If your factory's machine shop has recently started stocking 303 stainless steel, you may wonder about the ideal way to cut the metal for your projects. If so, use the following tips for making cleaning cuts in 303 stainless steel.
Maintain a Sharp Edge on Your Cutting Tools
When cutting 303 stainless steel, make sure you maintain sharp edges on all of your cutting tools. While cutting the metal, the edges will dull fairly quickly. If you try to cut into the steel with dull edges, the swipes you make will leave uneven, rough lines.
In between complete cuts, sharpen your cutting bits to keep them fresh. Or, keep one or two sharpened bits handy so you can change them out quickly, keeping the flow of work going without having to take time to sharpen dull bits.
Prevent Swarf from Building Up Around the Cut
Another essential for creating a smooth cut in 303 stainless steel is making sure you prevent swarf from building up around the cut. The fine fillings and curled up metal from cutting the steel can accumulate quickly if you do not keep up with it.
If swarf builds up on the cut, the edges will be rough. Also, it will interfere with future cuts, making the lines of your product uneven.
As you cut, pause every time you see swarf accumulating to remove it with a chip breaker or knife. Doing so will give you good visualization of the cut and keep it from becoming too rough.
Keep the Steel Well Lubricated While Cutting
As you cut 303 stainless steel, it will heat up very quickly, thanks to its ability to conduct heat. If the edges become too hot, they may start to melt. Then, when they cool down, the drop in temperature will make them harden, making it difficult to clean up any mistakes.
Before and during the cutting process, make sure you keep the steel well lubricated with machine oil. The oil will draw the heat away from the steel and form a barrier between it and the heat from the cutting tips.
If you do not have any machine oil on hand, cool water can be poured on the metal. However, you will have to constantly add the water as it evaporates, so only use this method when absolutely necessary.
Using the above tips can help you leave a clean, smooth cut when working with 303 stainless steel. For additional tips about working with the steel, speak with a representative from your factory's industrial supplier to see more information and guidance. For more information, contact companies like A & C Metals - Sawing.