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If you've had enough of manual hand snips and shears, it's definitely time to upgrade to a nibbler. This handy tool cuts through metal, similar to a jigsaw, but rather than a blade, a nibbler tool uses a sharp punch that goes up and down through a die to cut the piece of metal. Nibblers may be pneumatic, electric, cordless, or even manual.

How to choose the right nibbler tool to purchase

Depending on your needs, you'll be looking at the following specs when picking a nibbler. Capacity, strokes per minute, and minimum cutting radius. The capacity relates to the thickness of metal you want to cut. 8 to 10 gauge is for a thicker metal. 18 gauge or more is for a thinner metal. The hardness of the metal also has a bearing on a nibblers cutting capacity. A nibbler may be able to cut through 8 guage aluminium, but the same nibbler may only be able to cut through 10 guage stainless steel. Strokes per minute generally varies from 1300 to 4000. Fewer strokes per minute is suitable for thicker guage metals. Minimum cutting radius range from 1.75 inches to 4.75 inches (inside radius). The smaller the radius, the better it is for making tight cuts.

How to use a nibbler tool

Using a nibbler is much like using a jigsaw. The biggest difference is that, unlike a jigsaw, there is no table on the nibbler to guide along the metal. Always make sure the nibbler tool remains parallel to the metal you are cutting. If you start your cut in the middle of the metal, you'll need to use a drill to create a starter hole. Similarly, if you end the cut in the middle of the metal, you'll have to back the nibbler out of the cut. If you don't have a drill, you might be able to find a drill and nibbler in eBay's range of power tool combos.

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