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What tools can I use to get a clean cut through thin steel? Specifically, I have several mini beer kegs I need to cut the bottoms out of. I don't mind it taking a while, but my cuts are jagged (easy to cut myself on them) and it takes me about an hour and a half to get a semi-clean cut to where I don't cut myself.

I also would prefer a tool that does not create sparks, as I don't exactly have a fire-safe environment to work with, but I can always do the cutting elsewhere if need be.

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When cutting steel sparks are always a possibility, there's no getting away from it, unless you use a manual tool like a pair of tin snips. –  GdD Sep 26 '12 at 19:14
    
Tin snips are what I'm using now, but they are a bit large for the space I have to work with. I've been searching on the internet and I'm finding that I should probably get a Dremel and find somewhere where sparks are safe. –  Alexander Miles Sep 26 '12 at 19:17
    
I need some mini 5 gal kegs for my home brew!!!! –  shirlock homes Sep 26 '12 at 20:07
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Whatever you end up doing, you will likely have to use a file afterwards to get it smooth –  Steven Sep 26 '12 at 20:19
    
If you have a drill, will a holesaw work? –  mikes Sep 26 '12 at 21:58

4 Answers 4

A Nibbler, is a tool that is used for cutting thin metal. A heavy duty nibbler is usually capable of cutting up to 14 gauge steel. I'm not sure what gauge metal is used for mini kegs, so this tool may not be appropriate in your situation.

Some nibblers work similar to a punch and die, nibbling small sections of the metal at a time (think hole punch). Other versions make two parallel cuts, and roll the scrap material in front of the tool as they cut.

Nibblers come in both manual, and powered variations. Powered version can be powered by both air, or electricity.

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There are even some available that attach to a drill, converting the drills rotary action to a reciprocating motion.

Drill attached nibbler

Nibblers will give you a clean cut, and will not create sparks.

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If tin snips are sufficient for the work, you can get a set of pneumatic metal shears. No sparks, fast work, and an inexpensive tool if you have access to a compressor.

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I would recommend either a oscillating multi-tool or a rotary tool. The rotary tool with a cut-off blade is more likely to make sparks, but the multitool should be fairly spark free. Multi-tool and rotary tool

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This seems to be up my alley, and it's what I'm seeing plastered everywhere over the internet. –  Alexander Miles Sep 26 '12 at 19:19

Plasma torches are great. But maybe overkill for your needs.

I'd say a jig saw with a metal blade would be the best bet.

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a plasma torch would destroy the mini-keg in seconds! –  GdD Sep 26 '12 at 19:12
    
haha, i feel like any kind of torch would be overkill for my needs –  Alexander Miles Sep 26 '12 at 19:15
    
+1 for the jigsaw. It's worth the purchase if you don't already have one. They're not expensive and you'll find lots of uses for it. –  RQDQ Sep 26 '12 at 20:32
    
I agree with the jig saw with a metal blade. A rotary tool will take out too much material and will want to wander all over the place. –  BrianK Sep 27 '12 at 1:35

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