How to Cut Sheet Metal with a Circular Saw

How to Cut Sheet Metal with a Circular Saw

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If you are cutting a piece of sheet metal, for whatever reason, then you need to have the right tool for the job. One of the tools that you may be able to use to cut sheet metal is a circular saw. Today, we are going to talk about exactly how to cut sheet metal with a circular saw, and whether or not this is the best tool for the job.

Is a Circular Saw the Best Tool for Cutting Sheet Metal?

Circular Saw One important distinction that we need to make here is that there are different kinds of circular saws out there. There are those circular saws designed for woodworking, as well as those designed for working with metal. If we are talking about a circular saw designed specifically for cutting metal, then yes, you can obviously use this tool to cut sheet metal.

However, if we’re talking about a circular saw designed for working with wood, these generally should not be used on metal. It is technically possible to use a woodworking circular saw on sheet metal, although the result is not going to be ideal.

The simple fact is that circular saws designed for cutting sheet metal come complete with guards designed to block all those hot sparks from flying into your face. They also generally have much lower speeds, which is ideal for cutting metal, whereas higher speeds are ideal for cutting wood.

On that same note, you can use a woodworking circular saw to cut metal, but you need to outfit it with the proper kind of blade. A metalworking circular saw, on the other hand, will already come with the right blade attached.

There are then of course also other tools that are specially designed for cutting things like sheet metal. One of the best tools you could possibly use for this task is known as tin snips. Tin snips or tin scissors are special kinds of scissors or large shears designed to cut through relatively thick pieces of sheet metal.

These are just specialized scissors and are completely handheld and manual. On the other hand, if you’re looking to cut intricate designs into that sheet metal, then something like a Rotary tool or a Dremel will work best.

How to Cut Sheet Metal with a Circular Saw

Just to be clear, here we are going to be providing instructions on how to cut sheet metal with a woodworking circular saw, not a metalworking circular saw.

We assume that the reason that most people ask how to cut sheet metal with a circular saw is that they want to know whether or not their woodworking saw will be able to perform this task. Follow the instructions listed below to cut sheet metal with a circular saw.

Step 1: Prepare the Circular Saw

If you plan on successfully cutting sheet metal with a circular saw, the most important thing that you need to do is to outfit the saw with a special metal cutting blade. You can use either a carbide-tipped blade or a diamond blade for this purpose. Whatever the case may be, make sure that it is a metal cutting blade, which will also mean having very small and fine teeth. Large and coarse teeth will not work well for this task.

Step 2: Put On Your Safety Gear

Seeing as your circular saw does not have any kind of guard to stop sparks from flying in your face, you need to take the appropriate precautions when cutting your metal. This means that, first and foremost, you need to wear eye protection to stop those sparks from flying into your eyes.

Even better would be a full-fledged facemask. This process can also be fairly loud, so you will want to wear hearing protection. On that note, make sure that whatever you are wearing is not very flammable, and that you also remove flammable materials and liquids from the nearby area.

Step 3: Mark the Sheet Metal and Support It

Then, just as you would do with anything else that you are cutting with a saw, you’re going to use a piece of chalk, marker, or any other marking utensil to mark the line that you plan on cutting. Once the line has been marked, you can then put the sheet metal on some sort of support, such as a table or a sawhorse.

Step 4: Make the Cut

With the line marked, your safety gear prepared, and the saw outfitted with the right blade, you’re going to turn on your circular saw. What is important to note here is that cutting at slower speeds is crucial for cutting metal.

Therefore, you want to use a circular saw with a variable speed function. If your circular saw doesn’t have a variable speed function, whether or not this task will turn out successfully is questionable at best.

Therefore, if you can, keep the speed of the saw fairly slow. Get the saw up to the desired speed, and move it through the metal just as you would when cutting a piece of wood.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

Let’s quickly go over some tips and tricks to help make this process a bit easier.

  • Always pay attention to the precautions listed on metal cutting discs and blades.
  • Make sure all exposed skin is covered.
  • Never touch metal right after cutting it, as it will be very hot.


You should now know how to safely and effectively touch sheet metal using a circular saw.