What Are Aviation Snips?

Snips by Monroe

When shopping for cutting tools to use in the aerospace manufacturing industry, you may come across aviation snips. They look like a typical pair of shears. Aviation snips have a handle and a cutting blade. Unlike traditional shears, though, aviation snips support many different types of cuts.

Aviation Snips Explained

Aviation snips are handheld cutters that are designed for use with sheet metal. Also known as sheet snips, they support straight cuts, left cuts and right cuts. Aviation snips have a long handle that’s connected to a cutting blade. You can cut through a piece of sheet metal by placing the sheet metal between the blade and squeezing the handle. While there are other types of cutting tools available, aviation snips are ideal because of their unique design.

They are known as “aviation snips” because they were originally designed for use in the aerospace manufacturing industry. Airplanes are made of sheet metal. To form fuselages and other components, manufacturers must perform irregular cuts. Aviation snips are ideal for making these cuts because they support more than just straight cuts.

Aviation snips are also strong. They can typically cut through aluminum sheet metal in sizes of up to 18 gauges, and they can cut through stainless steel in sizes of 26 gauges.

Types of Aviation Snips

You can use any aviation snips to perform straight cuts. Straight cuts involve cutting a piece of sheet metal in a straight line. With that said, aviation snips may support an alternative type of cut as well, such as left cuts or right cuts.

How do you know whether aviation snips are designed for left cuts or right cuts exactly? When shopping for them, you can refer to the product description. Alternatively, the color of the handle will often reveal whether the aviation snips are designed for left cuts or right cuts.

Aviation snips with a red handle are designed for left cuts, whereas aviation snips with a green handle are designed for right cuts. You may also come across aviation snips with a yellow handle. Those with a yellow handle are capable of performing both left and right cuts.

Upright vs Long Aviation Snips

Aviation snips are also available in upright and long styles. Upright aviation snips feature a blade that rotates 90 degrees from the handle, resulting in an ergonomic design when used in small spaces. Long aviation snips, on the other hand, have an ultra-long blade. You can use long aviation snips to make long straight cuts.

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