Metalwork has always been a popular DIY avenue, now more so - considering the time we have on our hands. Everyone is challenging themselves to create intricate entities and products of finesse. Hence, it is only right we start by understanding what tools we need to procure for activities like drilling, casting, etc., ensuring the techniques and finishes we have in mind are safely executed and done efficiently.
So, let’s start with the basics:
1. Steel Ruler
Yes, the infamous metal ruler we have used throughout our Architecture school for model making, it’s not surprising to see this on the essentials list of metalwork.
More often than not, they are also accompanied by a digital caliper with two jaws that assist in precise measurements. This is because, unlike softer materials like plastic or wood, it is very difficult to adjust or ‘trim off’ and excess at a further point, demanding exact measurements from the beginning.
2. Assorted Sandpaper Pack
Also known as wet/dry sandpaper, they ranged by size, from 220 to 2000. They are different from those used for woodwork as these don’t tear as easily. It is one of the more important tools, used at the finishing stages of the metalwork to smoothen out edges and prevent cuts.
As the name suggests, it follows the saw-like mechanism but with smaller and sharper blades, more adequate to direct the force for metal. Usually, a method to simplify cutting smaller rods or sheet stock by hand. Though the use of this vital tool in itself is quite simple and requires almost no new learning, it is important that the object to be cut is well reinforced, to prevent causalities.
4. Drill Press
Another fundamental tool, it is the quickest and easiest way to drill a hole through the metal. It does, however, take a bit of precision to execute it well, for unlike contact with wood, metal’s smoother surface may move the drill away from the target.
5. Wire Cutters
A basic cutting tool in every handyman’s kit, a reliable pair of cutters helps in snipping of odd and frayed edges.
6. Cutting Glasses
With metalwork comes a myriad of dangerous and hazardous situations. To ensure your safety, it is always advised to invest in solid pair of cutting glasses.
7. A throatless shear
An essential in every fabrication workshop, this tool is used to create cuts of any edges type (straight, curved or irregular), it has three holes for mounting the metal and a handle for leverage over any density of metal, aluminum, stainless steel, or mild steel.
And as we move to a larger scale from the basic toolbox, we come across:
Another fundamental tool of metalwork, a bandsaw is used to cut the metal as well, in a more mechanized manner. It has a blade perpendicular to the metal and, with a lateral machine movement, proceeds to cut the metal. It is always wise to invest in a good bandsaw and make sure it is oiled before every use.
9. Laser Cutting Machine
For more committed metalwork, a laser cutting machine is a tool that makes the measuring and cutting process faster and precise. The accuracy of this machine is unparallel and with a little bit of finishing with sandpaper, the product is ready to install.
A piece of standard equipment to join pieces of metal, the welder melts the metal, adds fillers, and cools it down for the final joint piece. They are of various kinds and differentiated by the intensity of work and the power source available for said work.
11. Angle Grinders
One of the more final procedures, this machine aids in the grinding and polishing of the metal after its cutting process. It can also be used to cut the metal into different shapes as well. With various discs available, it is quite a versatile tool.
A multi-purpose tool, the Lathe can be used for drilling, sanding, turning, cutting, etc. The metal is placed along the axis of this instrument and through gradual and constricted circles it achieves the final piece. It also has a beam that helps with the positioning and accuracy of the work.
A major part of successful metalwork is to understand the tools and it’s advantages and to learn the exact techniques achievable with them. Maintenance is of the utmost importance, be it of the regular care of the tools or the precautions and safety measures to be taken by you, to come out with remarkable works of metal.