Does anyone have a good way to cut the aluminum sheet so you don't get the sheer marks and ripples?

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Look for previous posts for an Olfa knife.

You scribe along a straight edge and then can bend sheet back and forth till it separates along scribe line. 

Clean up edge with files, sand paper etc and you are done.

Works very good in many applications.

A super tool and not expensive.

I agree with Jerold, the Olfa is the way to go.  It does a beautiful job. It is a high quality scribing knife designed for cutting tile. Here is a link to a discussion on using the Olfa ---


Not all tin snips (hand shears) are created equal (some are better quality than others). Also it helps to not make such large cutting motions; take small bites and keep the shearing action in closer to the pivot of the shear. Distortion seems to more pronounced out near the tips (points) of the hand shear. Also it is best to first cut about 1/4” outside of the desired cut and then go back and trim the remainder off.

There is nothing like having a foot shear, though.

Good luck,


The Olfa P-800 is commonly used to cut aluminum sheet. 

Use a straight edge.

Score Score Score Score ...

Bend at score mark.

I couldn't find a specific video showing it. Although I know I've seen one. However, here's a link to a guy talking about the concept that might help if you've never seen someone do it. Although, the Olfa P-800 knife works great and I would see little if any need for improvement for a hobby/project build type environment.

No ripples with this method. Easy edge clean up. Best method IMHO for a home type shop. Maybe one downside is that this doesn't work unless the sheet is well back (i.e. on table, etc.). 

Also, while aviation snips and similar do tend to leave ripples, with a little practice these can be minimized or effectively eliminated. Angling the cutting edge helps. Doing a rough pass and leaving a 1/8" or so will help build up confidence/techniques. I always leave a 1/16" to 1/32" edge to file away if I have to use aviation snips. I've also found planing tools like the Surform to be work really well. Although a bit tricky on 0.016 if you're not careful.



I used cheap long bladed scissors, using just the inside half. Cut beautifully. Recommended to me by an engineer who'd scratch built a 701. Was the first hint he gave me!

Pneumatic "air nibbler"... Best.....Tool.......EVER!!!! 

Buy the videos from  "Metalworking 101" and  "Scratch building basics for metal aircraft" will be the answer to most if not all of your questions.

1. foot shear not too expensive 

2. air shear

3. air nibbler

I'm another Olfa user, amazing for straight cuts.

Here's the video where I learned about it.

Another vote for the Olfa cutter, it cuts the sheetmetal like you'd cut glass.

I have cut aluminum for my CH650 in quite a few different ways.

1. olfa knike
2. hand-held tin snips
3. router with carbide flush-cut bit
4. dremel with cut-off wheel
5. jig saw
6. hand-held air powered metal shears
7. hand-held electric 1/2"x18" belt sander (harbor freight)

Which one I use depends on the cut I am making.

For long straight cuts I use the hand-held air powered metal shears (rough cuts), olfa knife or the router with the jig I made for it. I prefer the router but the set up is a little more time consuming than the olfa knife. Router makes a better cut than the olfa knife therefore needing less clean up with a file, though.

Large curved cuts I rough cut with tin snips or jig saw (I prefer the tin snips) about 1/16" to 1/8" from finished line and then clean up with either a file or the hand-held belt sander. (sometimes both)

Small interior cut I drill corner holes and use either jig saw or dremel to cut about 1/16" from line. Then I clean up with either a file or the hand-held belt sander again. (depends on what will fit in the hole)

Hope this helps,

I don't trust the router anymore, the bearing on my flush cut bit came apart on me and ruined a stack of leading edge rib blanks and the template.


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