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How to Cut Structural Steel: Which Is the Best Way

Structural steel is the most used material in construction, How to cut structural steel and maintain it accurately and efficiently is something many steel builders business owners want to know.

This blog post will show you efficient and fast ways to cut cut metal pipe teel, so you can quickly find the method that works for your project.

corte por láser de acero estructural
corte por láser de acero estructural

Why does steel need to be cut?

The In order to create the beams, columns, and other components necessary for a construction project, engineers must cut structural steel.

Many different types of steel are used in building construction. Steel bars and profiles, among other materials, must be cut and trimmed to fit the design requirements before being installed at their intended locations. The precision and quality of this process have a significant effect on the structure’s stability and longevity.

How to Cut Steel: Different Methods Explained

Traditional methods of cutting structural steel include the following techniques:

1. Oxy-fuel cutting:

This method involves using a combination of oxygen and a fuel gas, such as acetylene, to create a high-temperature flame that can melt and cut through the steel. Oxy-fuel cutting is commonly used for thicker sections of steel.

2. Plasma cutting:

CNC plasma cutting uses a jet of ionized gas to create an electrical arc that melts and cuts through the steel. This method is suitable for both thin and thick steel sections and provides a clean, precise cut.

3. Saw cutting:

Steel can also be cut using various types of saws, such as band saws or circular saws equipped with carbide-tipped blades. Sawing structural tube cutting is suitable for cutting steel beams, pipes, and other structural components.

4. Shearing:

Shearing involves using a machine with sharp blades to cut through the steel by applying a shearing force. This method is commonly used for cutting flat sheets or plates of steel.

5. Abrasive water jet cutting:

This method uses a high-pressure stream of water mixed with abrasive particles to cut through the steel. Abrasive water jet cutting is suitable for cutting complex shapes and profiles in steel.

These traditional methods of cutting structural steel are widely used in fabrication shops, construction sites, and other industries where steel components need to be precisely cut to size.

forma de h
forma de h

What safety protection is required for Cutting Structural Steel?

When slicing up structural steel, it is critical to follow safety regulations so accidents and injuries don’t happen. Here are the safety measures that are usually required:

Personal protective equipment (PPE):

  • Eye shields or safety goggles should be worn to guard your eyes from debris and sparks.
  • Use ear protection like noise-making headphones to prevent hearing loss due to loud noise.
  • Wear gloves made of leather to protect your hands from hot metal and sharp edges.
  • Flame-resistant clothing is a must, as this will shield you from burns.

Fire Prevention:

  • Clean the work area of flammable materials and fire risks.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher closeby and make sure everyone knows how to use it in case of an emergency.
  • Regularly check hot work areas for signs of a fire hazard.

Proper ventilation:

  • Work in a well-ventilated location so fumes and gases don’t pool up when you’re cutting metal.
  • Use exhaust systems or fans that move smoke away from the work area,

Secure Workpiece:

Make sure the structure steel you’re working on is clamped down tightly, so it won’t move during cutting.

Proper Tools and Equipment:

To cut structural steel, use tools that were built for that purpose (such as a plasma cutter or cutting torch)

Training and Supervision:

  • Train workers on safe methods of cutting things with heavy machinery
  • Have an experienced worker on standby watching over things to ensure everything is being done correctly

How to Cut Galvanized Steel Structural Pipe

There are many tools and methods for cutting galvanized steel structural pipes on the market. If you want to ensure cutting accuracy and cutting effect, you need to prepare the following tool materials:

  • Goggles
  • Working gloves
  • Tape measure
  • mark
  • Hacksaw or reciprocating saw with metal cutting blade
  • Pipe cutting machine
  • Deburring tool or file

Steps:

  1. Wear safety goggles and work gloves to protect yourself from any metal shards or splinters during the cutting process.
  2. Measure and mark the points to be cut on the galvanized steel structural pipe. Use a tape measure and marker to ensure accuracy.
  3. If you have a pipe cutter, use it to score a line around the circumference of the pipe at the marked location. Gradually tighten the pipe cutter as you rotate it around the pipe until it cuts.
  4. If you are using a hacksaw or reciprocating saw, secure the pipe in a vise or clamping device to prevent it from moving during the cutting process. Make sure the pipe is stable and will not roll or move while cutting.
  5. Begin cutting the pipe using a hacksaw or reciprocating saw. Apply steady pressure and smooth back and forth motion to cut galvanized steel. Take your time and let the saw do the work to avoid damaging the pipe or blade.
  6. After cutting, check the edges for sharp burrs or rough spots. Use a deburring tool or file to smooth edges and remove any burrs to prevent injury and ensure a smooth finish.
  7. After cutting and deburring, the galvanized steel structural pipe can be installed or used as needed.

Always use caution when using metal tools and wear appropriate safety gear to protect yourself during the cutting process.

How to choose the method of Cut Structural Steel

When choosing a cutting method for structural steel, consider factors such as material thickness, required accuracy, production volume, budget, etc. It may also be beneficial to consult with a professional metal fabrication company to determine the cutting method that best suits your specific project requirements.

corte en forma de h

Why Laser Cutting is Ideal for Structural Steel

Laser cutting is considered ideal for structural steel due to several reasons:

  1. Precisión: Laser cutting steel provides high precision and accuracy, allowing for intricate and complex designs to be cut with minimal material waste. This precision is crucial in structural steel where the components need to fit together perfectly for stability and safety.
  2. Velocidad: Laser steel cutting is a fast process compared to traditional cutting methods, which can help reduce overall production time for structural steel components.
  3. Versatilidad: Laser steel cutting can be used to cut a wide range of thicknesses and types of structural steel, making it a versatile technology for a variety of projects.
  4. Clean edges: Laser steel cutting produces clean, smooth edges without burrs, reducing the need for additional finishing processes. This is important for structural steel components that need to meet specific tolerances and standards.
  5. Económico: While the initial investment in laser cutting equipment may be high, the long-term cost savings come from increased efficiency, reduced material waste, and minimal need for secondary operations.
  6. Automatización: Laser cutting can be easily integrated into automated production processes, increasing productivity and consistency in the manufacturing of structural steel components.

Overall, laser cutting is ideal for structural steel due to its precision, speed, versatility, quality of cut edges, cost-effectiveness, and automation capabilities. These factors make laser cutting metal pipe a preferred choice for many fabricators working with structural steel.

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