogerG RogerG is offline
 
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Location: Lubbock, TX
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I find both Nibbler, and Air shear to be useful tools, and cut outside the line with either then file.

Nibbler is harder to see the line but cuts curves better than air shear. The air shear cuts straight lines and gives you a better aim point for following a line, but really does not like curves.

An air file from HF is a good compliment for both tools, and is very inexpensive.
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  #4  
Old 07-16-2015, 08:45 AM
RV Jerry RV Jerry is offline
 
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Location: Chino, CA
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Cut off wheel in die grinder works good for cutting iregular shapes without distortion (same one as used for cutting plexi) you need to file burrs when done
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  #5  
Old 07-16-2015, 09:30 AM
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az_gila az_gila is online now
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RV Jerry View Post
Cut off wheel in die grinder works good for cutting iregular shapes without distortion (same one as used for cutting plexi) you need to file burrs when done
A cutoff wheel in a small, straight die grinder to get within 1/16 to 1/32 and then a 2 inch disk sander in an small angle grinder to get it down to the line.

You don't needs lots of power, so these two small ones will do the job...

http://www.harborfreight.com/air-ang...der-32046.html
http://www.harborfreight.com/1-4-qua...der-52847.html

They both have a rear exhaust which keeps the slightly oily 'used' air off your work.
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  #6  
Old 07-16-2015, 12:20 PM
alpinelakespilot2000 alpinelakespilot2000 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rightrudder View Post
Anybody want to weigh in on nibbler vs. shears? I've cut aluminum before with aviation snips, but they tend to tweak the edges as they cut. Thanks!!
Neither. A bandsaw for .032 sheet assuming you can get the piece to fit in the bandsaw. the skirts should fit no problem.

There were times in my build where a nibbler was nice to have (cutting out panel especially) but I never saw a need for anything other than hand shears.
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  #7  
Old 07-16-2015, 12:32 PM
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N941WR N941WR is offline
 
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Location: SC
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My preference is a body saw.
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  #8  
Old 07-16-2015, 02:23 PM
BillL BillL is offline
 
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Location: Central IL
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Many/all of the above will work. A lot depends on the precision of the line, and distortion of the piece. I have a nibbler, reciprocating saws of all kinds, a third finger hand shear, and a bandsaw. This part is less than 3" wide. You want relatively straight, and very flat.

I would use the bandsaw. I set up a rip fence and use it for this purpose all the time. With properly adjusted blade guides, and not fancy ones either, it will make a relatively accurate, straight cut. I then use the coarse scotchbrite wheel, then a file to ensure it is flat along the length.

You want new tools - use what ever "reason" gets it for you (I do ) , but if you have a bandsaw already, it will do this particular task nicely. YM will V.

Maybe I will use this reason to finally get that Beverly Throatless Shear!
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  #9  
Old 07-16-2015, 03:33 PM
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comfortcat comfortcat is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Southern California
Posts: 616
Default Tin snips...

I just did my skirts, and regular tin snips worked fine. De-burr and take a scotch bright wheel to it and done.

Of course, I can't get the final shape for dang, but I'm still working on it.

Let me know how it goes for you!

CC
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  #10  
Old 07-16-2015, 04:13 PM
rightrudder rightrudder is offline
 
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Location: Laguna Hills, CA
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Thanks for all the great suggestions, guys! I'm leaning toward the reciprocating air saw, then finishing the edges with my disc sander and then a file. Since the skirts are cut oversize initially, I might make the first pass with plain ol' snips. I've got a bandsaw already, but the blade is a little coarse for sheet of that thickness (tends to grab a little) and I don't want to change it out. There certainly are about seven ways to skin a cat here!

A little retail therapy/tool purchase adds a little fun to the build, even if that tool is not absolutely necessary, is what I'm thinking.
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