In terms of sheet metal, gauge is the non-linear measuring system which specifies its thickness. The higher the gauge number, the thinner the metal.The gauge capacity of each individual pair of snips depends on its size, make and model. Check the manufacturer’s instructions when purchasing, to find out the gauge capacity of snips to determine the correct ones for the metal you are cutting.
A sheet metal’s gauge number varies depending on the particular type of metal being measured.The thickness of sheet metal can be measured by using a metal gauge instrument.
Mild or standard steel is usually the term applied to low carbon steels that have a low carbon content ranging up to 0.3%. Mild steel is the most commonly used steel as it is low in cost and versatile in its uses.
Snips usually have the capacity to cut between 26 gauge and 18 gauge standard mild steel. There are some exceptions, depending on the size and make of the snips. Some larger snips, such as bulldog pattern tin snips, are able to cut up to 16 gauge of mild sheet metal.
Stainless steel is a steel alloy different from others due to the fact that it doesn’t easily corrode or rust.It differs from mild steel as it has a minimum of 10.5% chromium content. It is easily identifiable as the chromium content makes it shiny and reflective like a mirror.
Due to the different content of stainless steel, snips have a thinner cutting capacity for stainless steel than they do for mild steel metal. They can usually only cut up to 20 gauge stainless steel, again depending on the make and model. Smaller tin snips, such as the duckbill pattern may only be able to cut up to 26 gauge of stainless steel.
Galvanized steel is steel which has had a protective zinc coating applied onto it, in order to prevent it from rusting. This process also makes the steel stronger and more durable when cutting.
Once again, the gauge thickness of galvanized steel that can be cut depends on each individual snip. The best snips to use on this type of metal would probably be aviation snips as they can cut up to 18-20 gauge thickness.
Aluminium, copper and brass
Aluminium, copper and brass are soft and malleable metals that can be easily cut.
Most snips are capable of cutting low gauge soft metals, such as aluminium, due to the ductility of these materials. The average snips can usually cut up to 20 gauge of aluminium, copper and brass, however, some larger models may be able to manage a thickness of 16 or 17 gauge.