- Tin snips
Tin snips are tools used to cut thin sheet metal. There are two broad categories: tinner snips, which are similar to common scissors, and compound leverage aviation snips, which use a compound leverage handle system.
There are two major types of aviation snips, which differ by the type of blade pattern; regular aviation snips and offset blade aviation snips. Within the regular model category there are three types or blade patterns: straight cutting, left cutting, and right cutting. Straight cutting snips (generally have yellow colored soft grips)cut in a straight line and wide curves, left cutting snips (usually red) will cut straight and in a tight curve to the left, and right cutting snips (usually green) will cut straight and in a tight curve to the right. Offset aviation snips have a blade pattern where the blade is at an angle of about 45-degrees. this design allows for the material to flow away from the blades when cutting, making it much easier to advance the snip without interference from the material being cut, which if metal or even vinyl, is rigid and difficult to move out of the way. Offset snips also keep the hand safely above the material and away from sharp edges.
In practical use the red snips pictured will be used in the right hand, for straight or curving cuts, with the base material to the right being cut neatly and the left hand will be pulling away a spiraling offcut. The green snips work in the opposite fashion in the left hand, with the waste being on the right.
Aviation snips also normally have a serrated edge that prevent material slippage and withstand heavy use. Also it is designed with a latch that holds the jaws closed if desired.
There are also two other blade patterns in aviation snips: bulldog and long cut. A bulldog or notch cut aviation snip has short blades designed to cut heavy sheet metal or multiple layers of sheet metal. A common application for the bulldog is cutting through the metal cleat, which is composed of multiple layers of sheet metal, used to joint sections of metal duct work. The long cut snip has long blades, typically over two-inches long, that make it easier to make long straight cuts.
Aviation snips designed specifically for cutting hardened metals such as inconel and titanium are also available. They are similar in design to standard or offset aviation snips but have specially heat treated blades that are harder and able to withstand cutting hard metals.
Traditionally, there were two major categories of tinner snips: straight blade pattern and duckbill or circular blade pattern. Duckbill snips have a blade that more easily cuts curves and circles or shapes. An additional category that has become common in recent years is lightweight (and some have replaceable blades) tinner snips. These products use a lightweight material such as aluminum or magnesium for the body of the tool, making the much lighter than traditional forged steel tinner snips. The blades are generally made of high carbon steel. In addition to straight blade and duckbill tinner snips, there is a bulldog blade pattern model tinner snip. Bulldog tinner snips are large (16 inch long) heavy duty tinner snips designed to cut thick materials and multiple layers.
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