How to Cut Sheet Metal with a Dremel

How to Cut Sheet Metal with a Dremel

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If you are planning to cover the side of your shed or your home with sheet metal, instead of paying the big bucks to have a professional do it for you, there is always the DIY approach. Of course, no matter the case, whether you are using sheet metal to cover the side of your home or shed, or for any other purpose, there are occasions where you are going to need to cut it.

One of the best tools that you can use to cut sheet metal is a good old Dremel. In case you don’t know how to use a Dremel to cut sheet metal, no worries because this is exactly what we’re going to teach you right here and now.

Is a Dremel the Best Tool for Cutting Sheet Metal?

Dremel When it comes down to it, yes, a Dremel is a very good tool to use for cutting sheet metal, but with that being said, it’s not the only tool that you can use, and whether or not it is the best tool is completely disputable. At a certain point, this really comes down to personal preference because there are many different tools that you can use for this task.

A Dremel is of course a very high-speed type of rotary tool that can handle all sorts of tasks,  and yes, it works really well for cutting sheet metal. However, with that being said, you can also use other tools such as a hammer and a chisel, a hacksaw, an angle grinder, and more.

I wrote in detail about all the different methods in my detailed article on the best ways to cut sheet metal.

With all of that being said, do keep in mind that Dremels are not cheap, so if you don’t already have one, then buying one to cut apart a few pieces of sheet metal may not be the most economically friendly choice. In fact, if you are going for a budget-friendly choice and you don’t have all that much sheet metal that you need to cut, then a simple pair of tin snips might actually work best.

However, do keep in mind that if you are doing a large project that requires you to cut a whole lot of sheet metal, then tin snips are going to require a whole lot of time and effort. So at the end of the day, if you need to cut sheet metal, then you may as well use a Dremel because it’s just as good as any other tool that you might use.

What Type of Bit Should You Use?

Dremel Cut-Off Wheel There are a couple of different types of bits that you can use with your Dremel to cut sheet metal. One of the best things that you can use is a heavy-duty emery cut-off wheel. Another thing that will work really well for cutting sheet metal is a 1-1/4-inch cut-off wheel.

As long as the Dremel bit in question is specified as being able to cut through something like sheet metal then it will work just fine. Remember that the size of the cut-off wheel you use really does depend on the thickness and type of metal. Sheet metal is not very thick or very tough, so this is not a massive deal. Any basic cut-off wheel that can handle metal should do.

How to Cut Sheet Metal with a Dremel

Now that you know that a Dremel is in fact one of the best tools to use for cutting sheet metal, we can get to providing you with a step-by-step tutorial on the matter. Let’s get to it and cut some sheet metal.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

First things first, you do need to gather all of the materials that you will need to accomplish this task. Refer to the list below:

  • The Dremel
  • The cutoff wheel
  • Tape
  • A wrench
  • A pencil
  • Gloves
  • Workbench
  • Clamps
  • Safety goggles
  • A face mask
  • Earplugs
  • Steel toe shoes

As you might have noticed, our list there does focus heavily on the safety aspect of things, and this is because cutting sheet metal does produce a whole lot of sparks and smoke, so you do need to be extremely careful.

Step 2: Get Prepared

You do want to prepare your workspace and this is best done outdoors, but if you must, you can cut sheet metal indoors. That being said, you do want to work in a well-ventilated area due to all of the sparks and fumes.

Next, you do need to prepare the Dremel itself, or in other words, you use your wrench to take out the existing bit and then insert your cut-off wheel of choice. After you have done this, you then want to take your sheet metal and clamp it down to a workhorse. You do not want the sheet metal being unsecured once you start cutting.

Step 3: Mark the Cut

The next thing that you need to do here is to mark the cut that you will make with your Dremel. Make sure to measure twice and then make the appropriate markings. What you want to do is to use some adhesive tape and put this over the line that you just drew. Putting some tape over the line will help protect the rest of the sheet metal from getting scratched or damaged when you are making the cut.

Step 4: Make the Cut

Now it is time for you to use your Dremel to make the cut. Make sure to position the Dremel so that the cut-off wheel is perpendicular to the line that you are cutting. Also, make sure that you hold the Dremel with both hands so that you can achieve maximum stability. Afterward, turn your Dremel on and set it to a very high speed.

Note, you do want your Dremel to be moving at an extremely fast speed for this job. Now you need to make sure to apply just a little bit of pressure, but not too much. You do want to do this in two passes, or in other words, the first pass should just dig into the metal to more or less score the line, and the second pass should then be the actual cutting pass.

Step 5: Grind It Down

If needed, such as if there are any burrs that were created when the cut was made, you can now use either a grinding bit or some metal sanding paper to smooth things down.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

While the above should get the job done, here are some extra tips to make the process smoother:

  • You should definitely wear long sleeves and pants for this task because those sparks can be pretty hot.
  • If you aren’t too big on safety equipment, the one thing that you definitely need to wear is safety goggles, because those sparks can cause serious damage to your eyes.
  • When using a Dremel for cutting sheet metal, never apply way too much pressure. The tool should be doing most of the job.


Now that you know exactly how to use a Dremel to cut sheet metal, you can successfully complete any task at hand that involves cutting sheet metal down to size.