Snap, Crackle, Pop

I hate cutting sheet steel. I don’t have a sheet metal shear, my snips are the non-offset kind and just suck once you get in more than about an inch and I don’t like cut off wheels. I have a 24” cut down the center of a 6” wide sheet. What to do? Well, I read (somewhere on the net) that spring steel can be scored and broken just like glass. Color me dubious but what the heck, if I boo-boo it is only $15 worth of steel (and a lot of foul language). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Step one: Score. I have a carbide scribe, that should work. I clamped the sheet to the bench with a straight edge along the cut line and proceeded to scribe away. Not much happened. 1095 is tough stuff. Eventually, I have what looked like a score line.
  • Break: I then put the sheet in the bench vise (scribed line just above the jaws) and pushed. Nothing. Pulled. Nothing. Repeat, going a lot further than I was comfortable with. Still nothing. But they mean “spring”, the steel didn’t bend, which I was very thankful for.
  • Repeat the scoring. Basically trying to dig a trough although the scribe wasn’t up to the task. More bending. Nada.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Inspiration – what if I help things get started? Took the snips and made a cut along the score line and, this time, bent it over the edge of the bench, using my hands to try and apply even pressure on both sides. Push more than you would like to.
  • CRACK. Geez, that is a scary sound. But, wonder of wonders, right down the score line for several inches. Repeat until you have two pieces. What happens if you didn’t do that great of a job scoring? Take a look at the top photo, at the edge between the nips and scribe. It bent, it tore, it sucked. If I had known what I was doing, I would have known to stop bending and deepen the trough.
  • Even through the crack follows the score quite well, it is rough, a bit bent and needs clean up.

Conclusion: It works but I’d rather have a shear (I could borrow). A brake would probably also work pretty well to snap the score line.

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