ISO a saw to cut metal without penetrating past the metal surface


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Old 09-11-21, 03:01 PM
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ISO a saw to cut metal without penetrating past the metal surface

I'm trying to cut through metal sheeting under my RV to access a tank leak. The sheeting is about 1/8". I've discovered, while trying to unscrew the sheeting, that there is wiring just above the sheeting in at least two places. The screws are proving impossible to remove enough that I can take off the sheeting. I want to cut a hole in the area of the leak, which I'm hoping is just from a pipe. I'm an amateur, not very familiar with tools. Is there a saw that will cut through 1/8" metal while only going an inch or so into the area above it?
 
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Old 09-11-21, 03:16 PM
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If your metal is 1/8", your blade only needs to go slightly more than 1/8" deep. No point in cutting 1" deeper. It's hard to make a recommendation without knowing how tight of quarters you're working in. We also don't know what the metal is... steel or aluminum.

You could use something as straightforward as a skilsaw with the right blade. Or a dual saw. If its aluminum, an oscillating tool could work. Or depending on what you need to do, you could use a drill and hole saw to make several holes... 2 big enough for your hands, and one to look through. Or just one hole... so that you can get your hand in there to feel for wires and move or raise them before you cut. A grinder could work as long as you know your aren't going to cut into anything from below.
 
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Old 09-12-21, 01:42 AM
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I've discovered, while trying to unscrew the sheeting
You might want to give this some more thought.

Any idea what is behind that panel that you might destroy attempting to cut the panel off not to mention how are you going to reinstall?

I'd suggest going back to the screws and see what can be done to get them out to access the panel.

Worst case, grind the heads off to get the panel off, then drill and re-tap the holes.

Tough to help not knowing what this is, a picture would help!
 
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Old 09-12-21, 02:53 AM
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grind the heads off to get the panel off
That's what I'd do if I couldn't remove the screws.
 
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Old 09-12-21, 05:25 AM
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I also think you need to get the screws out or grind their heads off. There isn't a commonly available tool that will reliably cut through only the thickness of a sheet of metal. Plus, you really don't know hot thick it is. And, you'll need a reasonably big area opened up to find the leak and fix it. Just above that panel you probably have water & waste piping, wiring, gas lines and water & waste tanks so you really don't want to damage anything else and make your repair job even bigger. I would try an impact driver on the screws and if that doesn't work grind off the screw heads. Then when you reinstall the panel you'll have to drill new screw holes or use self drilling/tapping screws in new locations.
 
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Old 09-12-21, 05:34 AM
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Thinking about this a bit more, most "panels" are secured with threaded clips like this, Once the heads are remove the clips are just pried off and replaced.


 
 

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