What are nibbler shears?
Nibbler shears (also known as super shears) are a hand-held tool used to cut through sheet metal. They are used as an alternative to powered, mechanical nibblers.
Nibbler shears cut through sheet metal with a blade that punches upwards when the handles are squeezed together; this cuts through the material, leaving minimal distortion.
Distorting the material can mean bending it or cracking it, both of which give an undesired finish.
As the tool cuts the material with a number of small cutting actions, it can be said to be 'nibbling', which is where the tool gets its name.
Although nibbler shears are predominantly used to cut steel sheet metal, they also have the capacity to cut other materials such as copper, brass, PVC, aluminium and polycarbonate. They are often used in car workshops to cut bodywork pieces such as door and window frames.
Are there any alternatives?
Shears and snips
Similar products to nibbler shears include regular hand-held shears and tin snips, all of which have much the same structure. However, nibbler shears have one blade instead of two and are generally used when harder or thicker material, such as steel. Nibbler shears can also cut materials like PVC of up to 2mm (0.07") thick.
This is due to its upward punching blade which does not distort the material being cut. Nibbler shears also only cut materials which are laid out flat, unlike tin snips which can cut rolled sheet metal.
Nibbler shears are also an alternative to the power nibbler. This tool is battery or mains power operated and cuts more easily, requiring little effort on the user's part. It is particularly useful if you have very large sheets of material to cut through.
There is also a version powered by compressed air, which can be useful when working in areas where electricity is not available or safe to use, such as outdoors. The electric powered tool and compressed air tool also have different cutting capacities, with the electric powered nibbler being able to cut through thicker materials.
However, power nibblers are much more expensive than nibbler shears which means if you only need them for occasional use, nibbler shears would be the better option.