In general, mechanical tools have the following in common:

Cut quality

  • Excellent cut quality is possible provided the operator is skilled and the cutting speeds are slow
  • Operating cost
  • Typically high, because cut speed is slow
  • Secondary work, such as filing or grinding, is almost always required

Equipment cost

  • Low; generally between $20 and $100, depending on the tool
  • Low maintenance requirements
  • Portability
  • Very portable

Material type and ideal thickness

Saw Up to 25 mm (1”) thickness provided you are working with “soft” steel and have a properly specified blade for the material being cut
Shears Soft sheet metal such as soft steel, galvanized steel, aluminum, copper, and stainless up to 16 gauge
Air chisel Cold rolled steel, 16 gauge and thinner
Grinder Steel, including stainless steel, and aluminum, typically from gauge to 25 mm (1”)