JCL Precision Part Co.,Ltd.

Ultimate Guide of Sheet Metal Cutting

Sheet metal cutting is one of the most effective manufacturing  processes to cut a flat metal sheet to manufacture metal parts. This process is normally used by manufacturers to create structures and shapes for different metal parts. It is a critical step in the manufacturing process to manufacture the final products.

The sheet metal cutting process initiates with the cutting of the metal sheet to form your desired shape. Most of the time manufacturers use automated systems to ensure the consistency, quality and efficiency of the metal parts. There are many kinds of techniques available for cutting flat metal sheets. For choosing the appropriate sheet metal cutting services, you must evaluate many factors and understand your manufacturing needs. 


Benefits of Sheet Metal Cutting Process

  • Sheet metal cutting process helps to cut the material precisely to ensure maximum use and reduce material wastage.

  • Sheet metal cutting process helps to cut the metal parts with tolerance and dimension in different sizes and shapes.

  • Sheet metal cutting offers many kinds of cutting methods both traditional and modern to fit with different industries and different materials. 

  • Sheet metal cutting process lets manufacturers cut the metal sheet in different shapes and produce customized products for the customers.

  • Sheet metal cutting process makes the manufacturing process efficient as it fastens the production of metal parts.

  • Sheet metal cutting process can also reduce manual labor by adopting automation. It increases productivity and reduces labor costs.

  • The sheet metal cutting process is very cost-effective for metal parts production as it reduces both material and labor costs. 

Traditional Methods of Sheet Metal Cutting Process


Punching is an easy and well-known sheet metal cutting process. Punching is used to cut a very small amount of metal from the flat sheet. In this sheet metal cutting process, you will use a punch and die to make holes and patterns from the metal sheet. Both punch and die are made from hardened steel or tungsten carbide because these materials are durable and wear-resistant. These qualities are necessary as high forces are needed during the punching process. The punch and die you will use during the sheet metal cutting process will determine the shape and size of your sheet metal parts. Depending on your requirements, you can choose the diameters of the punch but normally it’s between a few millimeters to several centimeters. The diameters of the die must align with the punch to cut out accurate metal parts. The punching sheet metal cutting process is widely used for the mass production of relative patterns or cuts.

Suitable Materials

Sheet Metal Processing Tools

Used in Industries

Operational Speed 

  • Mild Steel (up to 6 mm)

  • Stainless Steel

  • Aluminum(up to 3 mm)

  • Brass, Copper (up to 3 mm)

  • Punch, 

  • Die

  • Punch Press or Stamping Machine

  • Automotive,

  • Aerospace,

  • Construction,

  • Electronics

  • Per minute 600 to 2000 strokes

Advantages of Punching for Sheet Metal Cutting

  • Punching is a high-speed manufacturing process. Through punching you can mass-produce sheet metal parts. With modern technology, you can create multiple holes and shapes per second. 

  • This sheet metal cutting process controls material wastage as it only cuts the desired shape from the sheet material. 

  • Though punching is popularly used for creating holes, it can create different kinds of shapes like rectangles, squares, and other geometric forms. You just need to design the punch and die sets for the specific shapes. 

  • This process is reliable for cutting relatable sheet metal parts with precise accuracy. The diameters of the punch and die ensure that all of the metal parts have an accurate shape.

  • As the punching equipment is made from hardened tool steels or tungsten carbide, they can easily cut various sheet materials. That is why manufacturers can conduct this process on different materials. 


Blanking is another sheet metal cutting process that uses a punch and die set tool for sheet metal cutting. Manufacturers use this process to cut more complex and large metal parts. You will cut out your desired shape with sheet metal cutting tools. This shape is known as blank. And the rest of the sheet material will count as scrap. The dimensions of blanked metal parts are highly influenced by the diameters of the blanking equipment. This process is good for cutting identical shapes while maintaining small and precise details of blanks. 

Suitable Materials

Sheet Metal Processing Tools

Used in Industries

Operation Speed

  • Mild Steel (25 mm)

  • Stainless Steel (12 mm)

  • Aluminum (12 mm)

  • Punch,

  • Die

  • Mechanical or Hydraulic Press

  • Automotive, appliance

  • Manufacturing

  • General Fabrication

  • Per minute 10 to 60 strokes 

Advantages of Blanking for Sheet Metal Cutting

  • Blanking is reliable for creating complex shapes and patterns that can not be created by other sheet metal cutting processes. This makes blanking suitable for cutting sheet metal parts for different applications. 

  • Blanking reduces the duration of the manufacturing process and increases efficiency as it can operate by integrating sheet metal forming processes like deep drawing, stamping, and bending. 

  • Blanking is also a cost-effective process. With low investment, you can cut a large volume of blank parts in this process. It also saves money by reducing material wastage and production time. 



Shearing is one of the most known and uses sheet metal cutting methods in manufacturing. To execute this process, you will require minimal sheet metal cutting tools. You will only need two high-grade tools steel sharp blades. For cutting sheet metal, you will set one blade above the sheet material and another below it. Then give shear force by the upper blade for cutting the sheet metal. Shearing is often utilized for preparing the metal sheets or streaming. It's simple and easy process makes it popular with manufacturers. 

Suitable Materials

Sheet Metal Processing Tools

Used in Industries

Operation Speed

  • Mild Steel (6 mm)

  • Stainless Steel (3 mm)

  • Aluminum (6 mm)

  • Fixed Blade

  • Movable Blade

  • Shearing Machine

  • General Fabrication

  • Automotive 

  • Appliance Manufacturing

  • Per minute 5-20 meters

Advantages of Shearing for Sheet Metal Cutting

  • Shearing requires minimum downtime and setup. You just need to adjust the blade for different lengths of cutting which is quite easy to do.

  • The shearing method doesn’t need any additional secondary or finishing operation which minimizes the manufacturing time.

  • The shearing process is capable of cutting multiple sheet metal stacks together. This not only helps to cut large quantities of sheet material but also increases productivity.

  • The shearing method is capable of handling different kinds of materials like pre-cut sheets, coils and blanks. This allows efficient integration and facilitates the overall production process.

  • Shearing is an environmentally friendly process as its operation needs low energy. This also minimizes the operation costs.

Modern Methods of Sheet Metal Cutting Process


Laser Cutting

In the laser sheet metal cutting process, a focus laser beam is used to cut the sheet materials. In this process, a CO2 or fiber laser is incorporated to cut, burn or vapor the metal material. By using this high-energy laser it shapes and cuts the metal parts and this whole process is controlled by a computer numerical control (CNC) system. However, laser cutting operating costs are high and also need advanced sheet metal cutting tools. 

Suitable Materials

Sheet Metal Processing Tools

Used in Industries

Operation Speed

  • Mild Steel (25 mm)

  • Stainless Steel (20 mm)

  • Aluminum (12 mm)

  • Laser optics

  • Focusing lens

  • cutting nozzle

  • CNC controller

  • Aerospace

  • Electronics

  • Medical device manufacturing

  • Per minute 0.1 meters to 20 meters

Advantages of Laser Cutting for Sheet Metal Cutting

  • Laser cutting can cut complex geometry shapes with precision details which any other sheet metal cutting process can’t do.

  • The laser cutting method is capable of maintaining the dimensional accuracy and integrity of the metal parts as it requires minimal thermal distortion. 

  • Laser cutting eliminates material wastage as it doesn’t deform any material during the process. This quality makes this process suitable for cutting delicate sheet metals.

Plasma Cutting

Plasma cutting is an effective sheet metal cutting process for cutting electrical conductive materials. In this process, manufacturers use a plasma torch to create high heat and cut the metal parts. The plasma cutting method can both thick and thin sheet metal which makes it the preferable option to manufacturers. Similar to laser cutting, computer numerical control (CNC) systems are also used in this system.

Suitable Materials

Sheet Metal Processing Tools

Used in Industries

Operation Speed

  • Mild Steel (50 mm)

  • Stainless Steel (40 mm)

  • Aluminum (30mm)

  • Plasma torch

  • Electrode

  • Nozzle

  • Gas supply system

  • CNC controller

  • CAD/CAM software

  • Structural steel fabrication

  • Automotive manufacturing

  • Shipbuilding

  • Per minute 1 meter to 10 meter

Advantages of Plasma Cutting for Sheet Metal Cutting

  • Plasma cutting can cut different ranges of sheet metals from thick to thin. Unlike other sheet metal cutting processes, it doesn’t have any limitations on material thickness.

  • The plasma cutting process is expert cutting at different cutting directions. Its cutting ability isn't confined to any other cut. This method can cut from any angle like a curve, angle, or straight. 

  • Plasma cutting is well known for its high speed. This process is capable of conducting large-scale operations in a short time.  


Application areas of the sheet metal cutting process

Automotive Industry

The sheet metal cutting process is used in the automotive industry for cutting vehicle bodies, designing structural parts, for creating aesthetic parts for vehicles.

Aerospace Industry

The sheet metal cutting process is used in the aerospace industry for producing aircraft parts like wing parts, skin panels and engine parts. Sheet metal cutting ensures the accuracy of each part which is necessary for aircraft performance and safety.

Fabrication and Metalworking

The sheet metal cutting process is widely employed in the metalworking sector for creating customized products and applications. The sheet metal cutting services help manufacturers to meet their customers' needs and produce large-scale products.

Electronics and Electrical Equipment

Sheet metal cutting processes also play a crucial role in the manufacturing of electronics and electrical equipment. Sheet metal cutting services help to produce devices and equipment of different sizes, weights and designs. 

Main Factors of Sheet Metal Cutting Process

Material Type and Thickness

One of the factors that influence the decision of cutting process selection is the material thickness. So before choosing the technique, you must do sheet metal material selection first on which you will conduct the sheet metal cutting process. Because every material has a different level of strength, hardness, thermal conductivity and thickness, all of these factors influence the efficiency and performance of the cutting process.

Cutting Speed

The cutting and production speed is another crucial factor that will assist you select the right sheet metal cutting process. If you are doing large-scale production, shearing, punching, and plasma are suitable processes as their production process is speedy. If you are doing small-scale production, laser and waterjet may be the right option for you.


Cut Quality and Edge Condition

Another factor that will help you to determine your cutting process is the cut quality and edge condition. In some sheet metal cutting processes like plasma cutting the metal parts edges become a minimal burr or deform. But in some processes like laser cutting, it remains smooth. You will choose the quality that you want.

Complexity and Design

Some sheet metal cutting processes can only make simple shapes or straight cuts like punching, and shearing. And some processes can cut more complex shapes like sheet metal cutting services,  laser cutting. You need to decide the cutting process based on your required metal parts design. 


Cost is one of the most vital factors that can influence your decision to choose the sheet metal cutting process. Some cutting processes are very cost-effective and require minimal sheet metal cutting tools for operation. However, some processes are expensive and require more advanced tools. You must select the process according to your budget. 

Bottom Line

The sheet metal cutting process is a crucial step for manufacturing products in different industries. There are many different kinds of sheet metal cutting processes available to suit various needs. Before selecting any of the processes a manufacturer must understand which process will be beneficial for his particular industry and product. The sheet metal cutting process not only makes the operation process efficient but also increases the quality of the product.