Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 35 of 47

Thread: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Good morning friends

    I want to install a couple of windows and hatches in my cargo trailer. Whatís the best way to cut a clean, neat hole in the metal siding? I was leaning towards buying a rotozip with a metal bit. Iíve seen it done with a sawzall but seems like that would be pretty sloppy, at least in my hands.

    Pretty thin stuff. Iím almost tempted to try a carpet knife or dremel.

    Thanks

    Tom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Aquitaine
    Posts
    814

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    What we call a jigsaw, but over there, a sabre saw, with a metal cutting blade. Best if it has speed control, to avoid overheating the blade, but a spray of WD40 helps the cut.
    I cut some windows in the back of a Renault van this way. Prob about .8mm steel.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    2,102

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Flat surface? Maybe a plywood pattern for a small diameter router bit with a pilot bearing?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    23,967

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog225 View Post
    Good morning friends

    I want to install a couple of windows and hatches in my cargo trailer. What’s the best way to cut a clean, neat hole in the metal siding? I was leaning towards buying a rotozip with a metal bit. I’ve seen it done with a sawzall but seems like that would be pretty sloppy, at least in my hands.

    Pretty thin stuff. I’m almost tempted to try a carpet knife or dremel.

    Thanks

    Tom
    Steel or Aluminum?
    Rattling the teacups.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Sequim, Washington
    Posts
    5,763

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog225 View Post
    Good morning friends

    I want to install a couple of windows and hatches in my cargo trailer. What’s the best way to cut a clean, neat hole in the metal siding? I was leaning towards buying a rotozip with a metal bit. I’ve seen it done with a sawzall but seems like that would be pretty sloppy, at least in my hands.

    Pretty thin stuff. I’m almost tempted to try a carpet knife or dremel.

    Thanks

    Tom
    Plasma cutter!

    Just joking! back up the thin sheet metal with thin scrap ,plywood to keep it from getting ripped, then use your sawzall.
    PaulF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Aquitaine
    Posts
    814

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Quote Originally Posted by paulf View Post
    Plasma cutter!

    Just joking! back up the thin sheet metal with thin scrap ,plywood to keep it from getting ripped, then use your sawzall.
    That crossed my mind too, as I have one. But I assumed the OP does not? (if he did, doubt he would bother asking here)
    Using a router makes my skin crawl if in steel. OK in ally.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Yes, flat surface. And aluminum. Iíll see if harbor freight has a sale on plasma cutters (chuckle).Thanks all.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    23,967

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Aluminum scores very well:
    Rattling the teacups.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Isle of Mull, Scotland
    Posts
    2,921

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Nibbler- probably called something different in the US.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    23,967

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Quote Originally Posted by birlinn View Post
    Nibbler- probably called something different in the US.
    Nope. They're called nibblers here, as well, but if you want straight lines, the double-cut snips are better.

    Rattling the teacups.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Isle of Mull, Scotland
    Posts
    2,921

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Not too good if you want a radius on the corners.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Sequim, Washington
    Posts
    5,763

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post
    Nope. They're called nibblers here, as well, but if you want straight lines, the double-cut snips are better.


    That looks like a great tool! Do they make them in a power/ battery version?
    PaulF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Sequim, Washington
    Posts
    5,763

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Bingo...$50.00 Eastwood.
    PaulF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    15,225

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    They also make a nibbler attachment for drills, IIRC. (https://www.amazon.com/SHEET-METAL-N.../dp/B0043RHHN4) No personal interest.
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Frankfort, MI
    Posts
    6,735

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    I'd use a sawzall with the proper blade, along with a steady hand. A little cleanup with a hand grinder might be required to get a nice edge, but even a dreamer tool would make an easy job of that.

    As someone mentioned, backing up the area with plywood will make for less noise and other drama...

    Jeff C

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Isle of Mull, Scotland
    Posts
    2,921

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    You don't need to back up with a nibbler.
    I have used the drill attachment type a lot on aluminium car bodywork- works fine, but you don't half get a lot of crescent shaped swarf.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Sequim, Washington
    Posts
    5,763

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    If I'm envisioning this right the bulkhead is sheet metal over wall board with thin insulation and inner wall board. More than 3 layers at around 2.5" thick including back up thin ply.

    I'd cut 2 holes with a hole saw at opposite corners then use a sawzall and do the thing in one pass.
    PaulF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Too far inland.
    Posts
    8,674

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Jigsaw. The little bit of distortion it might create in the metal will certainly be within the window/hatch frame's ability to manage.
    No adversary is worse than bad advice.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bainbridge Island WA
    Posts
    2,511

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    One of these days some of us would like to see pictures of this deluxe trailer you are putting together.



    This is what I think of when somebody asks about a nibbler for sheet metal, goes around curves better than shears.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Sequim, Washington
    Posts
    5,763

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    For real fun!!! Det cord!

    https://youtu.be/VK0WYJ6tG78
    PaulF

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, Ca
    Posts
    20,721

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Det cord...
    Too late by a minute!

  22. #22

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Quote Originally Posted by paulf View Post
    Bingo...$50.00 Eastwood.
    I have the Milwaukee version, it would be perfect for this application.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Sequim, Washington
    Posts
    5,763

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Det cord...
    Too late by a minute!
    Great minds think alike...and so do ours!
    PaulF

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    ibeeria
    Posts
    3,199

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    115mm angle grinder and 1mm cutting disc you can get 0.8s but you'll get through them a bit quick, cheap and fast and if you don't have an angle grinder you can pick up one for about euros 20 pounds beertokens of your choice.
    'C'est la vie' say the old folks it goes to show you never can tell

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, Ca
    Posts
    20,721

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    I have cut a lot of sheet metal using a skill saw with a fine carbide tipped blade, just sayin'

    We need to learn if this is a hole with square corners, or what...

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    One of these days some of us would like to see pictures of this deluxe trailer you are putting together.
    Thanks for all the good options everyone.

    Not much to show yet. Very limited time outside in the heat.

    I cant seem to find a photo on my phone. This is how it looked when I got it.

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...-cargo-trailer

    I have taken all that out to insulate it properly. My AC guy recommended against the mini split because of the rough treatment the unit will receive. The 5000 btu AC was too small when I tested it. I have moved up to a 10,000 btu soft start unit. It passed the testing with the little costco inverter generator this morning.

    It is a pretty big unit. Air supply and venting it out the floor is going to take up too much limited real estate. I ordered an large RV cargo hatch off ebay today and plan to mount the AC on a sliding tray out the side. Push it out and done.

    Thanks again.

    Tom

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,436

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    There are cutting discs with fast change adapter for the Dremel. I use them from time to time and they should work for this application. Mind you - I had one bursting into two parts recently at pretty high rpm after giving it some heavy use, so, make sure you wear goggles and do not put your head in the spin plane.

    https://www.conrad.de/de/dremel-spee...et-816444.html
    Last edited by Henning 4148; 08-31-2018 at 03:07 PM.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Caribbean cliff edge
    Posts
    18,019

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Post a pic on here of the job before, during and after.
    Enjoy a good rum on the rocks at sunset.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    On the river, Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    4,557

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoez View Post
    They also make a nibbler attachment for drills, IIRC. (https://www.amazon.com/SHEET-METAL-N.../dp/B0043RHHN4) No personal interest.
    I have a very similar one to that, run it on my 18 volt cordless to trim iron roofing and such. Great thing, not perfect but a lot better than snips.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    10,219

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Cargo trailer? Is it plywood with sheet metal on the outside?
    Sabre saw would be best. Less heat than a grinder. If it's aluminum clad, just use your circular saw.
    IMMIGRANTS BUILT AMERICA - IMMIGRANTS BUILD AMERICA

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Pleasant Valley NS Canada
    Posts
    15,334

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Too much tool porn here, guys. And PaulF, comments like yours is what got you elected to BROTM! <grin>

    It's just thin aluminum sheet, fer gawd's sakes! I helped build a 42-ft cargo boat using Craftsman circular saws, drills and jig saws, built using plates up to 3/4" thick.

    Mark the corners of the panel to be cut out, then put heavy masking tape over the area to be cut; mark the cut-out line. Drill a hole big enough to insert a jigsaw (sabre saw) or sawzall blade through (if you want four square corners, drill a hole on each side and cut to the corners; if small-radius rounded corners are desired, drill the starter holes in each corner), and cut he panel out using a carbide blade. Sand the rough edges with 80 or 120 grit emery paper. If you want to be really anal about cutting a straight line, use the jigsaw only and apply a set of guides (1/4" x 1-1/2" lath works well) to the panel - with appropriate off-set to accommodate the jigsaw shoe - with double-sided carpet tape and run the jigsaw along the guides to get a really straight line.

    Done.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, Ca
    Posts
    20,721

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Wear a full face shield and glasses if you use a circular saw, or you may be pulling pieces of aluminum through from the inside of your cheeks.

  33. #33
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Bass Harbor, ME
    Posts
    2,706

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Ah come on guys, you are taking the fun out of it - chainsaw with carbide chain.

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Sequim, Washington
    Posts
    5,763

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Wear a full face shield and glasses if you use a circular saw, or you may be pulling pieces of aluminum through from the inside of your cheeks.
    Especially if you use the Det-Cord! Ya make it easy mmd!1
    PaulF

  35. #35

    Default Re: Cutting a clean hole in metal cargo trailer side

    You definitely want to cut it, grinding malleable materials with a stone or disk is not a good idea.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •