Videos

Nickel Plated Nibbling Tool

Make square holes for fuse holders, switches, indicator lamps, etc.

Tools (Recommended):
Manual Nibbling Tool

Transcript:
Hi, I’m Sean Michael Ragan, and this is Cool Tools. If you don’t have a robot tool to do it for you, cutting interior openings out of rigid flat stock can be a chore, especially if they need to be any shape other than round. This is a problem that comes up a lot in hobby electronics, most often when you’re making cutouts in a control panel to mount switches, displays, or other interactive components. These are often some shape other than round by design, so that when the component’s mounted, it can’t twist in the opening. The downside is that to install them you can’t simply drill a hole and be done with it. If you find yourself doing this kind of thing a lot, you ought to consider a nibbler. To make a cutout with it, you first drill a 5/16″ or larger hole inside the area you want to remove. Then you stick the head through the hole, point the little tooth in the direction you want to cut, and squeeze the handles. As you can see, it just takes a little bite out of the material, which is obviously why it’s called a nibbler. And then you just rinse and repeat. Yes, it’s a little slow, but it’s also easy to control, so you can cut nice straight edges that don’t need much cleanup afterwards. The geometry of the tool makes it really easy to see where you’re about to cut, so you can take however much time you need to be as precise as you like. It even makes a handy cutoff tool in a pinch. Here I’m trimming some aluminum strips to final width after roughing them out on a table saw. I’ll finish the edges with a file and then bend these up to make some right-angle brackets. The nibbler works great on perf-board, too, as well as tougher materials like this steel power supply enclosure. You can even cut hardened spring steel so long as it’s not terribly thick stock. It’s quiet in operation and relatively tidy; the swarf is just these little rectangular “niblets” that are much easier to clean up than fine dust or filings. So if you’re working indoors at the kitchen table or something, a nibbler is a nice option because it’s not gonna wake up the neighbors or make a great big mess. OK, thank you for watching. As always you’ll find affiliate links in the description field down below the video. If you’ve seen something here you like, please check those links out, as well as our blog and our podcast over at cool-tools.org. We’ll see you next time!

-- Sean Michael Ragan 03/2/20

(Cool Tools has a YouTube channel with many more tool reviews — editors)