Pneumatic Valves: The Difference Between Pneumatic Shears and Nibblers

Air tools or pneumatic tools are powered by compressed air. The use of compressed air means the tools contain pneumatic valves that control the air compression and release. While professional contractors and factory workers commonly use air tools, homeowners and DIY enthusiasts are also known for using such tools. This is because air tools are lightweight, portable, user-friendly, and makes working faster. They’re also handy in remote locations if there is no access to power.

Pneumatic tools for metalworking

Metalworking is one of the most complicated jobs because of the variety of its processes and purposes. Workers working with heavy gauge metal sheets need to regularly cut these sheets for various purposes. To make the cutting job easier and get a faster output rate, workers use pneumatic shears or pneumatic nibblers to produce clean metal sheet cuts.

Pneumatic shears

Shears are commonly used for cutting copper, brass, aluminium, lead, and other “soft” metals. Sheet metal in factories is usually cut with shears. Their cutting action is similar to how a pair of scissors can cut through a sheet of paper. Because of its cutting or shearing action, the slicing is clean and leaves no waste material as nibblers do. However, shears will distort, warp, or bend the metal to some degree as it cuts through. Thus, if the metal (such as sheet metal) needs to be kept flat for a specific application or tolerance, a pneumatic shear is set aside in favour of a pneumatic nibbler.   

Pneumatic nibblers

Nibblers are used to cut large metal sections, small channels, cut-outs, and tubes. This tool is used to cut metals of varying thickness even when making quick direction changes. Nibblers work like a motorised metal chewing rodent. The tool literally nibbles its way through metal at high speed, spraying out small semi-circular chips. The nibbler has a die and punch assembly that does the nibbling. This eventually becomes worn and will need replacing. Because of the chewing action that destroys the metal in its path, nibblers are not suitable for cutting extremely fine lines. But they are ideal in cutting corrugated sheet metal because the nibbling assembly will cut without becoming stuck or jammed.

Shears and nibblers are both the popular choices for metal shops, garages, and body repair shops; hence, both can be found at said locations. They are also more affordable than the more expensive metal cutting discs, jigsaw blades, and plasma cutters.

Master Mac 2000

If you are in the market for pneumatic valves to provide for your industry needs, Master Mac 2000 is the exclusive authorised valves dealer, particularly Mack Valves, in Queensland and Northern New South Wales. Mack Valves is an Australian brand known locally and internationally for its reliability and longevity. Call Master Mac 2000 today on 07 3344 4711 or visit our website at

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