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How to use aviation snips

Shop for Tinsnips and Aviation Snips

Before you begin

To make sure the cuts made my aviation snips are correct you will need to be careful To ensure you get the best results from your aviation snips you may want to bear in mind the following, before you begin using them.
Thicker materials will need to be cut closer to the edge of thinner materials Check the specifications of your snips and make sure they are suitable for cutting your chosen material.

When cutting material which is at the maximum of the snips’ capacity, you may only be able to cut thin sections close to the edge of the material; this is so the waste can curl up as it’s cut.

 

Please note: Aviation snips are intended for trim work rather than making large, rough cuts.

Relief cuts in thick materials allow them to bend easier To be able to cut further in from the edge of thicker sheet metals, you are likely to need to either cut a number of thin slivers off until you reach your line, or make relief notches. Relief notches are small cuts, perpendicular to the cutting line, which will give the material enough flexibility so the waste can be bent, or curled out of the way.
Left hand snips cut anti-clockwise while right hand snips cut clockwise Take your time when cutting – this will keep cuts more accurate and reduce the chances of sharp edges causing harm.

Remember that right cut snips will have the waste coming off on the right-hand side, and are designed for cutting curves to the right.

Left cut snips will have the waste coming off on the left-hand side, and are best for cutting curves to the left.

Offset snips and shears will keep your hand above the material as you cut Offset aviation snips will naturally move the material down, so keep your hand above the material as you cut. This makes them easier to use when making longer cuts through materials.
Mark out the area you want to cut

Step 1 – Prepare area to be cut

You may wish to mark the section of material that needs cutting. This is likely to reduce the likelihood of errors and keep the cut accurate.

You can mark sheets with a permanent marker or a scribing tool.

Line up the top blade of the aviation snips with where you want to make the cut

Step 2 – Line up blades

Open the snips as far as they go and position the material so it lies between them, as close to the pivot point of the blades as possible.

The upper blade should be aligned with where you want to cut, and the bottom blade should be brought up to make the cut.

Aviation snips should make cutting sheet metal fairly easy

Step 3 – Begin cutting

Operate the snips like scissors: opening and closing the handles to make cuts.

To keep cuts smooth, you should open the blades fully, but only close them partially. The blades can be closed about two-thirds of the way; this will avoid making a notch in the material where the blades end.

To keep the cut smooth, move aviation shears carefully along the material as you cut The snips should be kept in constant contact with the material, and the blades carefully moved further down the cutting line as you open them after each cut. This should help keep the cut clean.

Burrs or notches on cut edges will be sharp and can easily cut fingers.

Waste material can be moved out of the way of your hand as you cut

Step 4 – Move waste

As you’re cutting, you will need to keep the waste material out of the way of your hands.

Tougher materials, such as those which aviation snips are designed to cut, will not bend or flex out of the way in the same way that softer materials will. So, as you cut, you need to bend the waste material up and out of the way. Because of this, aviation snips are generally best suited for cutting near the edge of the material, so the waste part is easier to bend.

Finishing

Whan they are not being used aviation snips should be locked shut As aviation snips are sharp, the locking latch should be used to keep them shut when you have finished using them. This should protect you and the tool.
Rough and sharp edges of sheet metal can be filed

Smoothing rough and sharp edges on sheet metal

Aviation snips are likely to leave slight serrations on the edge of the sheet metal once it has been cut, due to the serrated jaws. It is also likely that the cut edge will be sharp and may have some burrs or notches.

To make the edges neat and smooth, a metal file can be used.

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